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  • Darren Forsyth

What does a Creative Operations Director do?


Many people wonder what a Creative Operations Director does - especially at an agency. Below, I look to explain exactly what it is I do, and why this role is key.


Getting up early every day is all part of my daily routine to help me start the day in the best mindset possible. Running the creative department at Hydrogen typically involves spinning many plates at any one time. There are client calls to take new briefings, there is scoping and project managing particular workflow and there's also the creative direction where I will be working hand in hand with the designers to help direct and guide the vision on particular jobs.

Getting into the zone as early as possible every day is important to me. It enables me to be able to give 100% of my all, on everything that I am focussed on, or with anyone that I speak to.

Like many small to medium sized agencies, the creative department at Hydrogen is usually pretty busy and we will all be working across multiple creative projects, ranging in size, throughout every day. It's my job to ensure that that process runs smoothly, and to ensure that all expectations are always being carefully and accurately managed. This is both with internal Content Managers in the business, but furthermore, directly with our clients.


Skillsets in the team vary between designer to designer and it's my responsibility to ensure that the correct skillset is being allocated correctly and effectively based on the brief.


How the day starts for me...


The typical day always starts with reviewing our job requests board. This is where new briefs land. It's then a case of going through this every morning and being aware of where the priorities lie. Requests can be anything from photography and video shoots, to full scale animations, to small amends and tiny tweaks on previous jobs.



It can often be a juggling act to to ensure everything is being worked on ahead of deadlines, but with a team of four designers now (all with their own areas of creative specialism), the team really do work as 'one' and always on hand to collaborate and help one another out - where required.



Having created a storyboard, I collaborate with team members who will take the campaign through to creation. For me, this is crucially important within a small creative team. Having the team work as one and aligned to the same goals pays dividends in the long run. I have worked with competitive teams before, and at Hydrogen, it's not like this at all. In short, it helps to creative an environment which results in our best work possible.


For us, this includes:

- weekly 'stand ups' to discuss any issues

- a traffic call three times a week with key staff to chat through anything upcoming

- a flexible environment where not everything is set in stone

- the opportunity to brainstorm and collaborate

- individual catch-ups to make sure everyone is happy and has room to grow

- the chance to work on new and exciting projects: not just repetitive tasks Like a lot of us at the moment, our creative team are all working from home. This has fostered lots of new ways of working. All of a sudden we were thrown into an environment where all communication is over Teams or over email. Regardless of the technology platform, communication between the team is fundamental to our success. We continue to have a lot of structure in place through a strict briefing process, through our regular creative and content traffic calls, etc. And this continues to be achieved regardless of our location. In my experience to date as a creative where I have worked with both in-house and agency side, I have learnt that the best leadership traits are focussed on autonomy, trust and empowerment. Giving your team that foundation enables them to do their best. And this is exactly what I do in my role as Creative Operations Director at Hydrogen.