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 experiences that capture the imagination, delivering impressive returns for our clients.

Creatives at AKQA apply artistry and craftsmanship to strategic insight, to create and bring to life beautiful ideas that move the world. As skilled storytellers and conceptors, they work in a multidisciplinary environment to develop labors of love that delight customers and deliver results for clients.

The Design Director at AKQA will approach every brief with fresh eyes. Avoiding familiar solutions, you will create and inspire work that is distinctive, effective and truly remarkable. You will lead a multidisciplinary team to deliver exceptional ideas and executions on high-profile creative projects.

Based in the heart of the SOMA district, the epicenter of the Bay Area’s technology industry⁠. Our San Francisco studio offers staff the opportunity to produce meaningful work for world-class companies in one of the world’s most vibrant and beautiful cities.

With an entrepreneurial and collaborative approach, we design adaptive services. We build experiences and applications that capture the imagination and deliver proven business results for our clients, including Facebook, PayPal, Uber, The Clorox Company, IBM, Levi’s and more.

Our San Francisco studio is uniquely diverse in its resident skillsets enabling employees to solve across the full spectrum of experience solutions. Ranging from strategy, creative and development through to programmatic media, integrated paid search, social marketing and predictive analytics. 

 

ROLE REQUIREMENTS

  • Creative craft skills - Sets creative direction and strategic guidance throughout the duration of client team projects
  • Displays a cohesive understanding, and can execute the principles that make innovative and effective digital communications, brand strategies, content development and experience design
  • 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
  • Storytelling - Makes complex concepts simple and easy to understand utilizing data, art, and technology
  • Works with other departments to establish strategic and creative approaches for a given assignment
  • Partners with strategists, product designers, motion designers, technologists, data analysts, live shoot production teams and vendors to ensure flawless execution of the creative vision
  • Organized - Manages the team resources and projects with an unmeasured proactiveness to ensure the highest caliber of work is delivered to the client on time
  • Direct - Directs the effort to develop creative 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 concepts
  • Idea generation - Leads by example to consistently inspire creative colleagues to create pioneering ideas that conceptualize world-class solutions
  • Generates useful, usable ideas across existing and emerging digital platforms. Continually develops practices and processes to inspire, innovate, and harness new ways of thinking
  • Creates platform solutions that have a business impact for clients, cultural impact for consumers and supports the growth of client relationships
  • 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
  • Leadership - Acts as a strategic and conceptual leader on projects
  • Sets overall creative direction (conceptual as well as executional covering art direction, user experience, copy and motion)
  • 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
  • A Design Director is expected to lead and manage 10–15+ creatives on an on-going basis
  • Mentoring - Actively trains, mentors and manages junior and mid-level creatives
  • Proactively identifies and resolves issues
  • Acts as a Career Manager, responsible for managing and guiding creatives of all levels within AKQA, including regular one-on-one check-ins, writing and delivering annual performance reviews and takes responsibility for on-boarding new employees and guiding him/her through a successful tenure at AKQA
  • New business development - Creatively leads new business pitches and is responsible for the ideas and the creative work, and articulating a compelling story

 

QUALITIES AND CHARACTERISTICS

  • Listing out what the candidate might be like experience wise and their personal self (but we need to be inclusive as well)
  • An excellent portfolio that spans digital, experiential, retail, product/service design and storytelling
  • A minimum of 12 years’ experience in the creative industry, with a focus on immersive digital experiences, products and platforms 
  • Experience collaborating with motion designers, technologists, live production teams, product designers 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
  • Exceptional 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 digital media as well as the marketing industry at large; an ability and a desire to adapt to the changing landscape of technology
  • Ability to provide creative 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
  • Strong deck writing and dynamic presentation skills

 

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

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AKQA People team