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Dec 06, 2022

What Design Directors Know

Dominic Ayre RGD, and Franziska Erlebach RGD
Webinar title slide What Design Directors Know

About this video


Design directors each share the most important lessons they've learned during their careers.

What DO Design Directors Know? That is a BIG question. Simple put, Design Directors know A LOT. They have to. They are puzzle solvers, tastemakers, psychologists. Great Design Directors inspire teams to do brilliant work, while instilling clients with confidence in the design process. Design Directors care about the sketched details and the final execution. Design Directors are also always excited to share stories and insights into what they do and what they know. Join us for this discussion with experienced professionals who will each provide an insider's understanding of the joys and challenges of this integral role within any creative agency and what you need to know to achieve this position in your own creative career.

Moderator: Dominic Ayre RGD, Partner, Creative Director at Hambly & Woolley Inc. in Toronto


Earning Trust
When I entered the industry I thought I wanted to become a Design Director and Principal. Turns out I learned quickly that I merely wanted to earn greater trust from our clients to be able to have the freedom to do better work.

Presented by Sean Carter, Design Director and Principal at Carter Hales Design Lab
A kid graduates from a dumpster-fire design program and starts shopping his portfolio. Big design houses laugh. He considers professional cycling. But designing is so easy, and it pays mad stacks! He lives on Ichiban. Then he opens his own design shop at 22. It does okay, but he wants more, so he co-founds Hangar 18 Creative. It takes off. So does he, in 2011, to start Carter Hales Design Lab. Meantime, he also founds The Pink Door Paper Company, an award-winning line of luxury stationery and spa products. But his Uncle Lenny tells him, “Kid, ya can’t ride two horses with one ass. Commit to something.” So he sells Pink Door to go all-in on Carter Hales, a brand-focused studio with clients in every corner of the globe and with exclusively senior-level talent among its design team. Turns out, that was a good idea. One Show, Lüerzer’s Archive, Pentawards, Applied Arts, ADCC, and Communication Arts agree, about 300 —and counting — times over.

A Design Director is a Facilitator
The role of a design director within a larger advertising agency adds complexity to the role in comparison to a smaller design studio. Franzi will share how processes help navigating the agency space and push the design work to the next level; how important it is to create an environment that is predictable to help designers thrive and do innovative work, particularly during the pandemic; and how much of the work is actually about the people more than anything else.

Presented by Franziska Erlebach RGD, Design Director at SidLee
Franzi works in constant pursuit of culturally impactful design that matters to communities close to home and around the world. After working in Germany and Switzerland, Franzi moved to Toronto in 2011 where she spent 7 years working at Bruce Mau Design. She has pushed the boundaries of visual identities, crossing the digital, print and spatial realms for small to large scale brands like Project for Public Spaces, Cheekbone Beauty, Canada Basketball, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Audi and Fortune 100 companies. Franzi can’t stop thinking about design, even in her spare time. She loves experimenting with type, which informs her teaching and design practice. Franzi has taught typography at OCAD University for over 7 years and teaches currently information design at York University.