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Design Director

Manual k

San Francisco, CA

Jul 19
Job Description

As our Design Director you will lead small teams to deliver work throughout all stages of the creative process; immersion, creative strategy, expression and implementation. Working alongside our Creative Director, you will be in charge of building iconic brand identities, experiences, and content for a wide range of clients.

You know how to work with people to get the best out of them and maintain a positive culture. You are a compelling storyteller and a brilliant designer and art director. You are flexible and willing to direct the development of concepts across strategy, copy, design, photography, and motion graphics - inspiring others to think laterally to evolve original ideas.

You encourage cutting-edge creativity and motivate your colleagues to go beyond current trends. You enjoy interacting, presenting, and workshopping with clients. You’re confident and can develop positive, natural relationships.


• Help clients define and solve complex communication problems through an overarching design strategy.

• Work with the creative director to set the creative vision for projects, and maintain a high level of design craft and detail through project completion.

• Guide internal designers and clients towards innovative design solutions using your persuasive leadership skills, clear communication, and comprehensive knowledge of branding.

• Developing talent hiring, training, reviewing, and managing the ongoing development of the creative team. Providing direction and insight to the partners with regards to team performance and needs.

• Briefing / directing / collaborating with brand strategists and writers.

• Assessing and engaging with outside creative partners, and briefing illustrators and photographers.


• Curious. Positive. Rigorous. Focused. Ambitious. Autonomous.
• Decisive when it comes to major creative choices.
• Equal parts creative & strategic.
• Tuned into contemporary culture: fashion, design, photography, architecture, technology, arts, sustainability.
• Creatively brave – unphased by diving into an area you haven’t worked in before.
• A restless thinker with a desire to push, challenge, surprise and stretch those around you.
• Able to delegate and understand when you need help and assistance.
• Excellent presenter, writer, and communicator able to construct a strong and persuasive argument with both logic and creative enthusiasm.
• Able to juggle several tasks with ease, prioritize work streams, delegate effectively, and meet deadlines. Strong organizational skills and a calm demeanor.
• Able to plan, articulate, and deliver comprehensive brand guidelines.
• Big picture thinker: always thinking beyond the brief and scope of work. Proactively proposing content ideas and brand activations.


• You have a Bachelor's degree or MFA in graphic design/ visual communication/ media arts.
• Most likely you’ll have 8+ years of experience
• You’ve worked at some of the best creative agencies in the world.
• You have an inspiring portfolio demonstrating versatility, experimentation, system thinking, and creative energy on significant brand projects recognized as excellent within the industry.
• You have managed/ directed photo content creation (shot-lists, casting, styling, post-production).


We are a design and brand consultancy that believes that thoughtful design can not only make an essential contribution to society and culture, it can change the world for the better.

We use design and creativity to propel brands forward and bring bold new ideas to the world. Ideas that have a positive impact on people’s lives, culture, and the planet.

Our clients are changing the future through technology, architecture, transportation, science, and design itself.

Our clients include:

• Eames Institute
• LiveWire (Harley-Davidson's EV division)
• Strava
• Airbnb
• Dwell Magazine
• Bolt Threads
• Boom Supersonic

How we work:

We Translate.
We come with wide eyes and open ears. Through curiosity, observation, inquiry, and carefully considered creative strategy, we help define what’s unique about a brand and its place in the world. We bring strategy to life through thoughtfully designed experiences and expressions that inspire audiences, change behaviors, elicit actions, and leave a lasting impression.

We understand the bigger picture.
We approach brand building with a holistic mindset. We consider not just the foundational elements of logo and graphic design systems, but equally importantly, a brand’s art direction and visual expression principles across digital and physical.

We employ a balanced approach.
We balance strategy with intuition, function with beauty, technology with the tactile, and longevity with contemporary relevance.

Working at Manual:

When you join Manual you will be given the power to influence amazing brands that are doing amazing things. Every day you will contribute to the success of a team and feel the energy of being an important part of shaping the studio's output and future.

We're a small team so you'll get to collaborate deeply with everyone, from the partners to our interns. There are no egos in our studio. Just a team of enthusiastic and warm people who love collaborating.

We believe that diversity is crucial to solving problems and is lacking in our industry, so we are actively seeking a diverse pool of applicants from all backgrounds.


• PTO - Base three weeks (includes a week in December), with additional days that accrue with each year. Including 7+ public holidays, this accounts for at least 4 weeks of PTO annually.

• 401K - 3% annual match at a minimum after a year in addition to profit sharing contributions

• Fully paid for health, dental and vision insurance premiums for staff; 50% premiums paid for spouses and dependents.

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