University of Waterloo

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Communications Design Officer

Communications Design Officer

Requisition ID 
Job Category  
Marketing / Public Relations / Communications
5252 - Advancement Communications
Job Status 
Temporary Appointment (Contract)
Hiring Range 
$53,120 - $66,400

More information about this job


Term: 2 years


The Communications Design Officer is a key member of the Advancement communications team and will develop in-house, creative visual solutions to effectively communicate with our diverse audience of alumni, donors and prospects, supporting the Office of Advancement’s goals: to increase alumni engagement, raise philanthropic support and build Waterloo champions. Reporting to Senior Digital Communications Officer, the Communications Design Officer works as part of a dynamic and integrated team within Advancement to thoughtfully and effectively engage our community of alumni and donors through compelling and brand-aligned digital communications, including videos, photography, email, social media and web design elements. The Communications Design Officer will also provide creative advice and execution on communication project designs, such as proposals and one-pagers, working collaboratively with colleagues and partners in Creative Services.


Create, plan and execute on visual design for print and digital materials

  • Conceptualize and create visual designs to support Advancement goals
  • Produce original, creative and appropriate designs for in-house Advancement materials (such as proposals or one-pagers) and digital content including videos, photographs, email templates, web and email banners, infographics, social media visual elements and html
  • Ensure effective targeting of mass email communications for multiple audiences by creating and maintaining brand guidelines and best practices
  • Actively participate in creative brainstorming sessions to help meet project goals
  • Render all design solutions using suitable, effective design software applications for print, web, or multimedia, with adherence to accessibility standards
  • Maintain a thorough understanding and appreciation for the current media landscape that uses new media sources and technology to support best-in-class work
  • Work collaboratively with Creative Services or external vendors on larger projects, ensuring all projects adhere to the University’s visual brand guidelines

Manage in-house video and photography initiatives and resources

  • Produce in-house videos, collaborating on script writing, coordinating storyboarding, sourcing locations or appropriate animations, filming, post-production and editing, working collaboratively with Advancement partners
  • Project manage productions through the entire process to sign-off
  • Develop an annual photography plan and budget, based on recognition of critical role of photography in communicating key messages and the substantial financial investment required for high-quality images
  • Coordinate and art direct photo and video shoots, which may be on or off site
  • Develop, organize and maintain effective catalogue of photo archives, including acting as Advancement’s primary liaison for Waterloo Photos

Collaborate, advise and consult

  • Use visual design expertise to provide advice on strategic and integrated communication plans to develop visuals that will resonate with audiences and maximize results
  • Coach Advancement staff on the execution of Waterloo’s visual brand
  • Work collaboratively as a member of Advancement communications team to strategically support Advancement and University goals
  • Work closely with campus partners, including the faculties, colleges and units such as Creative Services on projects, in a highly collaborative and creative environment
  • Provide high level of customer service internally and externally to support relationship cultivation and engagement with Waterloo
  • Proactively share knowledge so all Advancement staff can incorporate new information and techniques into their initiatives
  • Participate in committees/working groups as needed

Manages work flow and production

  • Liaise with Creative Services to coordinate and supervise the production process Apply creative innovation to define design parameters so that a project entails minimum cost and time
  • Manage and maintain graphic files, including logos and artwork
  • Collaborate with communications staff to develop and maintain consistent documentation and recording methods across all visual communication projects


  • Coach and support co-op students, as needed
  • Assume roles in special projects or committees, as assigned
  • Provide social media or event support for key Advancement events including Reunion, Convocation and President’s reception, as needed
  • Engage in active, ongoing learning by seeking opportunities of ongoing training and professional development eg. industry articles and blogs, webinars, conferences
  • Other duties as assigned



  • University degree in a related discipline, diploma in graphic design or equivalent combination of education and related experience
  • 3-5 years experience in design or digital communications role, preferably in education or not-forprofit sector with a proven record of understanding and applying effective design principles related to integrated communications strategies, for multiple audiences
  • Demonstrated experience with and strong understanding of effective design principles
  • Experience in video, web, interactive, digital advertising and/or digital communication design and technology
  • Experience in conceptualizing and storyboarding engaging video content
  • Experience with email marketing and distribution platforms, such as iModules Encompass
  • Eye for effective design, graphic balance, and the impact of layout and messaging in communication materials
  • Ability to identify emerging trends and how they can be integrated with print and digital communication campaigns
  • Intermediate experience with InDesign, Photoshop, Premier/Final Cut, Presentation software, DSLR camera, along with intermediate photography skills
  • Experience with a content management system (Drupal); CSS, HTML, HTML5
  • Confidence with MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Smartsheet, project management software, social media platforms including Hootsuite
  • Knowledgeable about accessibility requirements (AODA)
  • Possess strong written and verbal communication skills to interact with campus partners, including ability to articulate the rationale for a specific design
  • Understands the importance of storytelling in creative communication strategies
  • Ability to build consensus, work collaboratively and foster team work with multiple stakeholders and work with integrated project teams
  • Ability to understand the goals, strategy and planning of Advancement and the University and translate that into compelling visual design
  • Willingness to occasionally work outside of traditional hours