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18F - Visual Designer

This job posting has closed.

Please see our other open positions.

18F is hiring for GS-14 - Visual Designer. This page contains information related to the role as well as a link to submit your application. Check out Join TTS Hiring Process to learn more about the application process.

Location: Virtual (100% Remote); Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; New York, NY

Salary Range: The base salary range for this position is: GS-14 Step 1 - $89,370 to GS-14 Step 10 $116,181

Please note the maximum salary available for the GS pay system is $166,500

The base salary range does not include any adjustment for locality. Your locality is most likely going to be determined by where you live since most of our positions are remote. If the position isn’t remote, then your locality will be determined by the location of the office where the position is based.

You can find more information about this in the compensation and benefits section on our site.

For specific details on locality pay, please visit OPM’s Salaries & Wages page or for a salary calculator OPM’s 2019 General Schedule (GS) Salary Calculator.

Who May Apply: All United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands) and applicants must not be GSA employees or contractors

Role Summary:

Visual Designer - GS-14

Visual designers on the 18F experience design team collaborate with agency partners, product managers, other designers, and engineers to deliver user-centered and beautiful digital experiences for audiences both inside and outside of government. Our visual designers go far beyond aesthetics. They work with partners to craft strategies for understanding, defining, creating, and managing visual identities. They establish, measure, and evolve design patterns which make our work consistent and efficient. Our visual designers work with user experience researchers to teach, participate in, and sometimes lead usability testing and user-centered design. And they work with content designers and engineers to develop interactive experiences that treat all aspects of the experience as essential. Strong applicants will have experience with at least one other user-centered design discipline such as communications/content design, front end design, interaction design, or service design.

As an 18F visual designer, you’ll work on cross-functional teams of experts in design, product strategy, technical architecture, software engineering, and procurement. Besides creating and maintaining clear, accessible visual systems, you’ll also help our partners improve (or develop) their user-centered design practices and promote visual best practices across government.

The products 18F helps design and create are as varied as the ways the government serves the public. That’s why our designers focus on learning from our partners’ expertise and reflecting that to their users in a clear, consistent way even more than they focus on trying to create beautiful products. You’ll work with our partners more than for them, so that at the end of an engagement, those partners are in a better position to keep building on the work they came to 18F for in the first place.

We’re looking for candidates who have delivered visual design artifacts iteratively, who have wrestled with the challenges of producing intelligent and compelling visual design systems (large or small) in large organizations that have to balance competing interests, who love to help others discover better ways of creating design for real users even more than they love making it.

Key Objectives

Objective #1: Lead projects from a visual design perspective.

  • Coach agency partners through the visual design process and establish a shared vision for the user experience
  • Identify user and organizational needs through formal interviews, informal conversations, contextual inquiry, workshops, and analytics research
  • Identify visual design opportunities through exercises such as brand/interface audits, comparative or competitive analyses, gap analyses, and system mapping, and make recommendations based on what you discover
  • Navigate complex organizational relationships to bring stakeholders together around shared design systems or visual identity goals and priorities
  • Give agency partners and peers advice they need to hear versus what they want to hear, in a manner that respects their intelligence and experience

Objective #2: Deliver high-quality, user-centered visual design for agency partners.

  • Create clear, inclusive, accessible, and extensible visual styles and components in a fast-paced, collaborative environment
    Examples include selecting and applying appropriate styles from the U.S. Web Design System, building interface patterns, prototypes, landing pages, logo and identity designs, brand or design principles, pattern libraries, research findings with visual storytelling, and product launch materials
  • Iterate quickly by collaborating on prototypes at various levels of fidelity
  • Incorporate continuous feedback from users, peers, and stakeholders by leading design-focused usability and critique sessions
  • Implement style changes in GitHub, or pair with engineers to implement and review them collaboratively. Make visual design work visible in shared project management tools
  • Uphold our team values of being clear, concise, inclusive, curious, and honest — in both your designs and daily collaboration

Objective #3: Contribute to the continued success of the visual design team and shared resources.

  • Continually promote 18F’s ways of working by making a strong case for iterative, user-centered design on every project
  • Contribute to team-wide resources and training materials, including tutorials, guides, presentations, and design toolkits
  • Recognize when practices or processes are inconsistent or no longer serve the team, and recommend a way forward to improve effectiveness or efficiency
  • Share your work in an unfinished state and give peer feedback in weekly critique sessions and drop-in labs
  • Learn about accessible and inclusive visual design practices and evangelize them throughout your work and partnerships
  • Promote the practice of visual design in workshops, office hours, brown bags, and design-related events
  • Write and publish conversational blog posts to raise awareness about the team’s work and promote the 18F brand

Basic Information

Location: Virtual (100% Remote); Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; New York, NY

Salary Range: Base salary GS-14 - $89,370 to $116,181

If you are a new federal employee, your starting salary will likely be set at the Step 1 of the grade for which you are selected. Total compensation may include locality pay based on the individual’s duty location. For more salary information including locality pay details, please visit OPM’s Salaries & Wages page.

Who May Apply: All United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands) and applicants must not be GSA employees or contractors

Job announcement number: tbd

Opening and closing period for this job application: tbd EDT to tbd EDT

Job Title: Innovation Specialist

Series & Grade: 0301 - 14

Promotion Potential: GS-14

Number of vacancies: 1 (Additional vacancies may be filled from this announcement as needed)

Supervisory status: No

Travel requirement: Occasional travel may be required up to 10%-20% per year

Security clearance: Public trust. Background investigation required.

Work Schedule: Full time

Appointment Type: Excepted Service: Not to exceed 24 months (2 years); may be extended for an additional 2 years for a maximum of 4 years total.

Job Summary

This is a Schedule A position under 5 CFR 213.3102(r) to hire unique technical skills to develop innovative digital tools and services in the Excepted Services, US Digital Service 18F Fellowship Program. The 18F office is charged with developing innovative digital tools and services and uses lean startup and agile development principles to collaborate with other agencies to fix technical problems, build products, and improve how government serves the public through technology.

As an Innovation Specialist, the team member serves the government and makes an impact on a massive scale. The position requires that fellows perform work of an exceptional degree of difficulty across a wide range of topics at the convergence of technology, policy, and delivery. The incumbent leverages their experience deploying high quality, user centric platforms and services to lead major initiatives, consult on systems and policy proposal, and provide technical, policy, and programmatic guidance to government.

This position is located within the General Services Administration (GSA), Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), Technology Transformation Service (TTS), Office of 18F.

GSA has been repeatedly named as one of the ‘Best Places to Work’ in the federal government. You will have access to many benefits including:

  • Health insurance (choose from a wide range of plans)
  • Life insurance coverage with several options
  • Sick leave and vacation time, including 10 paid holidays per year
  • Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401(k) plan)
  • Flexible work schedules and telework
  • Transit and child care subsidies
  • Training and development
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Training and development

Key Requirements

  1. You must be a U.S. Citizen or National (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands)
  2. Suitable for federal employment, determined by a background investigation
  3. You may be required to serve a trial period
  4. Direct Deposit of salary check to financial organization required
  5. Register with Selective Service, if you are required by

Employment Requirements

  • Serve a one year trial period, if required
  • Undergo and pass a background investigation. You must be granted this clearance before you can start the job
  • Have your identity and work status eligibility verified if you are not a GSA employee. We will use the Department of Homeland Security’s e-Verify system for this
  • Any discrepancies must be resolved as a condition of continued employment
  • Complete a financial disclosure report to verify that no conflict, or an appearance of conflict, exists between your financial interest and this position


Typical duties for the fellow include but are not limited to: Conceiving/recommending projects/studies to advance the state of the art in the specialty area; applying forward­ thinking design and development principles to product or services development, delivery and program management, such as lean startup, user­centered design, and agile development; Analyzing and scoping the technical and policy requirements needed to implement complex digital solutions; Assessing the state of digital services provided by the Federal Government, and working to align strategies and practice; conferring with key government/private officials and top experts in the field, representing the agency at technical symposia and/or conferences; Developing authoritative papers/reports; developing and leading adoption of government­wide standards for digital services, leading to their adoption across citizen and business­facing government services; Demonstrating thought leadership and contributing best practices in a variety of technologies and principles; Contributing to a talent strategy that includes recruiting innovators and entrepreneurs to participate in solving complex and esoteric challenges.


We will use a method called Category Rating to assess your application.

Here’s how it will work:

You will be scored based on a review of your application materials, measuring your possession of each of the following competencies

  • Visual identity design: The ability to create and maintain a consistent, recognizable, and meaningful visual language
  • Design systems: The ability to create a collection of reusable, combinable components that adhere to a set of standards that define a consistent user experience
  • Design methods: The ability to design interactive digital products, systems, and services
  • Teamwork & collaboration: The ability to work cooperatively with others to accomplish objectives and build inclusive and mutually-beneficial partnerships
  • TTS core values alignment: The ability to work with integrity, transparency and resiliency in civic minded or high impact driven environment

If found to be eligible and at least minimally qualified for the position, your score will be used to place you in a category (Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified).

If your resume does not support your possession of the competencies listed above, we may lower your score, which could place you in a lower category.

Within each category, veterans will receive selection priority over non-veterans if supported by appropriate documentation.


All applications will be reviewed by a panel of subject matter experts against a scoring rubric created for this role. In order to properly be able to evaluate your previous experience, we recommend being as detailed as possible in your resume and following our general guidance on creating federal style resume.

To qualify for this role, you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-13 in the Federal service. Specialized experience is:

  1. Experience leading the design of digital products as part of a cross-functional team. This experience must include ALL of the following:
    • Managing or leading teams of designers or the design process on a project
    • Mentoring, coaching, or training clients, partners, or team members
  2. Experience crafting digital experiences using visual identity and design system methodologies. Experience must include ALL of the following:
    • Conducting visual identity or brand design
    • Conducting research activities to identify user needs
    • Creating wireframes, prototypes, or other early tested concepts
    • Designing for desktop and mobile devices
    • Using agile, lean or other iterative product development approaches

Qualification determinations cannot be made when resumes do not include the required information, so failure to provide this information may result in disqualification.

For each job on your resume, provide:

  • the exact dates you held each job (from month/year to month/year or “present”)
  • number of hours per week you worked (if part time)

How To Apply

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