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Design Director

Job Location

Washington, DC


Type of Job



The salary range for this position begins at $120,000.

Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Dec 21, 2021

About the job

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National Geographic Society (NGS) is embarking on an exciting period of growth and innovation which includes expanding its in-house engagement and marketing team and building an advancement communications group to support the organization’s fundraising, programmatic and mission-oriented goals. With a focus on brand and digital engagement, NGS is building an entrepreneurial team of in-house expertise comprised of strategic communications, marketing, digital and multi-media professionals housed within the communications division of NGS.


The Communications Division leads the development and execution of integrated communications and marketing strategies to further the mission of the National Geographic Society and advance its position as one of the world's most trusted non-profit organizations and global brands. Driven by the Society's vision to be more globally known for its impactful Explorer-led mission programs, the Division's creative and strategic minds develop strategic communications, marketing campaigns, creative, content, and media to promote the Society's strategic plan and key priorities. The Division comprises six departments: Engagement and Marketing Strategy, Brand, Creative, Strategic Communications, Executive Communications, and Content and Editorial.


The Engagement and Marketing Strategy department is an exciting and growing team within the Communications division at NGS. The department defines and implements an engagement strategy for the Society to deepen relationships with our core audiences and market our key products and services in education, museum and events, Explorer-led programs, and fundraising. Supporting a culture of philanthropy is crucial to the Society and this group leads all advancement marketing and communications efforts to ensure fundraising goals are realized. The team is driven by a deep understanding of audience behaviors and motivations — designing digital experiences, outreach campaigns, and acquisition strategies to meet their needs.


National Geographic Society’s Design Director will develop and deliver best in class, multi-platform marketing creative to support audience acquisition, engagement and retention across channels for the Society. The Design Director will bring strong creative and art direction experience, while also being a leader in data-driven decision-making. The Director will effectively collaborate with the broader NGS Creative and UX/UI teams, to ensure that all designs align with the brand standards and meet usability and accessibility standards. The Design Director will directly manage the Designer, Campaigns and Marketing.




Creative Concept Development and Art Direction (50%)

  • Work cross-departmentally and cross-functionally to establish visual languages, creative concepts, digital experiences and collateral that will effectively communicate with target audiences and meet growth and engagement goals.
  • Provide art direction, concept development, and technical design standards for digital projects and campaigns. Oversee UX, UI and print design with a cross-platform and multi-disciplinary approach.
  • Lead the creation of marketing materials from concept to completion, collaborating with creative staff and freelance designers to elevate quality and effectiveness of marketing collateral for NGS business units including Advancement, Education, and other programs as needed.
  • Manage and oversee the work of the Designer, Campaigns and Marketing, along with the work of any contractors, agencies, and vendors.
  • Ensure the consistent use of NGS style guides and brand standards in deliverables and products.
  • Present ideas, concepts, and creative vision confidently and clearly to stakeholders.

Process and Project Management (30%)

  • Manage and prioritize design deliverables and daily efforts of the team in accordance with campaign and project timelines and budgets.
  • Establish, maintain, and improve processes and frameworks to support creative intake, planning, delivery, and review workflows.
  • Maintain and share style guides, design systems, and templates.

Collaboration and Optimization (20%)

  • Work with campaign and marketing managers to leverage audience data and campaign performance metrics to optimize designs in real time and draw meaningful learnings that can be applied to future work.
  • Stay educated and informed on current trends and best practices in marketing, donor communications, and design.
  • Work in a highly collaborative fashion with other NGS Creative colleagues, sharing ideas, best practices, and ensuring that all designs align with the brand standards and meet usability and accessibility standards.
  • Conduct regular internal design reviews
  • Work alongside the product UX/UI team to optimize shared design systems, ensure UI and brand consistency, and suggest best practices and data-driven improvements to enhance experiences across the customer journey.

Minimum Education Required

Bachelor’s degree in a related field (Communications, Marketing, Business, etc.)


Requirements and Experience

  • Minimum 10 years of experience concepting and directing the execution of multi-platform design projects at an in-house marketing team, or creative agency.
  • Previous experience in a non-profit and/or fundraising environment strongly preferred.
  • Experience working across various mediums with an emphasis on digital.
  • Experience managing end-to-end campaign design processes and deliverables in the fundraising and advancement space, with a keen understanding of digital donor engagement.
  • Proficiency or experience in Adobe Creative Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and other creative/marketing tools as well as project management tools like Wrike.
  • Understanding of data analysis as it relates to design strategy; being able to look at numbers and data around creative deliverables and knowing when to shift gears to ensure greater effectiveness of CTA and user engagement.
  • A passion for the Society’s mission to use science, exploration, education, and storytelling to illuminate and protect the planet.
  • An entrepreneurial spirit and desire to be part of a team embarking on a new journey.
  • Humility, creativity, and leadership with the ability to work cohesively and collaboratively across teams and functions.

1 direct report, contractors


Job Designation

Hybrid - This position has been designated Hybrid, meaning your position will be performed from NGS Base Camp three fixed days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) and can be performed remotely for two fixed days a week (Monday and Friday). The salary range for this position begins at $120,000.


To Apply:

Jenn Saldarelli, Vice President at Chaloner is leading the search.  Please apply at


We encourage you to apply even if your experience is not a 100% match with the position. We are looking for someone with relevant skills and experience, not a checklist that exactly matches the job description. We want to help you grow and in return, you help us grow into a stronger, more inclusive organization.

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