Creative Person vs. Creative Professional


Christian Arriola, Creative Director

Apr 2022


“I can just photoshop that myself.”

“I know adobe.”

“Make it pop.”

Though I’ve never actually heard the infamous “make it pop” in my career, I completely relate to the sentiment it achieves and why it’s a commonly understood phrase in the design community.

"Make it pop" is a reference to clients who appear to ignore the creative direction and work behind any design or production

Creativity lives in a challenging time (it's 2022). Design is easier seen as a commodity. But if we can elevate our knowledgeability around the art of business – there’s still really bright futures ahead for creative. One of the first steps to elevate our knowledge is to understand the difference between the Creative Person and the Creative Professional.

The Creative Person

Possibilities. Boldness. Any medium. Free flowing. This person is an important soul. One who seeks to find or put meaning into existence. They are passionate and generous, looking to help, express, or help express by any means possible. They do their best and will figure out how to make something work, even if outside of their capability.

The creative person is able to take on any challenge and tries new ways of doing things, even if that means having to learn something new. Highly capable. Highly imaginative. But the day their work is not valued or doesn’t feel meaningful is the day they become demotivated, uninspired. The creative person becomes the struggling artist - a self-imposed misnomer.

My theory is that people can become bitter if their art isn’t accepted by everyone — and most of the time it isn’t/shouldn’t be, especially when it’s actually good (see Kanye doc “jeen-yuhs”). So when the creative person becomes bitter, the further drawn they become from expressing with grace and relatability, they say “fuck the world.” So the world says “fuck you” right back.

Rising out of this dark tunnel is not impossible. But it requires something to exist that the creative person must manifest. It is the discipline, the spiritual armor, and the worthiness to accept the humble position of “Creative Professional”

The Creative Professional

Objective. Unwavering. Functional. Structured and organized in their thinking. The fulcrum for innovation. One who manifests new results. They are articulate and confident, able to describe their craft into translated desired outcomes. They apply their expertise to assess and build solutions around a project. They also don’t view themselves as the only option. Their commitment is to the objective and success of a project. It's important to recognize that this person does not have to be in the creative or marketing industry. The most impactful figures were creative people who figured out how use their own creativity in their own endeavors.

The creative professional has faced 100 of the same challenge, just in different scenarios. Rarely any situation within their vertical surprises them. Challenges are opportunities to solve problems in different ways. Their obstacle is to approach projects with the same vigor as they would when they were just creative people. But succumbing to the side of creative professional is not void of its own costs.

When do you hit the edge? When has the craft become purely a function of career rather than an expression? The blinded creative professional begins to believe their value is associated by numbers and accolades, they forget why they started in the first place.

Why Care - Us, Ego Maniacs

If you are here, you’ve most likely been both persons at some point, at some level. Some of you may be in the transition from being a creative person to a creative professional, some of you may be looking for your way back. But in seasons, we are all both of these people. Finding the balance between both is the journey, but being the better versions of your creative selves – that? That’s the objective.

I’ve accepted that my writing kinda sucks. In this moment, I wish I could be more practical and succinct, even interesting, with my language. But maybe that’s part of the journey…

For those of you that have found some perspective in this and are interested in exploring how to walk this line, connect with me. I’m always game for an old fashioned at The Guest House.