Rhode Island School of Design

Creative Director

Providence, Rhode Island

Position Description

Executive Summary

RISD seeks an innovative, highly-collaborative Creative Director to develop and champion the college’s visual identity and lead a cross-disciplinary team of nine in producing outstanding creative work. Strong expertise is needed in bringing design, editorial content and imagery together to create distinctive brand experiences that make a real impact on diverse audiences (including prospective and current students and their parents, faculty, alumni, donors, industry leaders, and the general public) across traditional and emerging media channels.

Internationally recognized for its immersive model of art and design education, RISD emphasizes conceptually driven studio-based learning and robust liberal arts studies. It upholds the belief that art and design are essential to human progress, well-being and the innovation needed to transform life in the 21st century and is committed to playing a key role in promoting an inclusive, forward-thinking society. As an active and engaged member of the RISD community, the Creative Director will champion this spirit of creative experimentation and progressive thinking to audiences around the globe. The position offers an exciting opportunity for a dynamic creative professional to lead the visual expression of a vibrant community of thinkers and makers.

Reporting to the Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, who leads RISD’s Media Group, the Creative Director will bring both strategic vision and inventive problem solving to leading the creative process from concept to completion. With input from RISD’s President, academic leaders and other community stakeholders, the Creative Director will lead a cross-disciplinary team with expertise in writing, design and photography in developing forward-thinking creative strategies and communications solutions that advance institutional priorities. This includes elevating key initiatives with the highest impact on the RISD brand, student and faculty recruitment, fundraising and other institutional goals.

As RISD evolves, its Media Group is thinking broadly about how it can best tell the college’s stories in new, engaging ways. While historically the group has been focused on awareness and promotions, there is a strong desire to create more dynamic engagement throughout the RISD community, especially via new technology and digital media platforms, while retaining the authenticity of materials-based experiential practice for which RISD is known. The Creative Director will serve as a strategic leader in this work, understanding how audiences are embracing new media and how different key audiences—from new generations of students and alumni to faculty and industry leaders—“encounter” the RISD brand.

An initial priority for the Creative Director will be leading the creation and evolution of RISD brand guidelines to help deliver more intentional, consistent and distinctive experiences. The Creative Director will also work to strengthen the team’s workflow to better balance emerging projects and opportunities with cyclical responsibilities.

The ideal candidate is expected to have at least seven years of experience and a proven record of outstanding design practice. Previous experience working in a complex organization is highly desired, as is the maturity and acumen to successfully navigate and collaborate within such environments. While direct experience working in higher education, museums or arts institutions is not required, a familiarity with and appreciation for RISD’s mission and ethos will be essential for success. Outstanding organizational and interpersonal skills are necessary, as are a belief in the value of teamwork, initiative and curiosity. A sophisticated visual sensibility as well as verbal and written communication skills are required and the ability to interact with all types of individuals is essential. A bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred.
Position Description

Application Form

Search Team

Tracy Welsh  

Connor Daley  

Viviana Aluia  

Maeve Clifford