How to become a creative director? Hint: “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer” says Joe Zee

Andrea Linett, Liza Deyrmenjian, Joe Zee & Joshua Williams

On April 5th, three creative directors and proud FIT grads, spoke to a packed  house.  “What Makes a Good Creative Director?” was a School of Art & Design Town Hall Event moderated by Prof. Joshua Williams.

Topics ranged from what to accept (an entry level job) to what not to accept (“No” for an answer!) Issues of technology, editing content, working in teams, and creative expression were also addressed.

Liza Deyrmenjian, Prof. Joshua Williams, Andrea Linett & Joe Zee

Breaking into the magazine field with no prior experience, Joe Zee from El magazine said the “nos” along the way were opportunities to “figure out why” and try again.

The impact of technology has changed the role of the creative director, panelists agreed–but not so fast–good editing is still key.  With technology comes more content. The need for a strong vision and an editing eye are critical.

“There’s so much more information out there that you have to know what meets your vision,” said Prof. Joshua Williams in summarizing panalists’ comments.

Joe Zee with FIT student

Being at FIT said panelists, was a place to try test run ideas.  “Try a photo shoot, work on the school paper, help a student market their line,” were specific suggestions from Prof. Williams.  The more things you try and even fail at, the better. “And good to do it early, than when you have a job in the real world. Take advantage of learning,” said Prof. Williams.

Liza Deyrmenjian with FIT student

“Are magazines going to die?” was an anticipated question by Zee. Online should be different information, and a different interaction or experience, he said. But an online magazine should go hand-in-hand with the hard copy. “One should not be a pdf of the other, but its own entity,” said Zee.

Andrea Linett with FIT students

It’s important for a creative director to know different mediums, said Audrey Linett.  “My job is to tell a story. The more they know the more they can push their vision online.”

photos by:  Smiljana Peros

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4 Responses to How to become a creative director? Hint: “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer” says Joe Zee

  1. JS says:

    Great blog have found some really helpful information, my wife and i are keen photographers and also have a blog your readers may be interested in. Thanks
    Digital Cameras

  2. Jenny says:

    Hi Rachel:
    I stumbled on your very interesting article, thank you for posting it.
    I would like to find out if & how I can watch the whole seminar on-line? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

  3. Rachel says:

    Hi Jenny,
    Thank you for the feedback. Unfortunately, the event wasn’t taped. I noticed that the FIT newspaper W27 has an article on Joe Zee, which might be of interest: “Zeeing the Big Picture: Joe Zee talks fame, staying current, and his days at W27.” You can pick it up in the D lobby.

  4. Wow! This is a great article! I learn a lot from it and readers will surely learn more as well from it. Too bad the event wasn’t tape, it could somehow really help a lot of people. In the article, I so love and agree with this line…“There’s so much more information out there that you have to know what meets your vision,” which was said by Prof. Joshua Williams. As a choreographer and a creative director as well, there is a lot to learn and teach and also there is always a room for improvement. 🙂

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