kristian gallagher

at the intersection of words & images

Creative Direction

Creative direction encompasses everything I do that isn’t my own writing or photography. It’s a big bucket. It’s so vast in fact, that most people aren’t entirely certain what a creative director does.

How To Recognize A Creative Director™

A disproportionate number of us are left-handed Leos who wear glasses whether we need to or not and own a lot of black. Black clothes, cars, cats, cameras, commercial-grade espresso machines. Well, actually those are usually stainless steel.

At lunch, we will tell you — even though you didn’t ask — our opinions about the typeface used on the menu.

Most of us did not attend RISD or Parsons, but those who did will mention it several times per week. It’s considered polite to keep your eye rolling to a minimum.

We know exactly how to fix anything: stop trying. Destroy the clearly-not-working thing. Just burn it down. Design a new version that doesn’t break in the first place. Most creatives are secret anarchists.

You could know us for years and still not quite understand what we do, because all the heavy lifting takes places inside our heads. You don’t want to peek in there. It’s scary.

Our resting facial expression is best described as I Am Silently Judging Every Design Choice You Ever Made, Including That Outfit You’re Wearing.**

Consider it like this: in the same way writers need editors, athletes need coaches, and musicians need producers all to create their best work, so too do photographers (and copywriters, designers of all flavors and even filmmakers) need creative directors to shepherd, coax, and shape their raw creative talent into the best it can be. And that’s what I do: I am editor, producer, and coach all rolled into one tiny, over-caffeinated package.


Like anyone with a broad job description, I do specialize in some areas more than others:

  • Assembling and managing creative teams on a per project basis for organizations without in-house creative departments.
  • Visual identity creation for film, from pre-production through post. This includes overall mood, storyboarding, set styling, prop creation, and even the look & feel of the marketing and social channels.
  • Brand and identity creation for blogs. Defining everything from color palette and typefaces to photography and illustration styles.
  • Overseeing marketing and branding for non-profits.
  • Teaching anyone who’s interested all there is to know about typography.
  • Teaching composition, light, emotion, and mood to people who work with photography as part of their job but who do not consider themselves photographers per se.
  • And because the majority of my early career was spent as a UX Designer, I help clients define (or redefine) the user experience of everything, from apps to restaurants.

**Anyone who describes themselves as a creative also favors this expression.


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