What’s in a name?

Here’s something I’ve been struggling with for months. What title do I have on my card and email sig?

Hell yeah, that seems vain at first read, but let’s look a little deeper. When Pete and I started JP74 in 2001, there was just the two of us. He did the heavy coding, and I did front end web work and graphic design. So we took the titles of Technical Director for him and Creative Director for me.

In our formative years, these proved to be good titles, as creatives from agencies would take my title at face value and trust that I knew what they were talking about when mentioning point sizes, EPS files, Pantone references and kerning. I’d studied as a graphic designer, so yeah, this was all straight forward.

However, as time wore on, and JP74 grew in size, we took on more staff, with specialised skills. We took on a real hard core programmer, and Pete, with his logical thought processes filled the void of management that we had. Fantastic move. But we got a really talented graphic designer with vision and purpose for the Creative Director role, which delighted me, as I could get on with accessibility, standards and user interface/user experience side of design and coding.

Since I moved more into the usability side of design, but still do the majority of front end presentational web coding I’ve noticed there’s not really a short and sweet title that coins this. Add the fact that I’m also a director and need to convey such seniority to assure clients they’re speaking to someone with authority, and we’re in a real naming kerfuffle.

Thankfully/sadly, it seems I’m not alone. I am by no means unique, there are tons of people out there who code/design/direct companies and can’t pigeon hole their title. It’s got to the point were our new cards haven’t been printed because I can’t decide on a title. Now *that* sounds really anal!

The proposed title of “Director” simply does not convey the vast spectrum of things I have to do in connection with the interwebs and running the company. Anyone in my position, and most people reading this blog will be of similar ilk, know what we have to do. Coding, HTML/CSS, javascript, Flash, editing audio and video, understanding codecs and bit rates, suggesting and applying effects, movement and interaction to projects, being the grammar nazi and chief copy writer, configuring email accounts, servers and DNS records, as well as keeping the Macs in the studio running and of course, administering awesome sounds on the studio stereo.

Oh, and I’ve missed little things like keep an eye on the bleeding edge, research and development of the trending technologies, standards and methods and generally looking forward to where the internet is headed, as well as work with Pete to plan forward for the company, do job interviews/HR, networking and publicity!

So, back to the title. It’s not a big surprise, but seems most apt when taking into account the above. So here it is…

Jake Smith. Interactive Director.