The uncommon agency for the common good

Senior Art Director (San Diego Office)

Who You Are

An experienced and dynamic creative talent who elevates the people around you, sets a high bar for quality and innovation, and delivers compelling concepts and executions that are on strategy. 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 can work across traditional and digital media with outputs rooted in strong insights for various audiences. You give well thought out and polished presentations that deliver key insights and help generate 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 Senior Art Director is responsible for contributing to the development of outstanding creative work that enhances the agency’s reputation for creative excellence. They spearhead new creative and strategic thinking to help conceptualize creative work; help drive the direction, style, and approach of the Creative Services team; ensure that creative deliverables are on strategy to support client and campaign goals; mentor, guide, and support team members; and contribute to 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.
  • Produce and guide creative concepts that tie back to the larger goals of the campaign and the client and ensure that creative deliverables are on-brief and rooted in strong insights for various markets and communities
  • Participate actively to develop and refine creative deliverables
  • Provide copywriting and design deliverables that showcase high creative quality and technical accuracy; engage and collaborate with freelance copywriters when needed
  • Provide direction and feedback to support Creative team members; 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
  • Serve as an informative, knowledgeable, and confident agency representative when client facing; give well thought out and polished presentations meant to persuade that hit on key client insights and highlight the value that Civilian brings to the project
  • 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.

Creative Leadership and Management (20%)

  • Assist in maintaining efficient studio operations and safeguard standards of quality, service, and productivity
  • Uphold best practices in technical specifications and clean, strategic design, with expectations above industry standard
  • Proactively monitor evolving industry trends
  • Enhance art department and agency reputation by accepting ownership for accomplishing new and different requests
  • Supervise graphic designers in executing layout designs for artwork and copy
  • Assist in the coordination and management of creative production
  • Meet art department cost standards by monitoring expenses and implementing cost-saving actions
  • Assist in resource and personnel management, including researching and vetting designers and vendors as they arise
  • Assist in team leadership; mentor, guide, and provide support for all members of the design team

Business Impact (10%):

  • Assist in oversight of deliverables, timelines, and budgets.
  • Evaluate department service offerings and either present ways to elevate or evolve to strengthen Civilian offerings and output.
  • Participate as requested or required in business development efforts, including content strategy and creative execution; and attending and/or presenting as part of new business pitches.


  • 8+ years of senior-level experience as a graphic designer or art director; significant agency experience preferred
  • Significant 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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