Design Manager

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA), the private fundraising and alumni relations organization for the UW-Madison, is recruiting for a creative professional to join the marketing team. The Design Manager is responsible for producing innovative solutions to marketing problems that combine both written and visual elements; supervising and managing design staff engaged in all aspects of print and digital as related to visual identity; leading cross-functional teams through the creative process to meet creative brief objectives while demonstrating a high level of creativity, visual sensibility, attention to detail and adherence to brand standards.

Essential Functions

Conceive, design, and create artistic, graphic design, campaign and other visual elements for application in touch points across multiple platforms

  • Design and produce original graphic solutions to meet marketing objectives in support of strategic communication priorities.
  • Produce visual touch points for print, digital and event graphics with an emphasis on publication design, direct mail and email marketing.
  • Exhibit a high level of creativity and attention to detail.
  • Implement pre-press process for production of digital files.
  • Plan and direct photo shoots to support creative and campaign requirements,
  • Work collaboratively with production team and vendors to successfully develop and produce creative materials.

Concept development and ability to lead cross-functional teams through the creative process

  • Employ strategic thinking and key points of the creative brief to develop concepts and present original ideas through graphic solutions.
  • Research appropriate design ideas to develop the best approach and concepts for style, technique and production methods for the project.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams from the ideation phase through production.
  • Deliver against timelines and milestones, identify potential delays and proactively find solutions.

Brand management

  • Conceive and execute consistently branded campaigns across multiple channels of distribution.
  • Inform and achieve consistent brand presentation of the WAA, UWF, UW and WFAA graphic and visual identity standards to reinforce and strengthen the brand.
  • Coach design staff in proper use and understanding of visual identity; ensure proper usage of logos and corporate colors across platforms and touch points.

Manage and lead creative team members

  • Assign design work to appropriate team members.
  • Provide art direction and timely feedback on work performance and coach on improvement opportunities.
  • Identify career path and growth opportunities for team members.
  • Hold team accountable for performance expectations.
  • Foster a positive work environment, characterized by open communication, collegiality, support, accountability and motivation to optimize staff performance, satisfaction / morale and retention.
  • Recruit, interview and select highly talented and qualified staff for open positions.

Support a service-oriented atmosphere in accordance with WFAA mission, values and philosophy

  • Strategic beliefs
    • The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a transforming impact on students, alumni, and society;
    • Authentic, lifelong relationships and engagement with alumni, donors and friends are fundamental to sustaining the reputation and continued success of the University;
    • Philanthropy has an essential and growing importance on the future progress of UW-Madison;
    • The highest level of stewardship and fiduciary responsibility in financial, investment, data and gift administration is vital to maintaining trust with our stakeholders;
    • Diverse views, experiences and perspectives strengthen WFAA and the university community.
  • Organizational values
    • We are serious about delivering results;
    • We work together and with our campus partners as a team;
    • We are committed to alumni, donors, volunteers and others;
    • We are open-minded;
    • We create a positive work environment.


  • Bachelor’s degree required in art, fine arts, graphic design or related field.
  • A minimum of six (6) years professional design experience in an in-house, marketing and/or agency environment required. Previous management experience or leadership role preferred.
  • Proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat) and Microsoft Office. Fireworks, HTML and CSS experience appreciated.
  • Excellent sensibility for design and typography.
  • Demonstrated creativity, attention to detail and problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to organize, multitask and meet very distinct deadlines while expressing a high degree of creativity.
  • Knowledge of and passion for UW-Madison and higher education; understanding of key issues affecting UW-Madison.
  • Ability to take initiative and work independently.
  • Knowledge of print and digital marketing techniques, tools, and touch points; working knowledge of web design and multimedia software.
  • Working knowledge of project management and production processes.
  • High level of proficiency in graphic design tools and software.
  • Demonstrated creativity and organizational skills.
  • Strong evidence of professional client relations or client services experience; demonstrated excellence in interpersonal skills with an ability to establish and maintain positive working relationships with internal and external constituents.
  • Strong communication skills and ability to articulate visual concepts.

Physical and Cognitive Demands:

  • Combination of sitting, standing, walking, frequent hand/wrist repetitions and frequent fine motor movements.
  • High written and oral language skills; intermediate mathematical skills; high reasoning ability; high-paced, multi-tasking environment.

This is an exempt, full time, supervisory position reporting to the Senior Managing Director, Creative. We offer a competitive salary and an excellent benefit program.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume and portfolio web link or PDF not to exceed 5 MB in a single attachment

Apply Now

Please contact Human Resources if you have any questions at Application deadline is November 13.