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Senior Designer, Communications - NYC

At the Vera Institute of Justice, our vision is of a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for all. At a propitious moment for justice reform, we are standing up and driving change on a variety of fronts—ending cash bail, ending mass incarceration, vastly improving life behind bars, ensuring that immigrants get due process, and centering all this work in racial equity. Convincing people to change the way they think and act in order to serve justice is in our DNA. We have a robust and growing communications team advocating for our vision with our stakeholder and public audiences. Are you interested in helping a super-dedicated and productive team use best-in-class communications strategies and tactics to drive change in the justice system?

If so, read on.


Over the past five years, with 2.2 million people behind bars, we’ve reached a tipping point, and justice reform has become mainstream. It’s on the front pages, it’s bipartisan, it’s got new funders, it’s attracting cultural attention. Vera has been on the cutting edge of this change.

Long known for our research and technical assistance, communications has more recently become one of the core pillars of how we do our work. Importantly, we embed communications in our program and project work from the start. Our efforts have paid off—with an award-winning rebranding and website overhaul, significant media attention, dramatic growth in social media followers, and new partnerships.

We need to leverage the increased attention to justice and to Vera’s work in particular, deploying communications strategies to elevate our issues and our brand. We are seeking a Senior Designer to join a diverse and growing team and to push Vera’s brand forward. The Senior Designer will join Vera’s editorial team to work on print and digital publications as well as overall brand strategy.

Candidates must be excellent designers and visual storytellers, skilled in project management, adept in racial equity, and with a proven portfolio of design work in the social justice space. The Senior Designer will report to the Editorial Strategy Director in Communications, joining a team of content creators (editorial, design, blog, website), media and messaging, and social media strategists. If you want to learn more about life at Vera click here


What You’ll Do

Reporting directly to the Editorial Strategy Director, the Senior Designer will work on producing creative, inspiring, and impactful digital and print publications in close collaboration with our editorial, web, and program teams. Via strong design and critical thinking skills, you’ll challenge the way we present our work, push us to think more creatively about our design strategy, and bring a fresh aesthetic to our brand.


The Senior Designer will be responsible for:

  • Steering Vera’s design work and brand as the lead designer overseeing a variety of print and digital communications products.
  • Supervising a junior designer.
  • Managing external freelance illustrators, designers, and animators.
  • Designing research reports, briefs, and fact sheets, as well as assets for Vera’s website and social media, while adhering to our brand guidelines.
  • Designing infographics that transform data into digestible visuals for different audiences.
  • Collaborating with our editorial team while receiving feedback from diverse parties and working under tight deadlines.
  • Brainstorming and researching imagery for print and digital use consistent with our brand and respectful of the dignity of those we work for.
  • Managing and prioritizing multiple projects with various timelines from concept through production.


What we need in you:

  • Passion. You have knowledge of and interest in social justice issues, particularly criminal justice and immigration.
  • Creativity and innovation. You have a sophisticated visual sense and ability to work within brand guidelines while pushing Vera’s visual identity forward. You demonstrate innovative visual storytelling ideas.
  • Expertise. You have exceptional design skills. Expertise in data visualization and human-centered design, proficiency in Adobe Suite master (InDesign/Illustrator/Photoshop), Sketch, Invision and other prototyping tools, and are ahead of the curve when it comes to new design and media approaches and tools.
  • A deep commitment to racial equity. In a system built on racism and inequity, we are working to ensure equity both in our workplace and in the world. You incorporate this value and share it with others.
  • A collaborator, rigorous thinker, and problem-solver. Collaboration is a Vera value. We thrive when we learn and build on each other’s ideas. We’re open to giving and receiving feedback—both in our team and across the institution.
  • Emotional intelligence. You demonstrate strong social and emotional awareness with your team and external partners. You’re open to opportunities to learn and grow. You exercise good judgment and don’t allow urgency to trump relationships.
  • Project management. You are detail-oriented but can see the big picture. You have keen time management and multitasking skills, including the ability to take initiative, prioritize tasks and duties, pay close attention to detail, and work independently while meeting specific deadlines. You can work quickly while maintaining high standards across a variety of products.

Additional qualifications:

  • At least seven years of design experience contributing to the strong visual identity of an organization or agency as a graphic designer.
  • Demonstrated project management and supervision experience.
  • Ability to drive your own work and meet quick turnaround deadlines.
  • Experience designing a variety of publications.
  • Track record designing data visualizations, including infographics, maps, charts, tables, and icons.
  • Ability to produce interactive PDFs, print-ready PDFs, and final inDesign files.
  • Experience using a digital asset management system.
  • Strong photo research background, including licensing of images.



Based on experience and including excellent benefits. Vera believes in compensating its staff members at or above market.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and a link to your portfolio. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Online submission in PDF format through Vera’s careers page is preferred.


No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.


Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.


For more information about Vera’s work, please visit


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