What does “left-brained creative” even mean?

Kelly Strine, left-brained creative logo

Scientists say the left side of your brain controls logic and reasoning, whereas the right side handles emotions and intuition. If you’re left-brain dominate, you tend to have a critical, scientific approach to problem-solving. And those who are right-brain dominant, are more imaginative and creative. But what happens if you’re left-brained, and passionate about the creative industry?

Best of Both Worlds

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a love affair with visual communication, and knew I would make my career in the creative field. And for just as long, I’ve been fiercely organized and detail-oriented (traits I inherited from my dad). As I grew up, thoughtful planning, sequential workflow, and relentless critical thinking soothed my soul and built confidence in my work.

Being a left-brained creative is a part of who I am. And as I became trained and experienced in the art of graphic design, I started to realize that’s what set me apart from other designers. Because I’m driven by the critical side of the brain, I’m constantly considering how the design “works.” Is it cost effective, will it mail efficiently, does it fold correctly, is it on brand, is the message clear…these are just some of the questions that run through my head as I’m working through a project.

Can I See It?

Being a left-brained creative is an intangible trait. It can be tough to physically see, but I can point out where those left-brained tendencies shine. Because of the procedural and critical thinking traits, infographic design is a skill I’ve nurtured. Taking an abstract idea and breaking it down into bite-size chunks in order to convey the root idea visually, is fascinating to me.

A more direct connection to left-brained skills can be seen in multichannel marketing campaigns. I have a near-obsessive compulsion to plan (thanks Dad!). So planning when messages hit your audience, on which channel, and with what content and creative are all project management skills that can be covered by teaming up with a left-brained creative. Relax, we got this!

Are You A Left or Right?

Where do you land? Does your brain function dominance align with your profession, or are you an oxymoron like me? Or is it a nature versus nurture thing where you needed to learn to be more left-brained or right-brained? Continue the conversation in the comments⁠—let’s chat!

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