San Francisco, United States

Design Director

At AKQA we believe in the imaginative application of art and science to create beautiful ideas, products, and services. With an entrepreneurial and collaborative approach, we design adaptive digital services and applications that capture the imagination, delivering impressive returns for our clients.

From our location in San Francisco's SOMA district - AKQA’s SF Studio offers our staff the opportunity to produce meaningful work for world-class companies in one of the world's most vibrant and beautiful cities.

As a Design Director at AKQA, you will lead a multidisciplinary team across a client engagement to create exceptional work on various projects including design, branding, user experience, video production, and immersive digital experiences.

The Design Director will approach every brief with fresh eyes and a strategic mind avoiding familiar solutions to create and inspire work that is distinctive, effective, and truly remarkable.


Strong design eye. Hands-on leader. Directs the work to ensure it complies with brand standards while also pushing its boundaries and evolving the system. A meticulous eye for detail.

Direct. Directs the effort to develop design concepts and implementations in a cross-disciplinary manner. Works with other departments to establish strategic and creative approaches for a given assignment. Works in a hands-on capacity internally and externally; develops the strategy, vision and design concepts.

Creative craft skills. Sets design direction and strategic guidance throughout the duration of projects. Displays a cohesive understanding, and can execute the principles that make innovative and effective campaigns, brand strategies, and design systems that can span across OOH, Print, Web, Social, and Video.

Idea generation. Leads by example to consistently inspire creatives to create pioneering ideas that conceptualize world-class solutions. Continually develops practices and processes to inspire, innovate and harness new ways of thinking. Creates solutions that have business impact for clients, cultural impact for consumers and supports the growth of client relationships.

Leadership. Acts as a strategic, conceptual and design leader on projects. Sets overall design direction. Inspires and leads by example, setting professional standards for the team and the department. Evangelizes and represents AKQA externally through various leadership opportunities, conferences, speaking and writing engagements.

Mentoring. Actively trains, mentors and manages junior and mid-level creatives. Proactively identifies and resolves issues.

Client relationship. Works in conjunction with the Client Services team to actively build a strong relationship with a given client. Has a strong POV and leads discussions that position us as a thought leader. Contributes significantly in growing our business with the client.

New business development. Creatively leads new business pitches. Is responsible for the ideas and the creative work, and articulating a compelling story.


• An excellent portfolio that spans branding, design, campaign, film and storytelling.
• A minimum of 12 years’ experience in the creative industry, with a focus on design and systematic thinking across a myriad of channels; deep expertise in the design, exceptional aesthetic and capabilities in building design systems that can stretch across OOH, Print, Web, Social, and Video.
• Experience collaborating with motion designers, technologists, live production teams and vendors to seamlessly execute projects
• Bachelor of Arts degree in Design or Art Direction from a four-year university, two-year portfolio school or equivalent experience; focus on digital, experiential and retail, advanced degrees, a plus
• Exceptional design aesthetic, variations on styles, and awareness of design trends and innovation
• Excellent communication skills: verbal, written, interpersonal and inter-departmental
• Thought leadership: a strong point of view; ability to contribute to the strategic development of an assignment; creative ideas and the ability to promote conceptual thinking among the team
• The ability to lead, coach, inspire and motivate a team to create and deliver truly remarkable, influential and impactful work
• A solid understanding of media as well as the marketing industry at large; an ability and a desire to adapt to the changing landscape
• Ability to provide design directions as well as overall leadership for strategic and account direction
• Ability to establish client relationship and act as a creative leader for the client

AKQA is an Equal Opportunities Employer, we believe that diversity is vital to AKQA’s ability to provide our clients with the best recommendations and are committed to fostering a varied and inclusive work environment. Your race, color, ancestry, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability or veteran status have no bearing on our hiring decisions. If you have a disability or special need that requires accommodation, please let us know.




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Design Director — San Francisco


AKQA’s continued progression and innovation for our clients rests on our ability to attract, develop and retain the finest talent. We put particular emphasis on the following qualities: Adventurousness, Imagination, Passion, Leadership, Flexibility and Conscientiousness. In 100 words or less please express how you have demonstrated each of the qualities.

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