Art Director

January 6, 2022

Website pollenmidwest Pollen Midwest

Working at Pollen

Our staff and board represent lots of different identities across race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and we deeply value the intersection of these identities in our team culture. We value lived-experience and commitment to racial equity in all of our work through:

Connection: Connection to yourself, to each other, our community, and our mission.

Kindness: We have cultivated an intentional culture of grace between our staff, vendors, freelancers, clients, board members and partners.

Empathy: People, and each of our quirky, messy lives take precedence over work.

Adaptability: We are a thriving organization that continues to grow and evolve.

Openness: We are curious and love to learn from others and aren’t afraid to change our minds.

Balance: We cannot do our best work when we are tired, stressed, or overworked. We understand and promote taking time away to rest and recharge.

Rest: We prioritize and promote taking time away to rest and to enjoy a life beyond work at Pollen.

Why this position matters
A different approach to design is required to decenter harmful, oppressive systems of power. At Pollen, our creative team is tasked to not only imagine a better future, but to help other people see what it looks like. We challenge conventional ideas about designing for justice. We believe that high-end photography, illustration and design — often reserved for celebrities and big brands — should be applied to the nonprofit sector, a community of changemakers who are making the world better. Our visual storytelling is rooted in understanding the end goal: making people feel something that moves them into action to get us closer to the world we want.

What you’re great at
Pairing Art & Story for Impact: You know how to tell a visual story that supports the written word and makes sense with the call to action. We are looking for someone who knows how to convey the appropriate tone and emotion for the stories we share that lead people to collective action through a sense of empowerment and hope.

Leadership & Collaboration: You need to be a good leader, have fine-tuned analytical skills, and be open to other people’s opinions and concepts. This job title involves managing freelance talent; success can hinge on your ability to adapt to your team’s unique needs as individuals.

Design Aesthetic: You are a maximalist who is not afraid of neon pink, layers, and patterns worthy of the stories we tell. You push scale in typography in bold unexpected layouts, you design text to be just as much of a design element as illustration and photography. You stay up with design trends but have your own style. You can push people out of their comfort zone with their brand standards in a way that still feels authentic to who they are.

A Collaborative Heart: Each project we work with at Pollen is made up of a different creative team. In this role, it will be your responsibility to hire freelancers for illustration commissions, photoshoots, video and animation. We take that power seriously at Pollen, regularly educating ourselves in harmful hiring practices, researching online to connect with designers, illustrators and photographers, and being active community members to ensure we’re constantly making new connections with new artists and not just hiring within our existing networks and circles.

What you’ll be doing
You’ll design a project from start to finish in collaboration with freelance creatives that lead their own individual portion (illustration, photography, video, animation, etc..). You’ll collaborate with the Design Director to engage with Pollen freelancers—a huge part of our work and community that we celebrate before, during, and after each project. Full-time designers on our team work on everything: from event design to client projects to newsletters, Pollen’s social media and our editorial feature stories. It will be your job to have a full picture of how all of our work fits together and you’ll get to try your hands at it all.

Art Direction and Design: Our design leads execute the work from start to finish. You’ll hire freelancers for illustration commissions and photography and once that work is complete, you’ll be the one to design it. We are the ones who put it all together, we are the ones who put it across platforms, and we are the ones who get it ready to print or publish depending on the medium.

Design Budget and Timeline: You’ll collaborate with the Design Director and Project Manager to determine pricing for art commissions and work with your freelance design team to determine due dates for your projects.

Managing Freelance Talent: Our design leads are responsible for recruiting, maintaining relationships with, and being the direct contact for our freelancers, supporting them throughout the project, and making sure the artists get paid in a timely manner when the work is complete.

Pollen Studio: Our social enterprise, Pollen Studio, brings its expertise for narrative storytelling and engagement-centered events to other mission-driven organizations. Our work spans across multiple platforms so you’ll manage communications with web developers, printers and other vendors. Working backwards from your project budgets and scope of work, you’ll determine what we create for print and digital media.

Vendor Relationships: Printers, web developers, fabricators, and many other artists are a huge part of our work. You’ll play a role in cultivating relationships with these local creatives. During our ideation process, we get to determine who, how, and what for our projects. Pricing and estimates are developed in collaboration with these creatives; we value their expertise and view them as a brainstorming partner—not just someone we bring in at the end, but essential members of our team.

Editorial Feature Stories: Our feature stories are the heart of our editorial voice at Pollen. We’re on a mission to unlock the nitty gritty, heart-wrenching, inspiring and funny stories in our community. We hope to create a web of stories that, when looked at as a whole, create a map of our little midwestern world, and a key to understanding the wider world around us. When one of these stories lands across your desk, it’s your job to determine which freelancers make the most sense for the theme and you’ll get to direct the entire thing from your imagination to publishing day with no brand standards. Peak at our story page to see the possibilities.

Fundraising Campaigns: During our seasons of fundraising, it is the designers at Pollen who are responsible for designing the campaigns. When working on fundraisers, you’ll collaborate with our Engagement & Advancement Director to design a multi-platform campaign aimed at our individual donors to let them know why their support is crucial to our work and thank them for all that they do as Pollenites.

Pollen Events: Pollen is known for human connection. Our immersive and experiential events bring people together and connect people to important issues. The design—no matter the format—is created to be memorable, informative, and actionable. When a Pollen event comes across your desk, it will be your role to conceptualize and execute the branding and design.

Pollen Design: Pollen’s internal design needs span across programs from anything to creating Pollen Studio case studies to day-to-day social media content and general upkeep of our online presence across web, social, and bi-weekly newsletters. As Art Director, you’ll also play a part in building out structure and process for the design department as we continue to add creatives to the team.

Compensation & Benefits Details
Salary: $65,000 / year
Health stipend: $250/month
Generous PTO: Starts with 4 weeks a year
Paid Holidays: 8 paid holidays, 4 paid floating holidays
Paid Closures: Pollen closes the first two weeks of July every year and the last week of December
Summer Fridays: from Memorial Day—Labor Day we log off after 12pm on Fridays
Work Flexibility: Flexible working hours and you can work from home, etc.

How To Apply
By Monday, January 31, email with:

Cover Letter: 2-3 paragraphs in the email (not attached, but written in the body of the email) telling us why you’re interested in this position and why you want to be a part of the Pollen team. Give us a sense for the level of complexity, quantity, and creativity of the past projects you’ve managed. We expect the length of the email to be no longer than 25 sentences. You will not receive more or less consideration because of a shorter or longer email. Please DO NOT send us a separate attached cover letter.

Resume: a portfolio link or PDF attachment that lets us see examples of your work. An attachment (as a .doc, .docx or .PDF) or link to your LinkedIn profile (either is fine). All experience across any industry could be relevant—in short, there’s no singular experience required for this position.

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