Designing a Department

I recently advised a law firm on restructuring their creative services team. I met with key members of the marketing and communications team to identify tension points in the workflow, concerns about resources or communication, and evaluate work load.

In the process, it became clear that there was confusion about the types of the creative functions needed at a law firm. Here's my take on the essentials:

Design


Attributes:

  • Conceptual
  • Strategic
  • Collaborative

Skills:

  • Actively brainstorms ideas
  • Develops brand guidelines
  • Thinks in systems, advocates to preserve integrity of design

Most effective working on:

  • Branding programs
  • Brochures
  • Advertising campaign themes
  • Event concepts

Production


Attributes:

  • Creative
  • Practical
  • Iterative

Skills:

  • Able to take direction
  • Interprets brand guidelines
  • Understands technical aspects of design

Most effective working on:

  • Creating invitations, ads and newsletters based on guidelines
  • Executing layouts under the direction of senior designers
  • Facilities signage (e.g., electronic signage) and event collateral

Graphics


Attributes:

  • Deadline-oriented
  • Tactical
  • Responsive

Skills:

  • Consistent application of rules
  • Implements brand guidelines
  • Able to work across mediums (e.g., illustration, video)

Most effective working on:

  • Implementing PowerPoint and textual ad templates
  • Creating custom illustrations and motion graphics for case-related presentations