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Design Director, National Geographic

Apply NowApply Later Job ID 10049614 Location Washington, DC, United States Business Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution Date posted May 11, 2023

Job Summary:

Department Overview:

National Geographic Media is responsible for publishing National Geographic's world-renowned content, featuring breathtaking photography and an iconic magazine, as well as maintaining an exceptional social media presence. Our objective is to captivate audiences through incredible storytelling and establish a long-lasting relationship with Nat Geo's followers. This team covers all aspects of the consumer journey, including print, digital, social, and audio content creation, generating awareness through social media and newsletters, acquisition and retention marketing, print operations, international licensing, and digital platforms. Nat Geo Media aspires to be the largest publisher for anyone interested in exploring the world and learning how to care for it.

NG Media’s Editorial team produces National Geographic's content across digital, mobile, and audio platforms, as well as five print products: National Geographic magazine, National Geographic History, National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Little Kids, and Special Interest Publications. Within this team, the Creative department is the epicenter of excellence for all things visual. This group of designers is responsible for the design of our print magazines and digital experiences, including the use of graphics and maps to convey our stories. We conceptualize and build interactive ways for users to engage with our content. The team establishes and implements the brand’s visual identity across all touchpoints, ensuring that excellence and innovation are central to our execution.

Job Summary:

As the Design Director for National Geographic Magazine, you will be responsible for managing a 10-person design group that collaborates with world-class designers, illustrators, graphics specialists, developers, cartographers, and typographers. Your team will work closely with colleagues commissioning Nat Geo's award-winning photography and video content to create engaging and immersive experiences for our readers and users. The Design Director is passionate about cultivating extraordinary stories and will concept editorial features and content packages, commission and edit work by both internal and external contributors, help build an extensive editorial calendar, and guide the integrated storytelling process while bringing a forward-thinking editorial sensibility to our team.

One of your primary duties will be to review and adjust all designs, information graphics, maps, and data visualizations created by staff and freelance graphic editors to ensure they meet strict technical printing and web publishing standards by set deadlines. Additionally, you will guide the design group in converting design assets to various sizes and formats required by other internal and external teams, such as foreign partner editions, Apple news, video, social media, books, and image collections. You will also train new members of the group in production standards and processes and manage out-of-office freelance production help.

This role offers a unique opportunity to join National Geographic at a pivotal moment as we build on our 134-year legacy and drive new approaches to storytelling. You will be a key member of the creative team and a strong advocate for a modern, forward-looking approach to how National Geographic Magazine presents itself in all formats. Reporting to the Creative Director, you will have the chance to shape the future of one of the world's most iconic publications.

Responsibilities and Duties of the Role:

  • Manage visual designers and developers in the creation of magazine layouts and immersive digital experiences that leverage a range of visual assets to tell compelling stories

  • Collaborate with graphics specialists in the creation of static and interactive infographics that translate information into visual experiences

  • Collaborate with cartographers in the creation of static and interactive maps that advance our storytelling

  • Collaborate with in-house artists in the creation of original art that advances our storytelling, and guide team in the selection and commissioning of illustrators

  • Partner with photo editors, photographers, video producers and editors, and AR/VR specialists to help shape asset creation for our print, digital, and social experiences and ensure that those assets are in line with the brand’s visual identity

  • Partner with text editors to help shape story concepts and assignments, keeping in mind the visual requirements for engaging and immersive print and digital experiences

  • Manage the production of each print edition, from covers to story mix to photo selection, layouts, and typography to color correction, post-production, and press guidance—and manage the translation of all print content into digital versions/experiences

Basic Qualifications:

  • Minimum of 8 years of experience using design to develop engaging content-based experiences across print and digital media for consumer audiences, in leadership roles as a design director or senior designer managing visual design teams.

  • Hands-on experience designing for print publications, inclusive of layout design, typography, photo selection and usage, illustration, and production and post-production, with a strong preference for background in consumer magazine titles with a strong photographic bent

  • Experience guiding the visual direction of digital content experiences, inclusive of digital templates, UX design, and the use of photography, video, audio, and interactive graphics

  • Experience creating and/or directing the creation of infographics and/or maps is strongly preferred

  • Experience providing art direction for video, including social video (e.g., Instagram Reels, TikTok) strongly preferred

  • Experience collaborating with and commissioning work from freelance designers, typographers, illustrators, artists, photographers, videographers

  • Fluency in the Adobe Creative suite, including InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator

  • An eye for visual presentation that transcends the norm and a desire to innovate

  • Collaborative spirit and an ability to work well in a matrixed environment with a variety of stakeholders

  • Ability to work efficiently within operational considerations (timing, budgets, etc.), prioritizing effort level and tasks across multiple projects, and managing teams to deliver excellence within specific requirements

  • Interest in National Geographic’s subject areas and its mission

Required Education:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent



About The Walt Disney Company:

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with the following business segments: Disney Entertainment, ESPN, Disney Parks, and Experiences and Products. From humble beginnings as a cartoon studio in the 1920s to its preeminent name in the entertainment industry today, Disney proudly continues its legacy of creating world-class stories and experiences for every member of the family. Disney’s stories, characters and experiences reach consumers and guests from every corner of the globe. With operations in more than 40 countries, our employees and cast members work together to create entertainment experiences that are both universally and locally cherished.

This position is with National Geographic Partners PAY SVC, which is part of a business we call Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

National Geographic Partners PAY SVC is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or protected veteran status. Disney fosters a business culture where ideas and decisions from all people help us grow, innovate, create the best stories and be relevant in a rapidly changing world.

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