Associate Director of Design


Must provide portfolio site for review along with resume and cover letter.

How to apply: Email a cover letter, resume and portfolio for review to the “Apply Here” link on this page with subject line: “Application: Associate Director of Design”

Cognition Studio, a consultancy/agency working with innovation leaders in life sciences, healthcare, and global health.

We’re seeking an associate director of design with a desire to or experience working in biotech/pharma brand, interactive, advocacy and communications. The ideal candidate for this role is highly skilled at visual design, and passionate about  branding, campaigns, and understands the nuances of communication design.



Associate Directors foster good relationships with the specific clients they serve and build new relationships to support the growth of the agency. They define the visual design approach, collaborate cross-functionally for integrated solutions and as a creative manager oversee the craft of the work. You strive for a high level of craft paired with problem solving and innovative thinking to build award wining designs. You partner with clients, strategic partners and creative teams to direct design solutions, hone the aesthetic of the work, and guide the process from end to end.

  • This position works collaboratively with project team(s) for setting the approach to the work and meeting client expectations. They work in harmony with other Associate Directors to coordinate the capacity of Cognition’s creative resources and other assets to meet the scope and direction of each project. And will work with our SPMO on the flow of reporting information between the Senior Leadership Team and the project teams to enable business decision making.
  • This role will be an external facing resource, responsible for running accounts and client engagements to define and oversee assigned projects through the project lifecycle to achieve or surpass the capability, schedule, and financial performance of assigned projects. This role is  assigned at any given time to multiple projects and/or client accounts and reports to the Director of Design and Executive leadership.



  • Helps set nurture relationship, intake and definition of projects and oversee creative processes to achieve or surpasses the capability of assigned projects.
    • Supports the development, receives approvals for, and maintains project scopes.
    • Responsible for developing project plans, and supports understanding of tactical schedules, and budgets in collaboration with a Director or Lead Account & Project Manager.
    • Creative Leadership – Actively leads and facilitate client/project team activities including workshops, strategy and brainstorming sessions, as well as review sessions and after action reviews to build in a healthy behavior around the creative process. Defines the visual approach and sets standards for the level of craft for team performance.
    • Creative Direction – It is the responsibility of the AD to support clear intake, project definition, so that we can properly plan the process, producing a critical path and understanding the timing of each stage. Guiding the right solution at each phase of the project is essential to ensuring that the project is completed with excellence and craft.
    • Resource Allocation – It is the responsibility of the AD to work with their direct reports to identify and anticipate what resources or subject matter experts are needed for any given project and ensure they are available.
    • Budget Monitoring – The AD supports the financial forecast and burn for critical accounts and projects, in conjunction with the Director.
  • Client Lead: Acts as focal point for proactive communication and timely decision making for the project or client’s programs.  Regularly reports to Leadership and team regarding project status. Maintains quality standards throughout work product.
  • Team Collaborator: Works across boundaries and orchestrates actions by motivating and influencing internal team members and resources to ensure project objectives are met.
  • Cognition Leadership: Works to build sustainable programs, mentorship and business decisions for the continued growth and well being of the Agency.



  • Considerable knowledge of design, visual communication, design strategy and driving award wining creative.
  • Curious or experience in working with clients in science, healthcare, and social challenges.
  • Extensive knowledge of design methodologies and best practices including technologies to support and augment such practices.
  • Exceptional creative leadership toolbox and skill set, including the ability to take ownership for accomplishing assigned tasks. Results-oriented planner and delegator who ensures that goals are met. Able to set priorities and keep to projected schedules.
  • Strong leadership attributes:
    • Able to motivate and influence a team of non-direct reports to produce measurable results.
  • Able to lead by example and live/work by company values.
    • Able to instill a sense of urgency in team members.
    • Able to be patient and objective in difficult situations with different types of people.
  • Strong organizational, time management and prioritization skills:
    • Able to multi-task, maintain focus on several different projects at one time and hit deadlines.
    • Able to be flexible with attention and priority.
    • Able to work in a progressive, fast-paced environment (work well under pressure).
  • Strong analytical skills, with an ability to troubleshoot, problem-solve, and effectively and efficiently make decisions.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to build strong relationships at all levels. Ability to influence others as well as relate to individuals at all levels of the organization.  As unique situations arise, position must be sensitive to corporate needs, employee goodwill, and the public image.
  • Strong communication skills (oral, written, presentation) with both external and internal customers:
    • Act as an active listener, seeking to understand and then to be understood, articulating clearly and confidently.
  • Strong customer service tool box:
    • Strong follow-through.
    • Extremely quick thinking and resourceful.
    • Professional mannerisms, appearance and actions (self-confident and committed to high ethics).




  • Master degree in related communication, advertising or design. Four (4) year degree in science, design, or related field.
  • Additional course work or certification preferred



  • Nine years progressively responsible brand, visual design, or communication experience.
  • Interested in or experience in the biotech or life science industries or similar with responsibility for multiple projects (>$1M revenue).
  • Proven competence in design methodologies including behavior models, strategic communication frameworks, integrated digital solutions, sales and field aids, product communication, and corporate communication activities, i.e., social media, investor relations and scientific conferences.
  • Five years experience managing project teams of 7+ professionals.


Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Statement

Cognition Studio, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Prohibits Discrimination and Harassment of Any Kind

Cognition is committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity for all employees and to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment. All employment decisions at Cognition are based on business needs, job requirements and individual qualifications, without regard to race, color, religion or belief, national, social or ethnic origin, sex (including pregnancy), age, physical, mental or sensory disability, HIV Status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital, civil union or domestic partnership status, past or present military service, family or parental status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations. Cognition will not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on any of these characteristics and encourages applicants of all ages.