The uncommon agency for the common good

Creative Director (San Diego Office)

Who You Are

A creative visionary and leader who elevates the people around you, takes creative risks and pushes the boundaries, and delivers brilliant and inspiring creative concepts and pitches. You are a critical and strategic conceptual thinker; you have exceptional graphic design skills of your own (maybe even award-winning), and you know how to write scripts and initial headline copy, too. You have a deep understanding of brand development along with both traditional and digital advertising. Your superb presentation skills showcase your talent for bringing people along in your storytelling and generating consensus. You are always ready to be in the trenches with your team–rolling up your sleeves, getting dirty, and building something important together.

Who We Are

Civilian is a different kind of marketing communications agency. From our headquarters in San Diego to our offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and, now, DC, we are dedicated to improving quality of life for our employees, clients, and the world. We are a purpose-driven certified B Corporation focused on tackling challenging issues, creating positive change, and strengthening communities. We do this by working with nonprofits, government agencies, and purpose-driven organizations to promote environmental sustainability, advance public health, and support economic development.  

We are a dedicated group of innovators and problem solvers who come to work every day grateful for the opportunity to make a difference. We support our employees’ professional and personal development with a rich set of benefits, humane working hours, and a culture that rewards embracing challenges and having a great time doing it. The success of our approach shows in our average employee tenure of nearly five years (vs. the industry average of 2.5) and in the number of Civilians that return. We offer a truly unique balance of professionalism and heart—and an office full of free snacks, a dog or two, and the occasional afternoon happy hour.

The Job

The Creative Director is responsible for developing and producing outstanding creative work that enhances the agency’s reputation for creative excellence. They provide the voice and visual direction for all creative work; lead the development of the agency’s creative product from concept to completion to execute campaigns that are on strategy, on budget, and on schedule; ensure that target audiences, including underserved and multicultural audiences, are strategically and appropriately addressed; and foster a highly effective, collaborative, and supportive work environment for the Creative Services team to successfully deliver high-quality creative deliverables.



Day-to-Day Activities:

Creative Concepting and Execution (70%):

  • Participate in campaign development planning sessions to help inform the approach to any significant project for clients; offer creative insights, conceptual approaches, and/or design solutions
  • Conceive and execute campaign concepts that tie back to the larger goals of the campaign and the client; ensure that creative deliverables are on-brief, within budget and production feasibility, can work across multiple media, and are rooted in strong insights for specific target markets and communities, including underserved and multicultural
  • Establish and implement a brand tone/voice and associated guidelines across a campaign
  • Participate actively to develop and refine creative deliverables
  • Serve as writing lead and/or engage and collaborate with freelance copywriters when needed; ensure that all short-form, long-form, and creative copy is high quality and technically accurate
  • Lead, mentor, and support creative personnel; provide direction and feedback; inspire team members to produce great work; jump in on execution whenever beneficial or needed; facilitate a supportive and collaborative team culture
  • Collaborate with Account Services or other departments to create, revise, or deliver on scope of work
  • Collaborate with Media and Digital Services to develop and implement planned tactics and creative deliverables; supervise the development and delivery of digital and traditional print campaign assets.
  • Ensure that work is on strategy, on time, and on budget; provide a quality control function for all creative work
  • Serve as the client’s point of contact for all creative work; deliver thoughtful and persuasive presentations that explain campaign strategies and solutions, offer key insights, present campaign concepts, and highlight the value that Civilian brings to the project.
  • Contribute wherever possible to agency branding and marketing efforts that enhance the agency’s reputation
  • Listen, easily receive feedback from team members and/or clients, and respond productively and swiftly to come up with copy and design solutions.
  • Proactively monitor evolving industry trends.
  • Be a positive and collaborative team player.

Department Management and Support (20%)

  • Lead by example. Model exceptional Creative Services practices that adhere to agency processes and protocols: prepared and pro-active; thorough, accurate, and timely; always beginning with the end in mind; curious and eager to learn and continuously improve; welcoming of multiple, diverse, and spirited points of view to strengthen and elevate our work; and dedicated to achieving results the client and agency will be proud of.
  • Effectively assign, delegate and monitor Creative Services work; outline expectations of and communicate effectively with Creative Services staff; establish rapport and trust, recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of individual staff members; respond to pressures of work volume and time requirements in a way that is consistent, appropriate and positive for both you and the agency long-term.
  • Manage creative production, development, and approvals; Oversee production of broadcast deliverables, including development of approved storyboards, production of rough cut, concept through final deliverables.
  • Maintain efficient studio operations and safeguard standards of quality, service, and productivity.
  • Help to develop and negotiate staffing plans based on scope of work
  • Recruit and manage creative talent, including staff, freelancers, and vendors
  • Uphold best practices in technical specifications and clean, strategic design, with expectations above industry standard.
  • Develop direct reports through regular meetings and performance reviews. Evaluate opportunities for professional development, including conceptual and creative thinking and output and casual and formal presentation skills.
  • Serve as the ambassador of Creative Services morale. Create a positive, productive, respectful, and supportive working environment to serve staff members, clients, and the agency. Encourage and demonstrate team and agency unity.
  • Partner with agency leaders (e.g., Account Services, Digital, Media, Operations) to ensure an integrated approach, establish efficiencies and process best practices for Civilian, and develop conflict solutions.

Leadership and Business Impact (10%)

  • Communicate effectively and proactively with other department heads to ensure an integrated approach, address any performance issues, and identify opportunities for improvement
  • Ensure that all department members are being utilized at approximately 85%; raise the flag (i.e., report to operations and propose solutions) when utilization is exceeding or falling short of this
  • Oversee profitability, deliverables, timelines, and budgets
  • Evaluate department service offerings and either present ways to elevate or evolve for betterment of Civilian output
  • Participate as requested or required in business development efforts, including developing spec creative, work plans, and budgets; and attending and/or presenting as part of new business pitches


  • Must be an industry leader with visible profile and 12+ years of experience within an advertising agency setting.
  • 5-7 years’ experience working with agency creative teams; fluent in interdepartmental agency culture
  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Portfolio of relevant client creative work
  • Management experience preferred
  • High proficiency in Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe XD
  • Ability to maintain a high standard of design and productivity in a fast-paced work environment
  • Knowledge of video broadcast production is a big plus
  • Excellent writing skills in a broad range of styles
  • Superb communication and presentation skills, with the ability to relate to, persuade, and build consensus with clients, while educating them on creative trends and insights
  • Good at staying organized and working against timelines to meet deadlines
  • Proven ability to come up with strong, creative ideas and copy across a variety of media
  • Proven ability to quickly identify problems and solve them
  • Ability to brainstorm solo or in groups and develop big ideas from beginning to end
  • Experience copywriting for the full range of paid, earned, and owned media, including video and radio scripts, out of home, digital and social media, and websites
  • Experience in social and digital campaigns/engagement tactics
  • Intimate familiarity with how brands engage in today’s connected universe
  • Highly attentive to detail with an ability to proof and edit their own work
  • Volunteerism, environmental awareness, diversity and inclusion awareness are all highly preferred candidate traits


San Diego, CA


Full-time with flexible hybrid in-office/virtual schedule plus full benefits

Let’s Get to Know Each Other

Are you the one? Are we the one? If this sounds like a fit, let’s talk more. Please email to tell us why we absolutely, positively need you on our team. Don’t forget to attach your resume. And check out and our Glassdoor reviews for more information on how talented, smart, and delightful we are.

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