Design Manager - Split Rock Studios

  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017 4:36 PM
    Message # 4553488
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Date Posted: January 13, 2017

    Employer: Split Rock Studios, St. Paul

    Recruiter: Soladay Olson | Marketing for Creatives


    Split Rock Studios is looking for an experienced and collaborative Design Manager to oversee our design department. You will ensure the quality and standards of all design work, and inspire our team to push innovation and excellence in our design — while making sure designs meet client and visitor objectives.

    The Design Manager will work closely with exhibit designers and developers, graphic designers, and our clients to create seamless visitor experiences that meet project goals. The responsibilities of this position will lean significantly toward management and strategy, but include some hands-on exhibition design. As a designer, the Design Manager will produce drawings that communicate 3D design intent and describe how the exhibition is organized in a space — its shape, dimensions, materials, and general construction.

    Areas of Responsibility

    Exhibit Design

    • Conceptual/schematic design
      • With the developer, conduct a start-up meeting with the client and stakeholders to determine storylines, themes, and goals of the exhibition.
      • With the developer, brainstorm ideas, interactives, and best media to express exhibit topics and content, being cognizant of audience, goals, client, SRS build needs, and budget.
      • Create floor plans and concept sketches or renderings of major exhibit areas or ideas, coded to the development documents.
      • Confer with CAD detailers to verify buildability of exhibit designs.
    • Design development
      • Prepare elevation drawings of all exhibits, including size, material usage, and layout. These should be based on client feedback and should reflect budget realities. The drawings may also include traffic flow, ADA requirements, or other details as required.
      • Prepare lighting, electrical, and data plans as required.
      • In conjunction with the graphic designer, create overview artifact layouts. Design specialty mounts or shelving as needed.
    • Production
      • Make any necessary corrections to the design package prior to hand-off meeting. Provide reference package to project manager for art fab; participate in start-up meeting for CAD and fabrication.
      • Advise and respond to CAD design questions, as needed.
      • Monitor art fabrication and shop build for quality control and design intent.


    • Develop and maintain design department process, expectations, and best practices. Work with design staff to ensure that all submittals are accurate and complete, of the highest quality, and actively represent Split Rock Studio’s brand and capabilities.
    • Provide strategic thinking and a creative vision for the design department, sales team, and the company.
    • Manage department staff, providing leadership, direction, and guidance; review and monitor staff performance.
    • Meet with design department to review current projects and assign new projects; evaluate project success and reassign resources as necessary.
    • Manage global scheduling for design workflow and workloads.
    • Serve as liaison between design department and management, communicating any goals, concerns, or changes.
    • Lead hiring for department and train design staff and subcontractors in SRS standards, processes, and deliverables.
    • Brainstorm and problem solve with design team; serve as a resource.
    • Support staff growth and professional development.

    Sales and Marketing

    • Work closely with the sales team on proposals.
    • Brainstorm creative ideas and approaches for major proposals.
    • Participate in interviews with prospective clients, as needed.
    • Review proposal schedules, deliverables, and teams to ensure they have the capability and are a good project fit.


    • Travel may be required up to 20% of the time. The Design Manager travels to present to the client throughout the design process, and may need to travel during the installation or to the grand opening. Designers are also often required to present at sales interviews.

    Other General Requirements

    • Strong oral and visual communication skills, including conceptual sketching
    • Flexible team player with strong leadership skills
    • Big picture and detailed oriented
    • Up to date on current design trends within the exhibition field
    • Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously
    • Familiarity with various types of building systems including, but not limited to HVAC, plumbing, flooring, electrical, and low voltage
    • BS degree in design-related field and/or management
    • Proficient in Vectorworks or other 3D software, Adobe Suite; preference for CAD software and digital interface experience
    • 10 years design experience in large-scale museums, visitor centers, themed construction, or zoo exhibits
    • 5 years management experience

    About the Company

    Split Rock Studios specializes in creating natural and cultural history exhibits for museums, interpretive centers, aquariums, zoos, and political institutions. From coast to coast, our team of museum experts brings stories to life. Our clients trust and enjoy our design process because it’s collaborative, creative, and organized. From exhibit designers and project managers in our front office to artists and woodworkers in our shop, Split Rock Studios brings together the full range of museum exhibit design and fabrication services under one roof.

    How to Apply

    Send a pdf including your letter of interest, your resume, and your portfolio samples or link that include at least 3 examples of exhibit design (with your role identified) to Please label the subject of your email “Design Manager, Split Rock Studios” and provide your salary requirement in the body of your email message (not in the pdf).

    By applying through Soladay Olson, you will benefit from my referral of you as a qualified candidate to the employer.


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