I was thinking about the role of an art director the other day, and I suddenly realized that we need to watch out for our egos. Aside from the obvious reasons, where a rock star mentality diminishes your value to the process, there is the whole aspect of our position that we depend upon others for nearly all aspects of our job. Whether it is depending on a illustrator to take the words of an art order and breath life into them, a graphic designer to execute upon a visual strategy that we dream up, or any of a million other places where we depend upon others to lend our role credibility. I realized this as I was talking with one of the R&D folks about a new game we have in development. (Don't start sending me emails asking anything about it. That's all I'll say on the issue). The discussion made me look at myself, honestly, and realize all the things I can't do.
Yet, my job is so dependent on being able to have a solid relationship with folks that can accomplish all of those necessary items. My wife and I often talk about having our egos "right sized". Personally, I prefer to do the homework myself to keep my ego in check. It's a whole lot less humbling and painful than when an outside force has to step in and deflate my big head. I hate the way that feels. I hate it even more when I look back on the situation and realize it needed to be done. Yeah, I really hate that... The flip side to having that crazy ego issue is keeping a state of gratitude around me. I find it pretty tough to get all puffed up on myself when I realize what all the people around me accomplish, and how their accomplishments "make me look good."
Whether it is the AD that has the ability to pull amazing quality from a particular artist, the artist that steps in at zero hour and hits a home run, the graphic designer that deals with the crazy amounts of feedback and changes and still creates an amazing design, the R&D guy who takes the time to explain a power to me so that I can provide better write-ups to the artist, the brand guy that takes my hand and leads me through a P&L (profit and loss) document so that I can understand better the business constraints of a product, or the fan that pulls me aside and unloads on me about the latest race I helped concept, all of those folks are absolutely necessary for me to do my job well. If I lose sight of that, I'm lost. Who do you rely on? How does you ego affect those relationships? What does all of this have to do with the world of publishing?