Careers

GRAPHIC DESIGNER/PRODUCTION SPECIALIST

Posted: September 17, 2014
Status: CLOSED

Thank you for your interest in the graphic designer/production specialist position at Zine Graphics & Print. In order to make our search for the “perfect” employee (and your search for the “perfect” job) as efficient as possible, we’ve clearly set out in this job posting what this position is all about so that even before you decide to send us a resume, you make the decision whether or not this position is a good fit for you. This job is not for everyone, however, it will be the “perfect” job for someone.

The Bottom Line

Start Date
As soon as we find the “perfect” person.

Description
This is a mid-level position at a small but busy design/marketing/printing company. You will be doing graphic design, pre-press set up, and production work. We have a great variety of design and marketing projects that will require your skills and creative talent.  This is an ideal position for a graphic designer who is eager to learn, wants to expand his/her knowledge, build an awesome portfolio and get real-world experience in areas of graphic arts, print production, marketing design, and business management.

Work Days
Monday – Thursday, hours are approximately 11am – 5pm. Hours are flexible and total hours could go up. But to start with, we need you between 28-32 hours a week on a fixed schedule.

Work Environment
We operate in a converted home office with a small staff who have varied office hours. Social interactions are minimal. If you like having a high level of social interaction at your job, then this isn’t the job for you. If you prefer to work in quiet environment, focusing on your work and free from distractions, then you’ll be happy here.

Pay
$18.00/hour during 3-month probationary period.
$20.00/hour after 3-month probationary period, plus commission.
Paid leave and telecommuting available.
Unfortunately, we can no longer afford to offer group health benefits thanks to Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

If that sounds OK, then please keep reading.

About Us

We’d normally tell you this during the interview, but again, we’re all about saving your time, and our time. We are husband and wife who purchased a relatively successful retail print shop (operating since 1981) in 2004. Kia’s background is in computers. She changed careers to graphic design in 2002. Kia’s primary responsibilities are creative director, project manager, and marketing director. Brahm also has a background in computers. His responsibilities are operations and post-press manager. When we purchased the business, we didn’t realize what we were getting ourselves into. But, we worked hard to grow, learn, and overcome. Owning a small business ain’t easy! But, we gradually transformed it by bringing in new technology (software, printers, systems) and new services (professional graphic and marketing services). We also recently renamed the business to Zine Graphics & Print, and re-branded it as a marketing, design, print services provider.

The business has a steady and growing customer base who do regular business with us, not because we’re the cheapest, but because they like us and they trust us, and we like them and genuinely want to help them succeed. They enjoy doing business with us, because we’re competent, easy to work with, and we provide effective solutions for their design, print, and marketing needs. As part of the re-brand, we have dedicated ourselves to providing high-end, professional graphic design, as well as marketing expertise and services for small businesses. We have full-service printing capabilities and offer that as a value-added service to our clients. Our target market is small to medium sized business owners. This market needs competent design, marketing, and print experts who understand what they need, and can meet their fast-changing needs and demands in print marketing as efficiently and quickly as possible. This is who we strive to be, and as a result, business is growing steadily, and we need help!

About You

This is where you should be real honest with yourself, do some reflection, or ask a trusted friend or family member if you are a right fit for this job. Probably the first thing about you is that you’re not interested in “only getting a paycheck”, but in developing your skills and your career, and making a positive contribution to a business establishment and the community it serves. You understand the challenges of operating a small business (if not, this would be a good question to ask during the interview!), and welcome them as valuable learning and growing opportunities. You understand what it means to be hard worker and are able to withstand the pressures of a fast-paced, deadline-driven work environment. Also, all applicants will undergo mandatory background checks and drug testing. If you are unwilling to sign the authorization for these and perform the drug test, you should not apply to work here.

So, are you still here, and reading? Great! We’ve got lots more to say…

Your Skills

You are proficient in Adobe’s Creative Suite applications on Windows and Mac platforms. Absolute musts are: InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat. We’d like to see some background in print marketing design such as newsletters, annual reports, editorials, brochures, postcards, print ads, and booklets. We would also like to see your talent in brand development (logos, business cards, stationery, etc.). We do not design websites, but we do design web ads, banner ads, and random graphics for websites. You quickly learn to use new software and new equipment. You should have a strong command of the English language, both written and verbal. You are conscious of maintaining a professional appearance, including in how you speak and how you act. You must also have excellent time management and organizational skills (remember, this is a BUSY, deadline-driven environment).

Your Personality

It matters. A lot. Whether you are introverted or extroverted, we need you to be tenacious and not give up easily when faced with challenges (i.e. when things get hard). You are extremely detail-oriented (as excellent designers typically are). You are articulate. You have a good sense of humor and a cooperative attitude. You show kindness, patience, and respect to all human beings. You are ethical and honest, even when no one is watching. You are punctual. You are able to take constructive criticism and correction without getting defensive. You look for solutions, not excuses. You are an avid learner, and extremely resourceful in finding solutions. You are a problem solver, not just a problem reporter. Oh, and did we mention you should be detail-oriented?

Your Work Ethic

Since we’ll obviously be paying you to work, this section is extremely important. You enjoy working and are grateful for opportunities to use your God-given talents and skills to make a positive influence, and to earn a living. You don’t view your job as an interruption to your life, but as a natural part of your life. You understand that you are not getting paid just for being at work, but for how you spend your time at work (i.e. the value you bring to the business). You understand that the reason the business exists is to make a profit, and ALL who work there (employees and owners) must make that their foremost responsibility. Otherwise, the business will not be able to pay or keep employees. You are scrupulous about using the time you are getting paid, for the purposes of the business, and not for the purposes of your personal life (checking emails, texting, surfing the internet, etc). Finally, you understand the risks a small business owner faces everyday that the business is open, and are cooperative with the decisions that he makes, whether they suit you or not.

We don’t mean to sound harsh, we just don’t like any surprises as I’m sure you don’t when it comes to starting a new job. We have extremely high standards for the quality of our work, and strive for excellence in all that we do. Our clients know this, and they keep coming back.  We need someone who will be able to keep up with us. We don’t have the time nor do we enjoy having to micro-manage you. We will clearly set out our expectations, and remind you if you forget and if you fail to meet them. We want you part of our team, and not just a worker here. We want to give you autonomy, and we want to let you be free to do the work that you are getting paid to do, and that you ENJOY doing.

So what are your responsibilities?

Your responsibilities will be very diverse, some are creative, some are mundane, but all are necessary to keep the business operating profitably. It is important for you to understand that this is not design school where you have weeks and days to brainstorm and refine a single project.  Here you will have to manage multiple projects with many moving parts, with deadlines, and still meet our standards of excellence. The deadlines are not ridiculous, but they must be met. It can be stressful at times, and even overwhelming. But we expect you to push through it because that’s how you grow. It is extremely gratifying when you complete your project successfully, present it to the client with ooh’s and aah’s, and they unleash it into the world.  We don’t require mandatory overtime; and there is always help when you need it. We don’t expect you to know how to do everything that is required (heck, we even don’t know sometimes), but we do expect you to be observant, resourceful, and a quick learner. If you need to know exactly what your duties are everyday and you need ample time to get things done comfortably, then this is not the place for you. If you like variety in your work, thrive when challenged, and take pride in your accomplishments, then this job will provide it.

 

Overall Responsibility:

  • To become proficient in all aspects of excellent design and production to give the owners time to focus on marketing and growing business.
  • To use your presence, your skills, and your talents to provide value to the business that will increase the profits of business.
  • To assist the senior graphic designers with various projects and tasks as directed.

Operations/Production

  • Initiate greeting of all customers, via phone or email, to provide any printing, design, or marketing services.
  • Build relationships with regular clients to understand their needs and provide service.
  • Make all clients and potential clients feel welcomed and helped.
  • Submit print jobs to production, manage production where necessary, and follow through completion of the job, without supervision.
  • Maintain all electronic files per naming and file organization standards
  • Become proficient in the use of the digital printers in the office.
  • Stay on top of all current jobs, and update job status on production and design schedules, and in system.
  • Maintain all paper files by managing job jackets, filing completed jobs, or creating files for new clients.
  • Keep owners apprised of work in progress by debriefing before leaving for the day.

Graphic Design

  • Understand client project requirements, and apply sound design principles to provide a solution that meets all agreed upon requirements.
  • Take creative direction from senior designers to build out design concepts as instructed.
  • Always strive for excellence and creativity in all design projects.
  • Complete all assigned design jobs to present to client.
  • Consult with clients when needed to define, clarify, and communicate all project specifications and parameters.
  • Perform correct pre-press setup of print projects.
  • Complete all projects to the end, and follow through with client.
  • Read books and other educational publications, attend meetings or seminars to acquire knowledge and expertise in advanced graphic design, web design, and print and website production techniques.
  • Daily put in practice the new skills and knowledge learned in graphic design, and print and website production.

Why would you want to work here?

If you’ve made it this far, then we congratulate you. You’re either close to being the “perfect” fit, or you’re just plain curious. We’re not trying to scare you, we just want to be very clear with our expectations so neither of us is disappointed.  If you did a reference check on us, you’ll discover that although we’re direct, we are extremely friendly, kind, and caring people. We will treat you like family, because, remember, this is a family-owned business. Although we work hard, we like to have fun, we like to relax, we are very understanding, we treat you with respect, and we care about your experience with us. We believe you will excel when you’re challenged, especially if love what you do, where you work, and the people you work with. We believe we can offer that opportunity to the right person.  Just for giggles, in your cover letter, tell us in just a couple of sentences what you think about this unusually long job posting

Read what our senior designer, Kim, who’s been with us for almost 5 years now has to say about working here:

I got my dream job straight out of design school.

When I was in design school, I dreamed of working in a small studio-like environment where my ideas and skills were valued and respected. I didn’t want to get pigeon-holed into doing the same kind of project over and over, and I definitely wanted to avoid the kind of stressful, cut-throat environment I’d heard was not uncommon.

Leading up to graduation, I did everything a good design student should do. I invested a small fortune in my portfolio, FedEx-ed perfect promotional pieces to over 30 firms, and applied to countless online postings. After all that, I found my perfect job on Craigslist, of all places. I came across a graphic designer & marketing assistant position for Zine Graphics, and it felt like the job was tailor-made for me.

I was wary of the unconventional approach at first, but I followed Kia’s crazy directions and scored an interview. After meeting Kia, my initial reservations disappeared. I knew that Zine Graphics was where I belonged. Kia has killer design and marketing instincts, paired with uncompromising integrity. Needless to say, I got the job, and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. (I was so sure that I turned down full time senior positions at two other design firms, much to my parents’ chagrin!)

Four years and a promotion later, Kia and I collaborate closely on pretty much everything that goes out the door. We provide feedback on each others’ work and bounce ideas for design and marketing concepts. There’s a kind of magic that happens when I take her concept sketches and turn them into high-end designs.

The work we do is exactly the kind of work that I love – the more complex, the better. I get to design newsletters, brochures, books, direct mail, logos, corporate identity materials… the list goes on and on. That isn’t to say that every project is a walk in the park, or that I love the way everything turns out after the revision process. (Sometimes you just have to give the client what they want!) But, I do truly love coming to work every day and creating pieces that matter, and that make a difference in the lives of our clients.

Other benefits to working here:

  • Exposure to a variety of small business functions and management issues.
  • You get the benefit of gaining invaluable experience in small business management and marketing, without the risk of actually owning your own business.
  • Opportunity to greatly increase your graphic design skills and your portfolio in a printing environment. We are a gold mine of new and interesting projects. You’ll have the opportunity to work on a huge variety of design projects using your own creativity and ideas.
  • Growth and education in small business marketing principles and skills, and the opportunity to apply those skills at your workplace and in consultation to your clients.
  • Opportunity to meet and interact with success-minded, quality people in the community.
  • Opportunities to promote yourself in our newsletters and marketing materials.
  • Opportunity for massive contributions to the success and growth of the business, and take massive credit for it.
  • Flexible, but consistent schedule.
  • Lots of autonomy
  • Fun, nice, and easy going people to work with.
  • Free parking
  • Comfortable office environment, no cubicles.
  • Great, central location, close to everything.

The world is constantly changing, and it’s changing at a faster pace than ever before. Those who will be successful are those who understand how the business world operates—especially the small business world.

If you are selected to work at Zine Graphics, you will not only expand and grow your own talents, but you will be exposed to the “best marketing practices” of a variety of small businesses. Small business is the economic engine of America. Working for a small business such as ours means you cannot avoid learning a ton about small business itself.

This job is not for everyone! If you like being a very small part of a giant business (with all the good and bad that goes with that), and getting put into a box to take directions and do one thing only, you won’t like it here. If, however, you want to be an important player in a growing Northern Virginia small business, then carefully follow the directions below to “raise your hand” and let us know who you are.

Contact Us

Please mail your resume to our mailing address that is found on our website, www.zinegraphics.com. Please do not call, email, fax, or visit us to apply or to inquire about this job. Just mail us your resume as instructed, using regular U.S. Mail.

Your resume should be accompanied by samples of your original design work. Your resume should also be accompanied by a short essay (less than one page) on your choice of ONE of the following two topics:

1. Describe the person (present, past, dead or living) you most admire, and why.
2. Describe an experience that has been the most valuable to you, and why.

Resumes without design samples and the essay will be not be considered.

Your application and accompanying design samples you submit to us become the property of Zine Graphics & Print. If you’d like your items returned to you, you should include a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope. Otherwise, don’t send us the one and only printed copy of the awesome magazine you designed.

We look forward to hearing from you!