How to Become a Creative Media Specialist
What Does a Creative Media Specialist Do?
A creative media specialist implements graphic and web design ideas to create everything from promotional materials to websites to magazine layouts. As a result, a creative media specialist has to have not only key skills in software and design applications, but should have a solid understanding of social and digital media, e-commerce and other elements that need to be seamlessly incorporated into the client’s project.
“A creative media specialist’s day to day duties might include updating websites, doing logo design or doing layouts for newspapers and magazines,” says Richard Chapman of Saskatoon Business College (SBC). “They could be in charge of creating some or all of the files that make up a poster. They might work on ad campaigns, do graphic web design work or do Flash animations for cartoons or animated character development.”
SBC offers a 10-month program devoted entirely to preparing graduates for a busy but exciting career in creative media. The program has an extensive curriculum that covers Adobe programs such as Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat and Flash, as well as HTML/Dreamweaver, In Design and Windows applications, all of which are required for those wishing to enter the creative media market.
“There is always a demand for these skills in the workplace,” Chapman says. “Companies advertise and either outsource their creative media (to freelancers) or they have a team to do it in-house, which we find is a growing trend.”
Creative media specialists liaise with clients to share ideas, and start the creative process with rough sketches or preliminary website and design layouts. Communication skills are important, as it’s often the specialist’s responsibility to explain how to best execute a campaign or marketing strategy and how to best include incorporate branding and messaging, among other design-related details. Often, they’re part of a larger team that requires a lot of cooperation and compromise. Copywriters, clients, photographers, art directors, marketing staff—all of them might play a part in a project.
Is This Career Right For Me?
SBC Creative Media instructor Nathan Wahl stresses that creativity is one of the most important prerequisites for a career in creative media. “The position requires an eye for detail,” says Wahl. “You have to be someone who’s always looking to create.”
He also adds that reliability is crucial. “You must be able to make your deadline,” he urges.
Although creative media specialists often collaborate with a larger team, they usually work alone when a project is underway. Ideal candidates for a career in creative media would be those who have basic drawing skills, are creative and/or have a creative background in art or photography. Creative media specialists should be passionate about their work and keep ahead of new design and technological trends.
Chapman adds that SBC students are prepared to challenge both the Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver Certification exams. Those who successfully pass then become Adobe Certified Associates and with certificates in both software packages. These certifications are ideal for those who are just entering the field and provide employers with some proof that prospective employees have the skills needed for the position.
Where Are The Jobs?
There are plenty of career opportunities for qualified Creative Media specialists. “They can be graphic artists, web designers, social media specialists, Flash animators or they can work freelance,” says Wahl. Those opportunities exist within a number of industries, including the publishing, web development, film and television art departments, marketing and advertising agencies, animation and the graphic design industry.
In fact, says Chapman, openings exist “anywhere where there’s a need for creative work to be done in-house.”
Best of all, creative media specialists have the ability to be self-employed or freelance. Many companies still outsource design work so specialists with contacts in the industry and a strong portfolio are able to work remotely.
Where Can I Study?
These are just some of the schools that offer diploma programs related to the design industry. Contact your nearest campus for more information.