Lodestar Leadership

Does your creative department REALLY have the tools that they need?

Does your creative department REALLY have the tools that they need?


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When I accepted the position to lead a creative team for a 250-year-old brand, I was shocked to see that the company's designers were using a standard 11'/11'x17 printer for presentations and product mockups.

If you're in the consumer product development business, you'll know this means that to create a product packaging mockup, a designer has to print out a packaging or other layout on several 11'x17' sized tiled sheets, and painstakingly glue them together.

No creative department should have to do this. It presents your product presentations and sales materials in the most pedestrian manner.

One of the first improvements I made was to budget for a #Epson wide format printer, which was a time saver and allowed for the creation of excellent quality mockups, gloss and matte printing. Printing on adhesive paper (eliminating the need for dangerous spray mounting), and saving the business on the cost of super expensive large format printing at Kinkos and print houses. This group could finally present top quality comps.

Are you certain your creative team has the tools they need for your brand to be successful? Have you asked them what they need?

I’m giving you recommendations on the top 3 tools you MUST secure for your creative consumer product art team.

3 MUST haves for all creative consumer product art departments.

#productdevelopment #prototypes #mockups #creativeteams

Sharpening Creative Leadership Skills

From my personal office library, books on leadership.

From my personal office library, books on leadership.

What personal investment do you make in leadership and creative growth? In effort to make sure I continue to build my skills, I enrolled in leadership coursework at University of Michigan via Coursera.

One of the final course exercises was to identify the "why" of what I do in my creative business role of creative leadership. It was a solid exercise and my classmates had good critique for my below submission:

Questions 1 - 3

1. As designers and developers, why do we do what we do?

2. What does success look like?

3. How must we act to ensure success?

My Answers:

A 1. We create products and product experiences for consumers so that they may experience the joys of visual creative activities. We wish to give them the foundation in tools, materials and knowledge in order to continually learn and grow their creative techniques.

A 2. Consumers who are continually building on their skill bases, and experiencing graduated degrees of art and creative knowledge. They are happy with their accomplishments and are confident in continuing their creative journey. Our company is credited with giving them this amazing experience.

A 3. We must continue to serve the customer’s need for new experiences and great products. We must continue to ask if our process is serving them well.

This exercise I'll definitely take with me in my next project challenge. 

Excerpt from: Loadstar Leadership: A Product Development and Designer's Notebook © 2018 Delanie West