Design Lead

Rhode Island School of Design

RISD is seeking a talented designer to lead and manage our Providence-based design team. This individual will partner with the Creative Director and Editorial Director to craft compelling stories about the institution across a broad range of platforms and mediums. The Design Lead will also be the day-to-day steward of our visual identity and coordinate its expression across the team’s work.

Internationally recognized for its immersive model of art and design education, RISD emphasizes conceptually driven studio-based learning and robust liberal arts studies. It upholds the belief that art and design are essential to human progress, well-being and the innovation needed to transform life in the 21st century and is committed to playing a key role in promoting an inclusive, forward-thinking society. As an active and engaged member of the RISD Media Group and the larger community, the Design Lead will be a critical part in expressing this spirit of creative experimentation and progressive thinking to audiences around the globe.

The ideal candidate has deep experience conceptualizing, designing and producing brand experiences, as well as mentoring designers. You are a communications designer by trade, an expert typographer and can lead by example and with humility. In addition, you’ll lead a team of talented designers, foster their professional development, and create the ideal conditions for them to do great work.


Essential Functions/Duties

  1. Lead, mentor and inspire the design team. Promotes continual creative improvement and actively contributes to a culture of creative excellence. Possesses a hands-on approach to the work. Provide team members with direction, coaching, development and supervision; set goals and conduct reviews.

  2. Responsible for being the steward of the school’s visual identity and maintain its expression across all design work coming through the RISD Media Group as well as the larger institution.

  3. Serve as project lead or lead designer on complex and/or highly visible projects.

  4. Oversee the workload of the design team to ensure work of all members is of a high caliber, aligns with the larger Media Group priorities and is consistent with RISD’s mission and key institutional goals. Manage timelines and be the critical eye behind creative concepts and design implementations that the team produces. Direct additional freelance and agency support as needed.

  5. Strategic partner with the editorial director and creative director in setting overall tone and vision for the school’s communication and marketing efforts. Collaborate with team members across various disciplines from editorial to front-end development to find and implement the best and most effective approaches to storytelling.

  6. Help develop a strong design culture in the RISD Media Group and create the right conditions for our designers to do great work. Offer design vision and processes that can guide the team as well as our partners across RISD.

  7. Cultivate and foster positive relationships with clients and peers across campus, as well as external vendors and partners. Model these behaviors for design team members and encourage a proactive, problem-solving approach.

  8. Recommend hardware, software and procedural initiatives to enhance the quality and efficiency of the team’s work. Implement technology, tools, and processes as approved. Evaluate and modify these systems, tools and processes as necessary.


Job Qualifications Required

  • Bachelor’s degree in graphic design or related field. MFA preferred.

  • 7+ years experience, preferably at a design/branding studio or a design-forward in house team.

  • 2+ years of hands-on management experience or proven success mentoring and developing designers.

  • Demonstrated ability to leverage typography, design systems and art direction to tell rich and engaging stories on behalf of a highly visual community across a variety of channels and mediums.

  • Strategic and conceptual thinker who can help translate and communicate creative briefs from our partners into actionable steps for the design team.

  • Ability to lead projects in a team environment, manage multiple priorities responsibly, and work well under deadlines.

  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills. Must be able to develop good working relationships with clients and co-workers, and give and receive constructive feedback.

  • Expert maker with strong Adobe and digital prototyping skills.

  • A strong, dynamic online portfolio that showcases a finely tuned aesthetic and an emphasis on digital-led work.

  • Interest in higher education and the arts & design.

How to Apply

Required Documents:


Cover Letter

Portfolio of Professional Work

Apply Contact
Posted on March 29