What is a creative?

Learn about the different types of creatives and how they help elevate the marketing, advertising, and promotional material of your business or brand.

Written By: 

Erick Leon


November 19, 2021

What is a Creative?

In today's marketplace, the role of a creative is widely misunderstood. Some may think creatives are just doing graphic design work. Some people think creatives are unicorns that should be able to tackle any marketing problem. It's not uncommon for many business professionals to frequently mix up marketing, design, and advertising professions with one another and sometimes use creative titles interchangeably. You can find most creatives working for an advertising agency or working for a design studio.

The truth is, creatives are one of the most important players of any advertising team yet they seem to be invisible to most small business owners. In this article, we take a look at what a creative person is and the skillset they should have or acquire. How creativity is a process and not some magic gift they were bestowed with. Lastly, I talk about some key creative roles and how a particularly creative mind can drastically improve one aspect of a project.

Definition of a Creative

In the world of marketing, ideas are everything. In advertising teams, in particular, creative people are responsible for creative thinking, which leads to a new idea and results in creative work. These creative individuals all have their own fields of expertise, which when combined, create impactful work that elevates your company's brand in wonderful ways. Thanks to online education, a lot more creatives are becoming multifaceted. Today, you can find creatives who are content managers, videographers, photographers, brand strategists, and graphic designers all wrapped into one. It has never been easier to find a creative who claims they can do multiple creative jobs. Regardless of their creative professions or expertise, all creatives should have a core set of skills that they can confidently talk about and prove.

The Creative Skillset

A Repeatable Creative Process: Anyone claiming to be a creative professional should be able to articulate their process from conception to actualization. They should be able to explain how they get their idea, how they go about planning to execute it, and what tools they use to actually create it. A creative process helps businesses understand what work they will get, why, and how long it should take.

Artistic Ability: Basic skills like drawing and creative writing are essential to better communicate your ideas, but having a good idea is just half the battle. Actually making that idea into reality is another endeavor. Every creative person should have the ability to execute rough concepts or outlines of the ideas they come up with.  

Design Thinking: All creative types should understand the fundamentals of design thinking. In short, design thinking is the process of solving problems by prioritizing the intended user's needs. This is what fundamentally distinguishes a fine artist from a creative. Having the creative ability to see problems through the eyes of the intended user is a key to making impactful creative work.

Creative Thinking: A creative thinker sees the world in a different way. They see solutions where others see inconveniences. Creative people have an incredible ability to visualize their future work and see their ideas come to life in their minds. Most people aren't born with "creative genius", however, people can learn to have "creative genius."

Social Media Knowledge: Regardless of their creative career choice, every creative should have a great understanding of social media and social media platforms.

Effective in a Creative Team: All creative professions require creative people to collaborate at some point or another. The ability to effectively communicate with other creative individuals is important, especially for long project timelines.

Reliability: It doesn't matter how much creative ability or originality a creative posses if they can't deliver on a project.

Research Ability: It's important for creatives to be aware of the current trends in their field. That way, they can keep up with what is happening and always have a general idea of what to expect from other creatives or prospective clients.

A Creative’s Different Roles 

Graphic Designer

A graphic designer specializes in the visual aspects of a project. They know how to fuse graphics, photography, and text to communicate a message to their audience. They are experts in design and aesthetics and can elevate any business' marketing materials. A graphic designer will make the content you promote look professional. They are also responsible for maintaining your brand's visual identity cohesive.


A copywriter helps create a voice for a brand or product. They create written content such as blog posts, copy for advertisements, and social media updates. An experienced copywriter will create thought-out pieces of written content that will resonate with your audience and amplify your voice.A great copywriter will know how to make a client stand out of the crowd and create content that provokes action.


An illustrator specializes in creating visual art. They are experts in digital and traditional painting and can make any idea or concept come to life through their drawings. Illustrators should also be experienced in color theory and know-how to work with different styles and mediums. 


A videographer creates memorable motion pictures. They understand how to work a camera and create emotionally moving narratives. A great videographer can help bring a concept to reality and should be experienced with all kinds of video formats such as explainer videos, interviews, or behind-the-scenes content.

Front-End Developer

A front-end developer builds user-facing functionality and experiences. They create the look, feel, and interactivity of a website using code. Most front-end developers will specialize in creating web pages using HTML or CSS. Acquiring an understanding of design is probably one of the more important qualities a person can have when working as a front-end developer. A good designer will understand how the design should function and which functionalities should be included.

Creative Director

A creative director understands the end goal of the project and can easily communicate different directions through multiple departments and experts. They have a great understanding of business objectives and are able to manage multiple creative people and their tasks at once.


Being a creative is all about being innovative and coming up with new ideas, visuals, and ways to tell stories.

Although you may have found a field of interest in one area, such as copywriting or videography, it is important to work on your skills in other areas in order to be versatile and create different projects for different clients.



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