Design Director

POSITION: Design Director
REPORTS TO: Executive Director
SUPERVISES: Production Manager, design interns, and professional volunteers
STATUS: Exempt
HOURS: Full-Time, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (with evenings and weekends as required)
COMPENSATION: Commensurate with experience
TO APPLY: Please (1) fill out this short application, and (2) submit your cover letter, resume, and portfolio to Write “Design Director” in the subject line. Please apply by November 26. This position is open until filled.

Founded in 2002 by writer Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, 826 Valencia is an award-winning nonprofit that provides free writing, tutoring, and publishing services for under-resourced students at two centers and three school-based satellite sites in San Francisco. We are known for our whimsical brand, highlighted by our student publications and creative spaces, and embodied in our work with the community. We are in a period of rapid and exciting expansion, having recently built a new center in the Tenderloin neighborhood and with a planned expansion to the Mission Bay, and are building up our advancement team to increase awareness and support of our mission.


Visual design has always been a key part of how we bring our quirky but stylish point of view to life. The Design Director will be the heart and soul of our visual expression as a brand. The Design Director is responsible for the development and creative direction of 826 Valencia’s communication and publishing projects. As the leader of the in-house design department, the Design Director oversees projects from concept to completion, provides creative direction, manages the design team, and works closely with all departments.


The Design Director reports to the Executive Director of the 826 Valencia organization and supervises the Production Manager, design interns, and creative volunteers.


Creative direction

  • Maintain the organization’s brand identity
  • Set creative vision and high standard for communication and publishing projects
  • Work closely with interns, volunteers, and staff to deliver creative solutions across a wide range of projects including publications, identity systems, website, newsletters, environmental graphics, products, posters, flyers, etc.
  • Work closely with the Production Manager to select vendors and sign off on layouts, artwork, photography, pre-press proofs and press proofs
  • Lead the design team in all aspects of design and production including strategy, conceptualization, execution of projects, and production

Project management

  • Create and manage production schedule of all communication needs
  • Support production schedule of all publishing needs
  • Effectively prioritize and assign workload to the design team in order to meet deadlines and work objectives
  • Manage the continual updates and archiving of all creative projects
  • Ensure quality control for all work, encompassing file accuracy and quality, timeliness, and cost management

Supervision of in-house team

  • Interview, screen and hire applicants for design internships and volunteer work
  • Inspire and guide the in-house team (interns and Production Manager) to creative excellence as both a mentor and a contributor
  • Foster teamwork and idea exchange


  • Attend staff meetings, meet all deadlines and assist in the evaluation of the programs
  • Attend National Conference and other professional development workshops/conferences/seminars, etc.
  • Participate as part of the organization’s leadership team in the development and management of the strategic direction for the 826 Valencia organization, and integrate the team’s work to support the organizational vision and mission
  • All other duties as assigned by the Executive Director


  • Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design or equal experience
  • Five or more years of professional experience and advanced leadership including communication and project management skills is required
  • Successful track record in developing and managing multidisciplinary creative teams of more than 3 people


  • Expertise in arts/design, and a demonstrated ability to direct, mentor and enhance the efforts of a creative team
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with cross-functional teams
  • Experience managing multiple projects, priorities, and deadlines with a strong attention to detail
  • Strong collaboration and influencing skills
  • The ability to communicate clearly, both verbally and in writing
  • Demonstrated ability to direct and multi-task effectively under pressure, while balancing speed and quality of the work
  • Expert understanding of visual direction and storytelling
  • Applied conceptual strategy, brainstorm facilitation, day-to-day shepherding of a project to completion and team collaboration with organization staff
  • Proven ability to think conceptually and broadly about projects and the brand as a whole, and to develop and evolve creative systems
  • Ability to work effectively with computers using Microsoft Office, and other software appropriate to the position
  • Ability to work well in a team environment
  • Ability to work with a culturally diverse population and a variety of stakeholders and audiences
  • Commitment to 826 Valencia’s mission and values
  • Positive disposition and sense of humor a must


This full-time position is located at the 826 Valencia Tenderloin office at 180 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA. The Design Director must be able to travel to locations in the greater San Francisco Bay Area as well as the 826 Valencia Mission Center and to other locations, such as schools, where some 826 Valencia programs operate. Must be available to travel throughout the U.S. as necessary with some overnight stays required. Occasional long hours required to meet deadlines or to assist with organization activities.

As an organization committed to encouraging youth in their creative expression, personal growth, and academic success, 826 Valencia recognizes the importance of diversity at all levels and in all aspects of our work. In order to build and maintain the safe, supportive environment in which great leaps of learning occur, we commit to inclusion: We will not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, nationality, marital status, English fluency, parental status, military service or disability.