I am not a creative. You are not a creative. No one could ever or will ever be a creative. The word creative is not a noun. It is an adjective used to describe a noun. i.e. That is a very creative story you have there, Jimmy.
I have grown tired of seeing this word used within the design community. It is not our word. It is a word created by the advertising industry for their communication purposes. Outside the advertising community, however, it is incorrect grammar.
Now maybe I’m being a bit nitpicky here, but it is incredibly annoying to me. Yes, as a people designers are typically of the creative variety, but we don’t call advertisers ‘pitchers’. I mean essentially they are pitching their ideas to their clients, but does that accurately describe what they do? I would like to see all the sexual harassment and discrimination claims that would materialize if that term caught on…
However, using ‘creatives’ as a noun is just a symptom of a larger issue; what do I say when someone asks me what I do for a living? I’m certainly not a ‘graphic designer’, even though it says that on my degree. The connotations with that term are just terrible these days. Any old housewife that has a pirated copy of Photoshop Elements is now calling themselves a “graphic designer”. It is much worse when people refer to me as a ‘graphic artist’. The term just sounds so dirty to me and it makes me feel like I’m making clip art for a living.
I could be more specific and name all the different hats I wear, i.e. ‘identity designer’, ‘print designer’, ‘web designer’, etc., but I think that would be too much for most people looking for a quick response. Then there are terms like ‘information architect’ and ‘communications designer’. These sound a bit pretentious to me personally, but at least their credibility is not completely destroyed…yet. There is also the issue of illustration and typography. Where do they both fall into the equation?
So I’m left with a dilemma. What exactly do for a living? I design. I am a designer. That’s it. No more fancy titles or faulty phrases that cannot convey my true craft. I’m stripping it down to the essentials and laying it all out there for the world to see. If in casual conversation someone’s interest is sparked by my profession and they want to know more, I will elaborate. However, if I’m in a shitty mood when they inevitably ask “What do you design,” my answer will be “everything.”