Design Director

SGS International   •  

Toronto, ON

11 - 15 years

Posted 273 days ago

This job is no longer available.

Role Overview

The Design Director is responsible for building, leading, managing, and mentoring a team of Designers and Adaptive Designers. The Design Director is a strategic thinker and problem solver – turning insights into solutions which deliver against client objectives. A master of their craft – the Design Director elevates the quality of the solutions their team produces. The Design Director is responsible for the design and adaptive design process – from briefing through overseeing final product delivery. They are detail oriented – understanding and managing complex packaging design systems as they rollout across large scale adaptive design projects. A skilled communicator and presenter – they provide our clients and teams with senior level support and service. Working in conjunction with the Creative Director this role also has the day to day responsibility of creative quality assurance and sign off.

The Design Director acts as a coach to the Designers and Adaptive Designers on their team. They will champion and understand their team; leveraging their strengths and supporting their development. The Design Director is a mentor – providing guidance, and monitoring the progress of their team’s work across projects to ensure their success. The Design Director leads by example, acting as an ambassador and advocate for our culture, brand, and community.


The specific details of the role will vary, but common activities include:

  1. Creating a team spirit that extends beyond the department to unite and inspire the entire agency to care passionately about our clients and our work
  2. Identifying big picture opportunities and driving our client’s business forward
  3. Reviewing all briefs for accuracy and “readiness” – working with brief authors to raise brief writing quality where necessary
  4. Assisting Account and Project Management teams in establishing overall project timing and planning
  5. Managing, filtering, and working with scheduling department to assign design projects, and ensuring that jobs are appropriately staffed to deliver on the client’s brief
  6. Contributing to the development of processes and upholding them throughout briefing, design development, and production life cycles
  7. Championing design integrity and intent and maintaining it across design and adaptive projects
  8. Encouraging the team to take ownership of their projects and to personally strive to improve and enhance their work
  9. Fostering an environment where questioning is encouraged and every contribution is recognised
  10. Driving the team’s design and adaptive design exploration into high quality work that exceed client expectations
  11. Ensuring projects are accurate, consistent, and completed on time
  12. Making sure that design work is presented for maximum clarity and impact
  13. Working hands-on when necessary across projects
  14. Fostering a collaborative approach between Marks offices and other agencies within the SGSCo design pillar
  15. Supporting, guiding, leading, nurturing
  16. Preparing for and art directing photo shoots
  17. Seeking out and recommending relevant training for team members that supports the above objectives and the vision for the department
  18. Maintaining a positive and open dialogue with team members so they are fully informed throughout the project life-cycle

Ideal Candidate Will Possess

  • A demonstrated understanding of design strategy and building brand experiences
  • Great design chops and a killer portfolio (which reflects your leadership across a broad range of work)
  • Experience in leading adaptive design projects – including large scale design systems, packaging rollouts, and final art
  • A nimbleness to lead a design team across large and small projects
  • Expertise in branding, packaging design (Consumer Packaged Goods), and shopper programs
  • Experience across other channels and disciplines is an asset
  • Experience in food and drink is an asset
  • Expertise art directing photo shoots
  • Well organized thought and work processes
  • The ability to support a team in their design and final art execution at a level that is among the top tier in the industry
  • An understanding of print processes and finishes
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, and presentation skills – both written and verbal


  • 10+ years of experience in Art Direction/Design in a packaging studio, retail agency, or creative firm, and experience leading design talent
  • College or University diploma in graphic, packaging, or communication design is preferred
  • Proficient using Mac OS, Adobe Creative Suite (Expert knowledge of Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign), Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint (or Keynote)
  • A valid passport and ability to travel – to work in conjunction with our sister studios, clients, and photoshoots