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Interview With Our Director Clare


Have you ever caught yourself wondering what a Director gets up to on the day to day? Perhaps you’re a budding designer aspiring towards a career in the creative. Or maybe you’re an experienced designer in search of a new perspective on what it means to be a  Director. Well, we’d like to introduce you to our Director, Clare Holmes, as she tells all on what it is to be a Director at full service agency Red Creative.

Clare, tell us a little bit more about your role at Red Creative.

I’ll give it a go! For a bit of context first, at Red Creative, we’re a team of mixed talents blended together to offer a seamless service to retail brands, predominantly B2B, covering fashion, lingerie, footwear, jewellery, beauty, food & drink and hospitality.

My day to day is a mix of creative direction, leadership, client management, business development and strategic planning to make sure we always deliver exceptional solutions as an agency to allow us to grow and develop. A lot of plate spinning with different daily focuses to ensure everything has an eye over it. The team do amazing work across the board developing new creative solutions across design, photography and videography, I review at top-level to keep the business aligned with its objectives but leave the team to the day to day as they know full well how to deliver top notch content without me!

Managing timelines and daily operations is an everyday part of my role, being there to discuss deadlines, when we’re ahead but also when we need to throw some more resource at a project to hit timelines as things can get tight, especially when we’re pushing the boundaries… and with fashion brands, ideas can flip last minute, so we like to always be flexible and supportive to changes that come along the way.

I spend part of my day checking in with clients, to maintain good relationships and be on hand to discuss any potential challenges. I’ll always be around for initial briefings with the team so we all understand the clients’ goals and I can make sure their budget fits our creative ideas, always with room to push the boundaries a little bit further.

Whilst I’m confident in my team’s creative abilities and eye for detail, I trained in graphic design way back now and that part of you never leaves you, I enjoy the creative part of the job hugely and love to get involved with ideas be them large or small, it’s a nice process and rewarding working collaboratively with the team. I still remember the first time I saw something I’d designed printed, be it a catalogue, a swing-ticket or a piece of POS, it’s a good feeling and whilst there’s a lot less print now and more digital content to work on, seeing your creation on a website or on socials is equally as rewarding.

Alongside the day to day, I look at the business development, identifying where there are opportunities for growth, presenting to potential clients, actively looking for clients and developing strategies and different ways to grow our client base in innovative ways. In a competitive industry like this one, it’s a challenge to be fresh and to get your agency in front of the right audience, there’s no right or wrong way to do this, trial and error and lots of ideas alongside a clear end game.

I present the company figures monthly, working to an agreed budget which clearly shows our financial performance, where we are over / under performing. It’s a good forum to keep the business on track and allows us to manage our client fees to negotiate fair contracts and agreements which gives our clients great value for money and Red enough room to innovate and grow.

Briefs come to us in all shapes and sizes and part of what I like to do is spot-check our creative outputs to ensure we meet our high-standards consistently. We regularly review and evaluate our work as a team, this allows us to identify any weaknesses and grow. Processes can be reviewed and improved as a consequence. As a team of designers, photographers, videographers, retouchers, art-directors, copy-writers, creative strategists etc. etc (it’s a long list), collaboration in work is key to deliver the seamless full-service we offer, consistent messaging across all touch-points is key. The team have many accomplishments to be proud of working together as a team and I hope I play a little part in that.

How has Red Creative evolved for you over the last 20 years?

A long way!... Go back to 2005 when we were first established as an agency and we were focused primarily on graphic design, working with some major premiership football clubs; Liverpool FC, Arsenal, Newcastle United! It was an exciting time, arranging photoshoots with the players, designing their store windows and mail-order catalogues, they were extremely busy times but such a lot of fun too. We went very quickly from working with freelance photographers to developing a full in-house photographic and videographic studio with in-house team. This allowed us to set up a seamless production loop for ecom services for brands such as per una and limited at Marks and Spencers. We worked out how to run a shoot day to cover model across both photography and video alongside shooting the ghost mannequin, all then going across to our retouch team to deliver consistent colour matched imagery across the image set – it really did work well and something we still maintain as our bread and butter work even today.

These days though, we combine all the photographic work with our original roots – creative strategy, shoot packs, social media and online content for brands on a monthly basis, delivering brand consistency, newness and innovation. No week is ever the same, with a mix of different regular brands as well as one-off clients needing specific projects, life at Red is never dull and requires a team of creatives who understand how the fashion industry works.

What does a typical day look like for you?

All of the above to varying degrees each day. Monday’s start with a check-in with the team on the week ahead, priorities and logistics across shoots and design deadlines. The rest of the week evolves around planned meetings and a lot of ad hoc requests, flexibility and an ability to juggle is key.

How did your journey begin in the creative industry? What were your highlights?

I did a degree in Graphic Design back in the 90’s and went straight into a job at George Clothing working as a Boyswear designer on product prints, all-overs and placements, different techniques, at that time mainly hand-drawn! A much slower process but it gave some great results and was a time where I could work alongside the buyers and product designers and travel to different European cities to see the trends and understand more fully how a collection comes together. It’s something I’ve never forgotten as it’s helped no end working within an agency with fashion brands, the process of how you get a product from A to B in front of the customer. I was lucky enough to work in an open business where you could get noticed and it wasn’t long before I had the opportunity to work on product packaging which in turn led to hosiery shoots for tights packaging and lingerie packaging. This was pre digital so the process was totally different, working with top photographers in big London studios. By the time I left George Clothing to move on to working with Marks and Spencers on the per una collection, I was on every campaign shoot working on in-store POS, windows and brochures and had the privilege of shooting in some amazing locations.

Whilst I do all the same things now, the digital process has of course sped things up no end and allowed us to do far more experimental work inhouse. Budgets are tighter now but the creative opportunity is still there and we’ve worked recently on some amazing projects including Hologram videos, 3D renders (perfect for jewellery), and motion graphics.

And I can’t forget to add here ‘George Davies’ my mentor and total inspiration. His achievements in the fashion retail industry are incredible. Being encouraged to always be your best, to deliver things you don’t believe are possible to achieve makes a huge difference to what you can do.

Among the many projects you have worked with, what was the most memorable one?

Hard to pinpoint just one but I can categorize into 3;

For sheer determination and grit – The George at Asda ‘Back to School’ catalogues – tight deadlines, multiple childrenswear photoshoots and a huge art working job at quite a young age including signing off proofs on press in the middle of the night – it was a big learning curve.

For aesthetics – The team have recently shot Summer content for Blooming, a lingerie and nightwear brand trading in the Middle East. Imagery that will be used consistently across windows, in-store, online and socials. It encapsulates great mood and summer vibes, the brands personality beautifully.

For fun – The Prem. Football club shoots because there were so many famous faces to see. Highlight, getting a Newcastle Crest painted on Les Ferdinand’s chest for the denim section and having to get a full sized champions league cup over to the training ground at Melwood for a Liverpool shoot in the back of my car (with an escort behind)! Good times…

As Director of Red Creative where do you see the industry heading and how Red fits in with it?

The creative industry is evolving rapidly, driven by the technological advancements we hear about every day, changing consumer behaviours, with new platforms for content creation and distribution. Some of the key trends shaping the future of the creative industry that we’ve been developing are;

  • A greater focus on digital transformation. Something we are already heavily involved in, producing content for online and social that gets brands noticed. We research, we observe and we test. This informs our creative strategies and reaches larger audiences.

  • Personalisation of customer experiences whether that’s tailored content with individual audiences or supporting product personalisation online it drives greater engagement and customer loyalty.

  • The value to customers of sustainability and ethical practices is key. We work with our clients to bring their values to the forefront with innovative campaigns.

  • Everyone knows AI is the future, we are experimenting with ideas to bring this into our everyday workflow across all the industries we work with, ways to improve efficiencies, costs and results in exciting ways.

  • We push boundaries and suggest ideas to our clients which whilst still on-brand, also push boundaries on diversity and inclusion, this is an on-going requirement for the team and something we’re proud to be able to make small steps in on a daily basis.

  • We have a fabulous studio, a place where the team can collaborate, communicate and work seamlessly together. It’s when we’re all together that some of our best ideas are formed. Alongside this, when the brainstorms are done and the projects are underway, there’s always an opportunity to remote work which we know at times allows us to really focus and get stuck into a project without distractions.

We work hard to be adaptable, innovative and committed to offering excellence.

What would your advice be for somebody who wants to become a Director of an award winning agency?

Put the work in to learn everything within your business. Come to it with a strong foundation, an education in marketing, communications, design or business management and develop that by working in various roles having done the day to day with the team, know how it all works.

Lead by example, work hard, demonstrate integrity, dedication and a strong work ethic, it gets you everywhere! Keep your communication channels open and be there for your team when they need you.

Keep up with what’s new in the industry with continual learning and sharing of ideas and let your team do their thing. Encourage creativity to push boundaries and try new things.

Focus on your clients, nurture those relationships and always be honest and open. Set achievable goals that keep you on your toes and moving forward and be prepared to U-turn and flex as many times as needed. Never lose sight of your end goal and keep your standards high however tight the deadlines.

Be PRO-active not RE-active and you’re on to a winner. For freelance, work-experience or current job roles, take a look online at where you can get in touch or subscribe to our email.


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