Art Director

Art Director

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Employers By State in 2021.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Posted Job Title
Art Director

Job Profile Title
Communications Specialist Senior

Job Description Summary
The Art Director provides strategic leadership and management of branding and design for Development and Alumni Relations, Marketing and Communications (DARMAX). This includes directing design for publications, reports and proposals, event invitations and programs, and digital assets for e-newsletters, email templates, and websites. The Art Director is also responsible for developing brand standards including logo design for fundraising campaigns and ensuring brand consistency across the University that is also in compliance with University guidelines. This integral role works collaboratively with all of Penn's 12 schools, six centers and other central development departments to provide a range of design services. Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships across function and level are a must.

Job Description

The Art Director conceptualizes projects from initiation to delivery, synthesizing complex ideas and goals to create exceptional designed products to meet the needs of diverse audiences. This position manages one graphic designer and is responsible to manage a high volume of assignments, develop production schedules, and ensure deadlines are met. This role also manages vendor relationships and ensures products are produced with high quality and on time. The Art Director also oversees the asset management platform (Widen), serving as lead administrator in managing governance, access, and functionality. The successful candidate will have a high level of technical expertise, including graphic design skills. This position also requires an understanding of strategic art direction for photography in support of DAR marketing and communications goals.

The Art Director reports to the Managing Director, DAR Marketing and Communications, and serves as a senior member on the team of 10+. An understanding of higher education and development and alumni relations is preferred.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Develop and manage design requests for central DAR departments and Penn's schools and centers, overseeing design production from idea through to completion, adhering to deadlines, for a variety of assignments such as case statements, proposals, invitations, reports, and event programs. (30%)
  • Responsible for art direction for highly visible central DAR print publications for alumni, donor, and parent audiences, working closely with DAR leadership and the strategic writing team to develop visual content, incorporating photography, graphics and/or illustrations to create strategically impactful designs; responsible to manage print production, mailings, and budgets with vendors. (25%)
  • Conceptualizes and develops digital assets for websites, email templates and e-newsletters, online publications, motion graphics and other digital products working in partnership with the Digital Communications team. (10%)
  • Oversees DAR's digital assessment management platform (Widen): responsible for managing governance structure and access, and overseeing management of content for photography and video assets. (10%)
  • Manages an assistant director of communications with a primary focus on graphic design. (10%)
  • Develops strategic branding guidelines for central DAR brand, capital campaigns, and program initiatives in compliance with University brand standards; manages the application of branding across the University, providing direction to colleagues in all DAR units to ensure brand consistency. (5%)
  • Strategic art direction for photography shoots for high level publications, proposals, the central DAR website, among other DAR materials. (5%)
  • Other duties as assigned (5%)

Managerial Duties

Lead and direct a staff to achieve optimum results by:

  • Communicating financial and key performance indicators and results to staff members
  • Establishing priorities and goals for all staff.
  • Managing staffing needs and identifying areas for organizational development updates or changes
  • Guiding the talent identification and professional development needs, processes and outcomes within the entire unit in line with the University's diversity and inclusion priorities
  • Setting clear performance expectations and holding staff accountable for outcomes through frequent feedback and coaching
  • Ensuring open communications among team members, engaging in team building efforts and holding regular staff meetings that embrace and support the group's diversity
  • Inspiring and motivating staff to achieve optimum results


  • BA/BS; 7 plus years of graphic design experience or equivalent combination of experience and education required.
  • Expert understanding of branding and strategic marketing practices.
  • Experience designing for UX.
  • An expert understanding of advanced graphic arts and print production.
  • Extensive experience working in CMS environments, and thorough understanding of the capacities of Digital Asset Management Systems.
  • Must have at least 7 years of experience with Adobe Creative Cloud applications, such as InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Premiere, Photoshop, After Effects, etc.
  • Strong ability to lead and manage a high volume of projects, develop production schedules, and ensure deliverables meet deadlines.
  • Preferred knowledge of HTML, CSS, javascript, jQuery, responsive design, and/or similar emerging technologies.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with ability to build relationships and work collaboratively.
  • Ability and desire to supportively manage at least one direct report.
  • Strong vendor management and budget management experience.

**Please provide a resume and cover letter in order to be considered for this role. Please upload all documents in the “Resume/CV” section of the application prior to submitting.**

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
Development and Alumni Relations

Pay Range
$59,703.00 - $113,435.00

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits

  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family—whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement—and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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