Design Lead

Creative · Portland, Oregon
Department Creative
Employment Type FT Exempt


Who are we?

Thesis, a digital agency in Portland, OR. We're hell-bent on humanizing the relationship between people and brands, which starts with our teams: real people making real work. 

Come as you are. Bring what you bring. We’ll all be better for it. 

The name is new-ish to us, but we've been around for 20 years. In contrast to our former identity that reflected what we do, we chose the name Thesis as it better represents how we do it: a full-service agency that believes our strength is in our approach—that the work we make is only as strong as the thought—and data—we put behind it. 

That sounds intense. But we also understand and respect boundaries you may have

The Job 

You’re an experienced Design Lead obsessed with every detail of the craft. You use any visual means necessary to communicate ideas, and you’re willing to start anywhere, with anything, and iterate your way to the right thing. You find inspiration in unlikely places and spread it throughout the room. You set the bar high and show your team how to aspire to that level too. Whoever works with you is inspired to bring their best game. Your influence comes through the design work first and foremost. You unlock visual, experiential, and conceptual opportunities through execution, sell your ideas passionately, and elevate the work of the entire team through active mentorship.

Our team is rapidly growing, changing, and adapting. We’re looking for a highly skilled senior Design Lead to join our team of creative craftspeople. 

This role will work directly with the design director and creative director while mentoring and supporting other team members in delivering exceptional creative work in a high-volume environment.


As a design lead, you know more than just the ropes. You are a master of your craft in typography, photography, illustration, iconography, color, pattern, and form. You communicate clearly and know how to inspire. Along with your experience, you bring talent, technique, and an unflinching pursuit of excellence. You never settle. You have a track record of exceptional work, yet you’re still driven to hone new skills and experiment with new tools and new techniques.

You will create and execute digital campaigns alongside our designers, writers, and developers and in collaboration with client services, our clients, and other partners. You seek out collaboration with teammates to constantly shape an environment that far surpasses the status quo.


You and your job:

You’ve got blue-sky thinking while staying grounded and keeping clients’ goals in mind. You are not afraid of conflict, actively working with colleagues and/or partners to resolve issues. You are trusted by your coworkers, collaborative partners, and management team. You keep a level head under pressure. You take initiative and leap at leadership opportunities. You effectively communicate with all parties involved in the projects you’re on. You have the ability to understand the big picture while zeroing in on the details. You are comfortable making judgment calls as necessary, knowing when to consult colleagues and management. You communicate and present work effectively, collaborating closely with clients and team members from discovery through delivery. You lead designers in a way that allows them to show up for the team. You lead small, focused teams to pitch smart, beautiful, and impactful creative to clients.

  • Curious: You leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of better work.
  • You are passionate and experienced about leading small teams on multiple projects simultaneously.
  • You can articulate design strategy and present both internally and to clients.
  • Quality: You produce your own work and model excellence to the team.
  • Driven: You own your output and design because you love it. 
  • Detail master: You nerd out on type styling. Image selection and composition are in your veins.
  • Flexible and adaptable: You’re no one-trick pony. You’re ready to mix it up and make it better anytime there’s a new opportunity. You give and receive feedback well. 
  • Jump in: You’re willing to contribute wherever needed, without hesitation. No task is too small or too big.
  • Team player: You don’t win on your own.
  • Self-starter: Work independently and within a team to deliver compelling, well-crafted work across a variety of media.
  • Be hands-on in every step of the creative process, from concept to delivery.
  • Lead portions of project work wherever needed.
  • Think broadly about your work to establish consistency across projects and deliverables.
  • Mentor design team members and encourage skill development.
  • Grow beyond your core competencies.
  • Able to work in our Portland office. Ability to travel as needed.


Your skills and qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in design or fine arts (or comparable experience).
  • Eight-plus years of experience in a design studio or agency  (or comparable experience).
  • Ability to work on multiple jobs simultaneously while feeling comfortable with changing workflows and priorities.
  • Ability to maintain and adhere to brand guidelines, including calling out when and where they don’t make sense.
  • A portfolio and work experience that demonstrate your skills, design sensibilities, and range.
  • Experience working on global brands.
  • Ability to travel, occasionally.
  • Adaptable to changing client needs and priorities.
  • Solid core design competency, including drawing/sketching, typography, ideation, color theory, use of texture, spacing, scale, visual presentation development, and layout.
  • Strong familiarity with current trends in color and design.
  • Experience leading design teams and mentoring designers.
  • Effective and clear presentation skills.
  • Experience or demonstrated an interest in motion graphics, 3D graphics, VR, or other areas of digital creative work is a plus.
  • Experience retouching at a global brand level.
  • Expert knowledge of industry-standard software (Adobe CC, Figma, Keynote, etc.).
  • Basic knowledge of the Google Suite (Drive, Docs, etc.).


Workplace equity is not a single checkbox.

It’s a new way of thinking, of working, and of moving through the world. At Thesis, we prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion. You’ll see this in our hiring practices, growth plans, and workplace programs—because our agency, our work, and our society are better when diverse perspectives come together.

EEO/AA Employer/Vets/Disabled/Race/Ethnicity/Sex/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity/Age

Thank You

Your application was submitted successfully.

  • Location
    Portland, Oregon
  • Department
  • Employment Type
    FT Exempt