Overview

Design at Substack

Substack is a different kind of product, one based on higher-friction and more substantive signals of usage than “engagement” or “time spent.” We don’t want to make sticky interfaces or zero-sum attention battleground feeds; we want to help creators and readers achieve trust-based, valuable relationships that sustain careers and grow over time.

Doing so means learning from other scaled network products without inheriting all of their solutions; it means imagining a different internet, one without A/B tested headlines, algorithm-gaming, or the centralizing pressures advertising-models bring. In some senses, it’s a second bite at the apple, informed both by what’s gone well and what’s gone poorly with the internet to date. From commodity-standard features that need to be slightly reimagined to wholly new solutions to content distribution requirements, Design at Substack is pragmatic, deliberate, and balanced; we use data and “best practices” alongside innovation and historical sources to solve problems for the good of all our constituencies.

Substack is growing rapidly, both in usage and in scope, and as we develop our publication tools, reading interfaces, community spaces, moderation systems, and much, much more, we’re looking for adventurous designers who want to explore a model-level alternative to the content networks of our time. If you’re interested and meet the requirements, let us know!

Responsibilities

  • Rapidly build context about disparate product areas, community dynamics, and industry norms in several domains, from print media to podcasting to online social systems
  • Identify high-leverage opportunities for your team and help make their pursuit practicable through rigorous path-conception, batch-sizing, staging, and go to market planning
  • Design and implement beautiful, usable, scalable interfaces and flows for a wide range of product zones (from profiles to CRM / analytics, publication aesthetics to moderation systems, email layouts to interactive content actions, and so much more)
  • Think holistically about the second-order effects on Substack as a product system; balance user groups, weigh trade-offs, and pragmatically find solutions which achieve the most possible given various constraints
  • Find ways to help creators and readers build long-lasting, rewarding, and healthy relationships; empower readers to become contributors and creators, and to help creators reach new heights
  • Help diversify the kinds of creators Substack supports, through novel media type support, alternative reader experiences, supporting outreach programs, and more
  • Shape the culture and processes of Design at Substack, joining a small team still finding its footing and defining itself in a scaling company

Requirements

  • All product design applications must link to or include a portfolio. This portfolio needn’t be overly polished, although excellently presented work might stand out; our focus will above all be on whether you’ve demonstrated the capacity to craft design solutions in relevant or related product areas
  • 2+ years of experience designing software; we’re especially keen to see experience with social networks; content networks; or content systems or products of various kinds; but any experience building software interfaces applies (note: if you do not have this experience but believe you can hit the ground running, shipping high quality software immediately, feel free to apply)
  • High degree of competence with Figma

Substack is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or transgender status), age, national origin, veteran or disability status. We’re seeking people passionate about enabling independent expression and building a better business model for creators. If you want to see what media, communities, and content can become when unmoored from advertising models, and you have the skills and experience to contribute, we’d love to meet you.