Identity crisis?

I’m an art director. I’m a copywriter. A traditional creative. A digital creative. I’m in production, account service, account planning, public relations and traditional and social media.

I’m also in the minority.

Every time I see a classified ad for a digital art director, traditional copywriter, digital account planner, etc. I’m reminded that as much as our industry likes to talk about progressing beyond the conventional model, it is still largely built upon silos.

Don’t get me wrong; I believe our business needs specialists. But while specializing in one thing, they should know and be open to all things.

As an art director, I’d much rather spend my time kerning than programming. But I know enough about different platforms and technologies so I can have intelligent conversations with developers and programmers about bringing an idea to life. However, I wanted this site to look and function very simply, to not over-shadow the work, but to make it happen I had to write code. That’s not the important part; the important part is that I’m up enough on HTML to know what code needed to be written.

Can someone please explain to me why a “traditional” art director can’t design and layout a website or why a “digital” art director can’t design and layout a print ad? Anyone? While you’re at it, I’d also like to know what, exactly, is a digital copywriter. And digital creative director. Why can’t a social media or interactive campaign come from the mind of a “traditional” creative? It can. And it should.

The best time to be in this business is right now. Though, I felt the same way 5 years ago and the 5 years before that. I’m a geek for advertising and thus a geek for technology. I’m excited by all of the tools and toys we get to play with every single day — and the promise of more to come. Today it might be smartphone app or smartly executed board on Pinterest. But tomorrow? All I know is that I’ll keep my eyes and ears wide open. And my pencil finely sharpened.  

Yes, I still use a pencil. And that probably puts me in the minority as well.