Attracting top talent to work in-house can be a challenge — often due to misperceptions that in-house environments are less creative or too rigid. Another obstacle can be job titles. Corporate titles are often at odds with industry-standard creative titles, resulting in “made up” titles and muddy role clarity. Let us know if job titles are an issue at your company.

  • While I am generally referred to as my company’s creative director, my actual title is “Leader, Creative Services”.

  • Kriss Goldsmith

    Creative Services Director

  • Pennie Bainbridge

    Brand Manager and Director, Brand Management

  • I am the sole creative with the completely non-descriptive title of “Technical Specialist I,” however I prefer to go by “Design Illusionist.”

    • Mina Radivojevic

      I can relate and love the tile Design Illusionist. I also have a pin which clarifies my role: I’m not a cake decorator, I’m a designer. Sometimes it helps.

  • Ed Roberts

    My most recent job title reflected those wonderfully made up government titles that always left industry folks scratching their heads with a look of “Whah!?” on their faces.

    The worst: Communications Projects Supervisor. This brilliantly descriptive title meant Creative Director without using the word “Director” (I actually don’t like the word “Director” either).

    I’ve requested a title change twice in my career. Both times occurred while working in-house. Each time I selected a title that accurately reflected my value and contributions.

    Today my title is Creative Lead. It’s simple, descriptive and most important, I like it.

  • Ed Roberts

    My most recent job title reflected those wonderfully made up government titles that always left industry folks scratching their heads with a look of “Whah?!” on their faces.

    The worst: Communications Projects Supervisor. This brilliantly descriptive title meant Creative Director without using the word “Director” (I actually don’t like the word “Director” either).

    I’ve requested a title change twice in my career. Both times occurred while working in-house. Each time I selected a title that accurately reflected my value and contributions to the in-house team and organization.

    Today my title is Creative Lead. I believe my title is simple, descriptive and most important it was my choice. I also had my writer’s title changed from “Strategic Communications Specialist” to simply “Copywriter.”

    • Mina Radivojevic

      I have requested a change three times, still waiting. What’s the secret to getting it?

      Mina

      • Ed Roberts

        Hey Mina,

        You are probably doing all the right things. But hopefully I can shed some light on how I was able to get my title changed.

        I was able to do this by reestablishing the value and credibility of my in-house team. Both were viewed as liabilities, so a lot of work (and a couple of years) was put in to rebuilding internal confidence.

        Once my team and I put in the hard work and changed the mindset of our internal stakeholders, I was able to explain to decision makers that our titles did not appropriately convey what we actually do. I was able to show them tangible examples of how difficult it was for me to do business with external counterparts who couldn’t decipher my strange, government title.

        Basically, I framed my title change as a business “must” instead of a business “want.”

  • This is a revealing InSource Opinion Poll!
    I also like Creative Lead; and will try that one. Graphic Designer doesn’t accurately reflect my value and contributions to the in-house team and organization.
    • Project Management
    • Web Contributor, images and content
    • Graphic Design
    • Copywriter
    We don’t ‘just produce work and get it out,’ we determine best solutions for content management, include IT team architects, analysts and integrate ideas to the web environment.

    • Ed Roberts

      Thanks Barbara!

  • Paul ODonnell

    While our titles are for the most part standard industry titles ie. Art Director, the word director gets us in trouble. We have a director of Graphic Services and I am Sr. Art Director. By our corporate standards because of the word director, I should be at the same level and pay grade as my department head. While this is at times a problem the bigger issue is that “corporate” doesn’t know what an Art Director does so when they do their “equitable compensation studies” comparing our salary and benefits to the market we usually get shafted because they are comparing titles only and not our job descriptions.

  • The best my company is willing to go with for me is Graphic Designer. We now also have an Associate Graphic Designer. The manager of our department, who is a public relations professional is called Manager, Branding and Communications. I have been advocating for a stronger title for years, but cannot use “manager” or “director” in the wording.

    • Blynda Barnett

      I feel your pain, Lisa. It’s embarrassing to do business outside of our firm with titles that don’t conform with our industry.

    • Ed Roberts

      I wonder if InSource could research and develop a list of acceptable titles that our members could use to make the case for and share with their senior managers. It’s a little radical, but something to ponder.

    • I’ve got the official title of “Technical Specialist I” however they did let me put “Design Specialist” on my business card. Not exactly descriptive, but certainly better. Specialist just sounds so…uncreative.

  • cailin63

    Director of Commercial Lines Sales & Marketing (we are a niche property/casualty insurance company). I am Graphic Designer and we have two Marketing Communications Specialists rounding out the group.

  • Alissa Stutzman

    Creative & Design Manager

  • I am a solo in-house graphic designer, and my title is “Creative Services Manager.” It is common here to give the title of “Manager” even though that person has no authority over anyone but themselves. They let me choose my own title, and I was “Graphic Designer” previously. We’re pretty flexible about titles in general.

  • Sarah Butler

    Starting out as a solo in-house designer, my title was Creative Design Specialist. No one knew what that meant (including me) so after some responsibilities were passed on to me I was able to change it to Graphic Designer/Project Coordinator.

  • Blynda Barnett

    I no longer use my firm business cards since my title was changed from Branding and Design Manager to the prestigious Senior Graphic Designer. Law firm’s don’t allow “Director” titles for such positions.

  • Mina Radivojevic

    I have struggled with this for years, I am called a communications specialist which means nothing to my clients and to the rest of the industry. It’s quite a challenge. In spite of all my efforts to educate, this is still the case.

    As a professional member of an international design association, I think that associations could help with clarity and regulating the titles, standardizing them, especially if we have a professional standing in a professional association. It would help if our associations could advocate for us, as in SPEC work.

    • Ed Roberts

      Love this idea!

  • Mina Radivojevic

    I have struggled with this for years; I am called a communications specialist, which means nothing to my clients, and to the rest of the industry. It’s quite a challenge. In spite of all my efforts to educate, this is still the case.

    As a professional member of an international design association, I think that associations could help with clarity and regulating the titles, standardizing them, especially if we have a professional standing in a professional association. It would help if our associations could advocate for us, as in SPEC work.

  • rcolangelo

    We have the following senior level titles at White & Case, which is the legal services industry:

    -Global Creative Services Director
    -Production Design Manager
    -Graphic Design Manager

  • alaina delabruere

    Being the only in-house designer, my official title is “Web Marketing and Graphic Designer” but co-workers label me as “Creative Director” “Graphics Lady” or just “Designer” to the others internally and externally.

    • Sometimes I get “Sign Lady” since I make a lot of the environmental graphics. I hate that.