Position: Graphic Designer
Location: Conshohocken, Pennslyvania
Welcome to the Wonderful Machine Careers page (for designers). In it, I’ll attempt to explain everything you’ll need to know if you’re interested in applying for a job with us. Please take a moment to read this so you can get a better sense of whether we might be a good match for each other, and so you can know what to expect from our application process.
Our company performs two main functions. We promote our member photographers (collectively) through our directory, and we’re available to help any photographer (individually) with our consulting services. (We charge a monthly fee for a listing on our directory, and an hourly fee for consulting.) When we hire new staff members for our publicity, photo editing, marketing, and production departments, we tend to rotate them through as many of those departments as possible, over the course of their first year, to give them an introduction to every aspect of our business, learning about office management, research, reporting, writing, word editing, social media, photo editing, recruiting, and marketing calls along the way (we refer to that work as “brand management.”) After that, we have those staff members settle into a department that suits their interests and skills, and our needs.
Since graphic design requires such a specific skill set, we tend to hire designers who have education and experience specific to design, and we tend to get them working on design from day one. You can read more about our publicist, photo editor, and producer jobs at this link: http://blog.wonderfulmachine.com/2014/03/careers/
Our designers have two main responsibilities: 1) to design the marketing materials that we use to promote the Wonderful Machine brand (brand management), and 2) to work on individual projects for photographers or companies (consulting).
The brand management tasks include designing weekly e-mailers (two each week), a monthly print mailer, and a monthly web ad. Our designers work with an outside web developer on an ongoing basis, to update the form and functionality of our website and blog (and we’re about to embark on a website overhaul). Other projects periodically pop up, like designing a holiday gift or a new Wonderful Machine t-shirt.
The Consulting projects we do for photographers include graphic identity design, logos and word marks, website template customization, email promos, and print mailers.
Each time our designers complete a consulting project, they write a short blog post about it, which inspires other photographers understand our services and it inspires them to hire us for similar projects. We also record before-and-after screencasts of web edits and website template customizations, similar to the one at the bottom of this blog post.
New designers tend to start out working mostly on the brand management tasks. Then, as quickly as they’re able to handle it, we start feeding them consulting projects. Over time, our more experienced designers tend to work more and more on consulting projects and less and less on brand management tasks. As we grow, our plan is to take on bigger and bigger design projects. Most of our work currently is for individual photographers, but our next step is to create a stand-alone graphic design brand that will allow us to pitch design projects for companies and brands as well. I’m looking for someone who is willing to help us with basic design in the short-run, but who is also ambitious enough to pursue the more advanced consulting projects in the long run.
Hours, Location, Company Culture, Salary, Bonuses, Benefit
We work Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:30pm, plus as needed to meet deadlines (our designers rarely work past 5:30). Our whole staff works at our Conshohocken, PA office. Our office is one big room, with 20 desks around the perimeter and in the center of the room. That makes it easy to collaborate, which we often do, but it can be noisy at times, and everyone can hear everyone else’s phone calls – for better or worse. (We’re currently looking for a bigger space, and we’ll probably move some time in the next 6-12 months.) The atmosphere is pretty relaxed. The people who work with images sometimes listen to their own music with ear buds, but I’m less enthusiastic about that for people who are working with words or answering the phone.
The management hierarchy is pretty flat. We prefer to take a collaborative approach that allows everyone to grow as fast as their own competence and ambition allows. Applicants sometimes ask if they can telecommute, but since our staff members need to collaborate so frequently and spontaneously, we can’t offer that at this time.
I tend to start entry-level designers at $35k/year plus benefits, with a $5k raise after a year, with good progress. If you have experience that you thing warrants a higher salary, please let me know what you have in mind. In the short run, compensation is about learning the brand management tasks. In the long run, it’s mostly a function of consulting revenue. Each of our staff members has an opportunity to work on consulting projects, and many of our staff members have cultivated a loyal following, effectively creating their own individual brand within the Wonderful Machine brand.
The benefits we offer include 3 weeks paid time-off, 8 paid holidays, health & dental insurance, and matching IRA contributions.
What I’m looking For In An Employee
With such a small company, each of our staff members has an opportunity to make a big impact. So, I’m looking for people who have the potential to help us grow. It also wouldn’t hurt if you’re intelligent, articulate, personable, outgoing, conscientious, hard-working, proactive, dependable, ambitious, and generous! By generous, what I mean is that our ability to succeed is largely dependent on our staff members’ ability to teach and learn from each other, and teach and learn from the photographers and clients we serve. I’m looking for people who understand that their interest and willingness to work hard for other people is what is going to yield success for them.
If after reading all that, you think we might be a good fit for each other, please send me a resume (to firstname.lastname@example.org) describing your experience, and a brief cover letter describing why you’re a good match for us, and what kind of salary you’re looking for. I will acknowledge your email by saying, “Thanks, I’ll take a look.” If you don’t hear from me again, that means that I don’t think that you’re a good match for us. I get a lot of inquiries for each job posting, so I’m sorry that I won’t be able to offer more feedback than that. You will score extra points if you address your cover letter to me personally, rather than to “Dear Hiring Manager.”
If it looks to me like you might be a good match for us, I’ll ask to meet up over Skype for a quick interview. I’ll have some questions for you, and it’ll be nice if you have some questions for me. I tend to interview a lot of people. I will do my best to let you know if you definitely are not getting that particular job. But since we’re growing fast, sometimes one set of job interviews can run into the next. So if I don’t tell you that you didn’t get the job, it could mean that I’m still considering you for the next one. I’ll do my best to keep you posted, but there are times when I simply have to leave people hanging. I don’t mind if you follow up by email, and I’ll do my best to give you a meaningful update.
I hope that’s helpful. Please let me know if there’s anything I could add to make this explanation more useful. Thanks!