Job Announcement: Publishing Art Director
Letterform Archive seeks an experienced art director to help develop and drive the look and feel of its trade art-book publishing program.
Reporting to the publisher, the publishing art director will collaborate closely with editors, authors, curators, artists, designers, packagers, and printers to create exemplary, visually driven books that tell the story of graphic design — from exhibition catalogs to contemporary monographs, from facsimile editions to splendid gift titles.
This is a dream role for an established book-design professional looking to help build a trade art-book publishing program. An ideal candidate will have served at least three years in an art director role with an illustrated trade book publisher, with demonstrated abilities in collaborating with editorial to create rich reader experiences; developing a design approach for different product lines and price points; identifying and managing freelance talent in book design, lettering, original type design, illustration, and photography; designing layouts and covers; creating marketing materials for both direct and trade sales programs; working with print professionals to concept and test effects for compelling print packages; and implementing best design-to-production practices.
As an art director of the books program for an institution devoted to graphic design and type, this role requires enthusiasm for both design history and contemporary type and design trends, as well as a willingness to collaborate and work iteratively; demonstrated creative strengths with proven marketplace results; excellent typography skills; and an ability to adapt in a dynamic environment with many moving parts and players.
About Letterform Archive
Letterform Archive is a nonprofit center for inspiration, education, and community. We offer hands-on access to a curated collection of over 85,000 items related to lettering, typography, calligraphy, and graphic design. Every year, we welcome thousands of visitors from across the world, including students, practitioners, and design admirers from every creative background.
In addition to hosting visits and public events, the Archive serves a global community through social media, an online archive featuring state-of-the-art photography, and a book program that draws from the collection as well as publishes new work from its contributors. We offer courses and workshops in type design, calligraphy, and typography. We also curate exhibitions of our holdings and organize lectures by visiting artists and designers.
As a close-knit team of typophiles, lettering lovers, graphic design fans, and book arts enthusiasts, everyone at the Archive — regardless of role — helps in some way to promote the collection, offering tours, assisting at events, or engaging with the design community at large.
About Letterform Archive Books
Distributed in the trade by D.A.P., Letterform Archive Books publishes exquisite books on graphic design, typography, and lettering, drawing from the collection to tell rich stories with exceptional reproduction and unique design. Upcoming titles including Thanks for the Flix: Skills Magazine and ’90s Graffiti Zine Culture; Die Fläche (Facsimile Edition): Design and Lettering of the Vienna Secession, 1902–1911; Citizen Printer: The Social Justice Art of Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.; Alphabet in Motion: A Pop-Up Book for Typophiles; and Modern Type: A History of Type Through Its Specimens will join recent publications including W. A. Dwiggins: A Life in Design, Morla : Design, Bauhaus Typography at 100, and Strikethrough: Typographic Messages of Protest (Fall 2022).
- Establish and maintain a design vision for a list of 8–12 projects a year, ranging from exhibition catalogs to facsimile editions, postcard decks and journals to instructional guides and artist collaborations
- Identify and direct freelance project designers, type and lettering artists, and occasional photography teams and illustrators
- Design select titles in house
- Conduct occasional photo research
- Ensure smooth delivery of printer tests and final design files to production
- Review loose color, page proofs, and plotters
- Execute trade and direct marketing sales materials for each title and the list as a whole
- Participate in acquisitions and pipeline strategy
- Work closely with editorial to determine book features and approach
- Coordinate with the collections team on digitization needs for the book program
- Collaborate on formats, trim sizes, and production effects
- Develop familiarity with the Archive’s holdings and fluency in our mission
- Help publicize Archive programs, publications, and services
- Attend and provide support at periodic Archive events
- 3+ years’ experience in a similar role at a trade publisher of highly visual books, with at least 8 years’ overall experience in print design
- Passion for or expertise in an area of specialization appropriate to our collections (e.g., graphic design, book arts, typography, lettering, etc.)
- Demonstrated creative strengths
- Ability to source existing assets and commission new ones
- Resourcefulness and budget conscientiousness
- Familiarity with best practices in production design
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Exceptional organizational and time management skills
- Proficient with Adobe Creative Suite and Google Workspace
- Bachelor’s degree
- Curious about design history and eager to obtain hands-on learning from our collection
- Team player and willing collaborator
- Flexibility and comfort in a rapidly changing environment
- Willing to tackle a variety of projects, including new challenges
- Some experience working in a museum or library setting a plus
The art director will regularly be required to perform desk-based computer tasks, including using a computer screen for long periods of time, typing, and making phone calls.
They may also frequently be required to move items weighing up to 25 pounds or push and maneuver a fully loaded book truck weighing up to 60 pounds.
The Archive will provide reasonable accommodations to an employee with a disability who requires accommodations to perform the essential functions of their job.
COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
To ensure the health and safety of the Archive’s community, all newly hired employees of Letterform Archive are required to be fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, absent qualifying exemptions for medical, religious, or other reasons in accordance with all applicable laws.
Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.
Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination
Letterform Archive is an equal opportunity workplace, community, and place of learning. The Archive does not discriminate in employment or in offering educational services and programs. Learn more.
This position is a hybrid role that we anticipate working on site at Letterform Archive’s offices in San Francisco 3 days per week. As this role requires hands-on interaction with our collection, it is not a remote position.
Position Type and Work Schedule
This is a full-time, exempt position working 40 per week during the Archive’s normal office hours in addition to occasional nights and weekends for special events as required.
Compensation and Benefits
The pay rate for this role is between $80,000 and $100,000 per year depending on candidate experience and qualifications.
Letterform Archive offers benefits to all full-time employees including:
- Medical, dental, and vision coverage with subsidized dependent coverage
- Three weeks of Paid Time Off each year
- 10 paid holidays per year
- Sick leave
- Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
- 401(k) retirement plan
- Pre-tax commuter benefit
- Annual professional development budget
- Waived tuition to Archive workshops
- Complimentary Archive membership
You will be surrounded by — and able to interact with — beautiful, meaningful materials from the Archive’s collection, as well as a diverse and dynamic community of those who love letters and design. Your colleagues will be a small group of people who are passionate about the organization and eager to share their enthusiasm through their work.
This position is open to all candidates who are currently authorized to work in the United States. Letterform Archive is unable to sponsor work visas at this time.
How to Apply
Please apply by submitting a résumé and a short cover letter explaining your interest in this position and what you might hope to bring to the role, and a link to your portfolio at letterformarchive.org/careers by Friday, August 19, 2022.
You may address your cover letter to the “hiring committee” and it should be no more than one page. The most effective cover letters explain your interest in the Archive and this position, and make clear how your qualifications match this role’s responsibilities.
Letterform Archive is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are an individual with a disability and need assistance applying or have questions about accommodation during the hiring process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.