Join Jim Heid for an in-depth discussion in this video What is a creative pro?, part of Creative Pro Careers: Staying Ahead.
- Before we look at specific creative fields, let's step back and define what we mean by the term creative professional. For our purposes, a creative pro is someone who creates content for others, either as a full-time or part-time employee or as a freelancer. These days that content can take a lot of different forms, printed pieces, illustrations, photographs, videos, music, websites, and more. Now, creative professions have been around for centuries, but the landscape has changed dramatically in just the last few decades.
It used to be that a creative pro worked in one field, say typesetting or photography for his or her entire career. Each field was almost a closed silo. If you worked for a printing company, you weren't expected to also know how to make movies, and the main reason for that was that the tools and technologies were very expensive, very specialized, and really mastering them often took years. Those days are long gone, and you can thank or blame the personal computer. With just a few mouse clicks or even taps on a tablet, one device can be a typesetting machine, a light table, a darkroom, a recording studio, a cutting room for movies, and a place to blast monsters.
This whole revolution has changed industries, changed job roles, and given just about everyone amazingly powerful tools for producing creative content. And it's why today, most creative pros wear multiple hats. You might be a designer who also has to take photos for the printed pieces or websites that you create, or a photographer who's moving into video production, or a website designer who needs to publish audio podcasts. You get the idea. The silos that used to separate creative fields have been blown to bits.
On the one hand, this is a great thing. After all, everyone deserves a chance to express creativity, whether they're doing it for work or for fun, but if you're doing it for work, today's creative landscape requires that you have at least some familiarity with each of the creative outlets I mentioned earlier. Today's employers and clients expect creatives to be able to do more than one thing. Designers don't just create printed pieces, they also design websites. Photographers don't just take stills, they also shoot video, maybe even with a drone.
You've probably heard the old saying about being a jack of all trades, but a master of none. Well, we like to put a different spin on that. Be a jack of all trades and a master of one, or maybe some. The more familiar you are with each creative field, the more qualified you'll be to tackle multiple kinds of jobs and to collaborate with those people who are masters of their trades. And finally, one more really important point. It's going to sound obvious, but it has to be said. Having the tools to tackle different kinds of creative projects isn't the same thing as having the skills to do them well.
Having a copy of Adobe Illustrator doesn't make you an illustrator, and buying an expensive camera only means you own an expensive camera. Now, the digital revolution may have broken down silos between different creative fields, but it didn't eliminate the creative skills required to execute projects in compelling and tasteful ways. A lot of those skills and concepts are the same as they were back in the analog days. Fortunately, you've come to the right place to learn both the tools and the skills that creative professionals need.
- Identifying essential creative professional skills
- Reviewing different creative tools
- Learning about the field of graphic design
- Working in the photography and video fields
- Working with audio and music
- Reviewing motion graphics and 3D animation
- Working in UX and web design