Job Titles Are Meaningless, But the Naming of Things Matters

I know, I know. You’re probably thinking we already covered this, you weirdo. But no, again I go with the job titles thing. Call it a pet project; I thirst for complete knowledge of the topic. It is my white whale, and I am its Ahab.

Let me throw a situation out at you. A few years ago I was in one type of work environment, mainly agency-type places with a very set structure and clear hierarchy. Everyone knew the top, the bottom, and all the clearly labeled rungs in between. Then I transitioned into a different work environment, one more wide than tall, more collaborative than creatively authoritative. There aren’t many rungs, and a proclivity for climbing isn’t part of the DNA (or mine for that matter). 

On paper, I’m the Creative Director at NewSpring Church. But here’s the rub: NewSpring doesn’t really have a Creative Director. And the more I think about it, I don’t think we ever have, despite the fact that I’ve held that title for half of our existence. Let me explain…

In agency world, a Creative Director usually has a design or writing background and interacts with the client to create ideas, approaches and treatments that are typically implemented by designers and copywriters on their team. They’re the filter, and often the initiator of the idea. It’s fairly clear, and intensely hierarchical. But at NewSpring, no one person does that. Or to put it better, a lot of people do that. There’s tension. There are often (much to my dismay) minor lacks of cohesion. But ultimately we share the process and burden of creative direction across a lot of roles on our team. Which is cool, especially considering we’re the “client,” too.

That brings me squarely back to the job title thing (“from hell’s heart I stab at thee!”) and my situation. At NewSpring I handle overall design, branding, some copywriting, and web design/strategy. But I’m admitting the traditional Creative Director role doesn’t exist in our environment, so what* am I?

*I have an idea of what I am, but I want to hear your feedback.