From forgetting to save projects to only using the most popular stock images, as a creative there are some mistakes you should just avoid entirely. When under stress from rushed projects and tight deadlines, mistakes can seem inevitable; but knowing what to look out for ahead of time can make all the difference. Here is a short list of things to look out for on the creative side of things:

1.Getting started before you understand the audience
Let’s face it, if you don’t know who you’re talking to, you are setting yourself up for failure right from the get-go. Let’s be honest, knowing exactly who your audience is and what their needs are is vital. It’s the only way to get the messaging right, unless you’re just really good at guessing. Get all the information you can from the client and the account team (who have hopefully done all the right research) before you even begin brainstorming. If nothing else, this will keep you from the dread of having to rewrite, redesign, or just restart completely.

2. Designing for designers
As the great Thierry Brunfaut once said, “Don’t design for designers, design for people.” Always keep in mind the utility that the design is providing and don’t get carried away. There is a difference between a beautiful ad and a successful ad. To create a successful ad, you must design with the end goal of creating awareness of the product/brand/message, captivating the audience and inspiring them to take action.

3. Not communicating with the account team
As previously mentioned in #1, the creative team has to work closely with the account team every step of the way, regardless of the project size. Sometimes only a few creatives and accounts will communicate updates, edits, or changes to the project. This of course ends in confusion, wasted time and ultimately delayed projects. Find that symbiosis and build a system that works for both teams. Always keep the flow of information moving because once that fizzles, so does the project.

Account management has a ton of different variables to (wait for it) …account for. Client requests, budget control, project management, and finding that happy medium with the creatives. Aside from all the things you should be doing on the account side, here are a few mistakes you should avoid making at all costs.

1. Not focusing on the customer
Ultimately the customer is the target of advertising. It is easy to sometimes think about what the client wants or what the marketing group wants, and forget that neither is as important as what the customer wants. Marketing should be about loving your customer and how they, with the help of your client, benefit.

2. Over-promising
As a member of the account team, you know you will do everything in your power to get the clients what they want. This can become dangerous when you begin to over-promise on deliverables. You will end up either falling short in the eyes of your clients or delivering rushed, poorly-done work.

3. Poor communication
Ah, communication: the key to any relationship. In this case, the important relationship between creative and accounts. Without a strong exchange between the two teams, the client isn’t going to get what they want, or both teams are going to end up doing more work. It takes both accounts and creatives to build strategy to create effective advertising, and it starts and ends with strong communication.

Time and time again, we find that the source of strain on people, projects, and relationships is a lack of proper communication. Though they often have differing opinions, both creative and account teams need to keep each other informed.