Product Designer

1 year ago

Job Description

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 make sticky interfaces or zero-sum attention battleground features; instead, we want to help creators and audiences 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 the centralizing pressures advertising models bring. In some senses, it's a second bite at the apple for any designer interested in this space, 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 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!


  • 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 best outcomes possible given various constraints
  • Find ways to help creators and audiences build long-lasting, rewarding, and healthy relationships; empower audience members to become contributors and creators
  • 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


  • 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. While some of our designers code, not all do, and this is not a requirement. But you must be fast and capable with Figma.
  • High tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. Substack is still becoming a company, and much remains up for debate; everything from cycle plans to organizational structure to top-line strategy can change โ€”and willโ€” so a certain degree of adventurousness or heartiness is required, as it can all get rather messy!
  • Interest in both independence and collaboration. Sometimes, we must be team players; at other times, we must strike out to explore and find new areas of opportunity. You should be at least comfortable with both modes of operation.

The expected salary range for this role is $150K - $215K / year (USD). We also offer industry-standard benefits and perks, and of course equity.

About Substack

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Substack lets writers connect with their audience on their own terms and earn money doing it. We make it simple for writers to publish to an email list that they own, get discovered on the web, and charge for subscriptions.

More than 500,000 people pay to subscribe to writers across the Substack network, and the top writers make millions of dollars a year. Substackโ€™s model depends on the success of writers using Substack โ€“ we only make money when they do.

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