Applicants will not be considered without a portfolio. Please provide a portfolio by PDF or via a link to your website.

At Burness, we work alongside nonprofits, leaders and advocates to improve lives, addressing critical issues in health, science, and public policy in the US and abroad. We are looking for a Design Director who carries the same passion for our issues and our craft to lead our design practice. 

The Design Director is highly engaged with clients directly and is a persuasive, effective and compelling communicator.

The Design Director manages and mentors a team of designers, oversees and contributes to the creative output of the design team, and ensures we are meeting and exceeding our clients’ goals and expectations for their visual communications. This person can deftly switch between strategic thinking, project management, and creative execution on a moment’s notice. The Design Director provides creative direction for campaigns, websites, branding and other communications projects, and takes on high-level design projects either as the lead designer or in an advisory role with design support. This person is also a team player, rolling up their sleeves and maintaining a full plate of both high-level and hands-on work. 


  • Lead, mentor and coach a team of designers at varying levels of experience
  • Present to and work directly with clients, either solo or within a larger project team 
  • Translate research, data or policy actions into compelling visual products that resonate with audiences
  • Collaborate across firm with directors, project managers, writers and other communications staff to manage and complete design assignments and projects
  • Assign design projects to staff, balancing project needs, staff workloads and specialty skills and 
  • Provide strategic advice and creative direction on high-level projects
  • Execute design projects from start to finish
  • Develop and manage budgets and timelines and use project management software to assign, track and manage all projects
  • Hire and manage freelance designers, illustrators, and other contractors 
  • Contribute to and develop new business proposals and presentations

Required Skills and Experience

  • 10+ years in the creative industry, preferably in an agency/studio/consulting environment
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in graphic design or related field  
  • Mastery of design across disciplines: print, digital, UI, motion, brand identity, data visualization
  • Expert level understanding of visual design principles
  • Industry standard software proficiency: Adobe Creative Cloud (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, XD, After Effects), Figma or other interface design software
  • Experience managing designers, preferably leading a team  
  • Expert level project management abilities and organizational skills
  • Skilled multi-tasker comfortable with a high-paced firm

 About Burness

The mission of our company is to help extraordinary people tell their stories and share their research for the good of the world. We are a team of communications experts — designers, artists, strategists, writers, editors, artists, trainers, storytellers and policy experts— who support nonprofits and foundations in the United States and all over the globe. Since 1986, we have worked with more than 700 organizations to advance social change on issues ranging from vaccines and agriculture development to childhood obesity, healthy communities, education and health care and dental care access. We do this by working hand in hand with our partners to promote ideas that confront poverty, promote health and protect our planet.

Please send resumes/portfolios to