Design Lead, Communications

Hiring Organization: 
Ford Foundation
City and State: 
New York, NY (Temporarily Remote)

Summary Description

The Design Lead (DL) is a member of the Office of Communications creative team and works under the guidance of the Creative Director to conceive, develop and implement designs for an array of content and projects. Playing a key role in implementing Ford’s visual brand, look, feel and tone, the DL should be experienced working in-house and managing freelancers. 

The majority of content development for Ford’s communications work is digital including social media graphics, video graphics, animation, data visualization, web and UI design, photo-editing, presentations, and design research. Occasionally, there may be print and environmental design as well as art directing illustrations and photoshoots. 

The DL must be creative, thoughtful, and well organized with the ability to work quickly and efficiently under pressure at a level of sophistication and mastery of current design tools and technology. They should be a systems thinker who is process-driven, can execute designs, and possess a talent for art directing and creating compelling visuals to illustrate complex concepts and ideas. 

The DL must be collaborative and may lead creative brainstorms to help teams across the foundation generate fresh approaches to communicate their work. Part of an interdisciplinary content team of writers, editors, filmmakers, technologists, digital producers as well as outside vendors and consultants, the DL is expected to participate in a range of meetings, make presentations of work, and contribute ideas to brainstorming sessions and project meetings. 

The DL is responsible for managing projects from start to finish – ensuring products meet brand standards and are completed on time – and must be able to interact successfully and collaboratively with foundation staff at all levels as well as with external consultants, agencies, and vendors. The DL should take a multifaceted approach to their work, grounded in data and insights with strong graphic design principles.

Principal duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to:


  • Advocate for and maintain brand standards across all communication channels
  • Supports the media, editorial, and digital teams by creating and art directing unique graphics and images for use on the website, email newsletters, and social media 
  • Works directly in an email platform tool, like Mailchimp, to develop new designs and templates
  • Collaborate with digital producers to design compelling and immersive layouts for web campaigns and stories
  • Storyboard and advise video editors and animators on typography, color, and on-screen graphics
  • Researches and licenses editorial and stock photography to illustrate blog posts and social media content. This includes advanced searches in Getty Images, public and private archives, and individual photographers.
  • Art direct freelance illustrators and photographers for editorial use
  • Creates design systems and templates for each media platform informed by best practices, evolving insights, and platform needs
  • Manage print production of a variety of materials with a deep understanding of document accessibility standards. Examples include regional office brochures, program research reports, building signage, and branded gifts.

Production and Project Coordination:

  • Highly proficient in file management, version control, and project management on, Slack, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Workplace, and over email
  • Identifies vendors and obtains estimates for contract design and artwork
  • Produce and share social media toolkits for outside partners
  • Handles final electronic pre-press production for print-based projects including delivery of electronic files to the printer 

Accessibility and Inclusion 

  • A curiosity for and ongoing education in the latest standards for web and document accessibility through a disability inclusion lens
  • A proactive approach to finding and improving accessibility across our platforms
  • Makes recommendations for brand standards around illustration, photography, and vendors that promote a standard of equity and inclusion 


  • 5+ years of experience in developing and implementing designs for an array of content and projects
  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Strong commitment to promoting social justice
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills, and the ability to handle communications tactfully and professionally with a high attention to detail
  • Ability to prioritize work assignments, handle multiple tasks and function independently
  • Ability to work in diverse, multidisciplinary teams with shared responsibility and accountability
  • Willingness to be based in New York City


  • This position is primarily a sedentary role. However, the person in this position may need to occasionally move about inside the office to liaise with internal staff, access files, office machinery and a copy machine/printer. 

The Ford Foundation is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its programs, and operations. As part of this commitment, the Foundation will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If a reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application process, please contact, or call (212) 573-4627. 


Alignment to Culture and Values

  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of equity, openness, collaboration, trust, accountability and urgency
  • Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection, and a sense of humor
  • Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues
  • Action-orientated and entrepreneurial self-starter who can work well independently and in teams


  • Medical and dental benefits for employee and immediate family on first day of work
  • Retirement savings account with matching company contributions of up to 13%
  • Three weeks’ paid vacation in first year of work; four weeks in subsequent years 
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Office closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day
  • Professional development initiatives for growth
  • Generous parental leave (maternal and paternal) during new child’s first year (born into family or adopted)

Equal employment opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at The Ford Foundation, where employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/affectional preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law.  

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