In Archetypes, Creator

Beautifully pairing art with science.

Carl G. Jung used the word “archetype” to refer to the recurring patterns found in human stories. He identified the themes, symbols, and imagery as part of the human psyche. Dr. Carol Pearson continued this research by building out Jung’s work as it applies to organizations and groups of people.

Today, we have 12 archetypal patterns that help us understand the common values, beliefs, and actions within organizational cultures. One of these fascinating storylines is the Creator archetype.

Everything Imaginable

Writers, designers, architects, musicians, and even mechanical engineers – there’s a special culture out there where people use creative foresight to build, present, and perform. These Creator cultures wow and amaze us with their ability to develop products that are equally beautiful and functional.

These organizations and teams often use metaphors, symbols, or storytelling to express values and beliefs. But, don’t confuse all creators with the starving artist; these companies are masters at effectiveness and persuasion. Like a box of Crayola crayons, Creators are the source of “Everything Imaginable.”

Creator archetype strengths

Creator cultures specialize in fostering imagination, vision, and talent. They are known amongst their peers for creating high-quality, beautiful products or services. Because they are poetically precise and detailed, their creations stand a step above the competition.

If you walked into a Creator organization, you’re likely to find dozens of notebooks with hundreds of (potentially half-baked) ideas to save for later. You’ll also witness brainstorms that go beyond the whiteboard to include sketches, acting, modeling clay and pencils galore. Creator cultures are passionate about helping other people learn how to express themselves.

Creator archetype shadow sides

We all have some personalty quirks that we’ve learned to live with, right? Well so do the archetypes. The “shadow sides” of an organization’s archetypal pattern help us prepare for what might likely go wrong, or cause frustration. For example, Creator archetypes can be so concerned with detail that they get caught up, and slowed down, by perfectionism. They can also get lost in the daydream, potentially brainstorming ideas that aren’t the best customer solutions. And, every Creator will probably shamefully admit to wanting to start a new project before finishing the first one.

Organizations with Creator characteristics

Think the Creator is happening in your company? This archetype is present from the classic artist to the rap producer or your engine turbine specialist. The products they create, and the innovation they bring to them, keep us wanting more. Here are a few Creator companies you might recognize:


From managing fear and failure in an organization to protecting new ideas and imposing productive limits, Pixar has fostered a culture that repeatedly finds success in its award-winning animated films.

  • The perfect representation of art and science, Pixar unites big ideas, compelling stories, visual artistry and cutting-edge technology
  • Their Creator culture is so profound, their president, Ed Catmull, wrote a book about it: Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
  • One of the key elements of the Pixar culture is the “removal” of fear. Ed Catmull believes that if you’re afraid your idea will be shot down, you’ll never have the freedom to truly create. As he says, “It’s not the managers job to prevent risks. It’s the managers job to make it safe for others to take them.”


You might assume that Adobe is creative by the nature of its products (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.), but this software company has consciously decided to foster its culture.

  • Right on their website, you’ll find their core values “creativity, collaboration, and community.”
  • A quote from Business Insider by an employee said, “Adobe strives to be a good corporate citizen, fostering innovation and creativity.” 
  • Adobe also supplies a robust system of education opportunities for its employees and customers, because they believe the more they allow the brain to stretch, the better ideas it can create


Freedom, fun, and creativity often go hand in hand. As you see with MailChimp, they have a strong presence of both the Jester archetype and the Creator (It’s a chimp in a mailman uniform, after all)

  • Their unofficial motto is “permission to be creative.” Employees have the permission to try something new, permission to fail, permission to embarrass themselves, and permission to have crazy ideas
  • Their founder was quoted by Fast Company for saying “We provide an environment that allows for, and encourages, acting on spontaneous creativity.”
  • Because creativity is often spontaneous, MailChimp has built a company that has remained unattached and flexible so everyone is able to pivot quickly to execute great ideas.

The Creator archetype is often the driving force behind the successful innovations and changes in many organizations. Choosing to foster this culture can help employees expand their minds and have faith in their inspirations. However, the Creator likely needs the support of one of the other 12 archetypes to add some business savvy or efficiency.

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