General Application

Currently, we are particularly interested in hearing from visual designers.

A design team sitting around a large table talking in a sunny office.

Currently, we are particularly interested in hearing from visual designers.

Thanks for your interest in joining PPL! We’re always open to talking to folks who have the skills, experience, and passion to join our team. We may not be hiring for a specific role right now, but you can share your interest with us through this form.  

People typically join us in one of three short-term roles — as an intern, associate, or fellow. Interns are undergraduate or graduate students who are currently enrolled in school. Associates have up to 2.5 years of work experience, and fellows have more than 2.5 years of work experience.

Currently, we are focused on hiring visual designers with at least 2.5 years of professional design experience. Formal design training is preferred.

What is PPL like? 

PPL uses methods from design, technology, and social science to improve the lives of disadvantaged Americans, primarily by conducting policy- and service-design projects with government agencies.

Note that we’re not an advocacy organization: we work inside systems to create systems change. But we are an organization that cares about centering the voices of members of the public.  

Our work is intense. The policies we seek to (re)design often serve people who are dealing with poverty or ill health or violence. In response, we work with purpose. We have a fast-paced, collaborative work environment, and we strive for excellence in our analyses and product-making.

That said, we are a friendly and optimistic bunch of people. We like to have fun while we struggle. Things are especially lively on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when our New York City staff come to the office. We do have some lovely team members who are permanently on the West Coast, so Zoom is still very much a part of our daily life. 

We believe that examining the work is as necessary as doing the work, so we carve out time to think about why and how we do things here. We also understand that everyone is a human with a life, so when things happen, we are quick to support each other and pitch in on what needs to get done. We also love office snacks—yum! 

What are you like? 

You love a grid, have favorite fonts, care about visual storytelling, and believe in strict hierarchy in information architecture (if nowhere else). You like making things that are beautiful, but your priorities are clarity, usability, and legibility. 

You have a sharp eye for detail and excellent pattern-recognition skills; inconsistencies in content or layout nag at you. You find it easy to imagine an object—or a concept—and then mentally transform it in scale or orientation. 

You may or may not have worked in the public sector before, but past work at a design agency or other professional-services firm will help you make sense of our pace and partner focus. Experience with the Agile process and project management are also helpful. Designers at PPL typically use Adobe, Figma, and Keynote, but being comfortable learning new programs (like Airtable or Mailchimp) is a plus. 

You feel comfortable setting priorities, hitting deadlines, and asking for help when you need it. You’re good at structuring your days and focusing your attention. You’re comfortable giving and receiving feedback in a critique setting.  

You want to design with and for people. You’re interested in getting involved with research with real humans in the real world, be it through online workshops or in-person fieldwork. You’re comfortable engaging with people very different from you, in settings you’ve never experienced before. 

What are the job requirements? 

PPL only hires people based in New York City or are willing to relocate (PPL does not currently offer relocation packages). PPL maintains a hybrid work model, with staff coming to our Dumbo office for collaborative work at a minimum on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (though you’re welcome to come even more frequently if you’d like). Anyone who comes to the office must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

See below for the specific skill sets we are seeking from applicants. 

Required Qualifications 

  • Expertise in Adobe Creative Suite and digital prototyping software, such as Figma and Keynote. 
  • At least 2.5 years of experience as a professional designer, preferably with at least 1 to 2 years at an established agency or design firm. 
  • Experience designing complex communications materials and in prototyping digital and physical products. 
  • Background and interest in human-centered design, with a willingness to participate in in-person design research, including occasional travel to U.S. locations outside of New York City. 
  • Willingness and ability to work with a broad range of partners in a variety of communities, particularly to engage respectfully with individuals from historically under-represented communities and also with people of circumstances and belief systems different from your own.

Desired Qualifications  

We don’t expect any candidate to have all the following skills, but multiple of them will be appreciated: 

  • A degree in Graphic or Communications Design or equivalent design program (Master’s degree preferred)
  • Experience in managing project timelines, teams, and work processes. 
  • Familiarity with design stimuli, cultural probes, storyboards, wireframes, and other tools to drive participatory prototyping. 
  • Skills in illustration, video production, web animation, audio engineering, or other narrative storytelling methods. 
  • Comfort with visually expressing and documenting the process behind the work. 
  • Strong writing skills, especially the ability to translate research insights and complex concepts into compelling written stories and content.   

Additional Hiring Priorities 

PPL believes that our work—and all policymaking—will be most effective when we reflect the communities that we serve. With this in mind, we encourage participants to apply who: 

  • have fluency in a major, non-English New York City language, such as Spanish, Mandarin, or ASL,  
  • have experience using means-tested public programs, and/or
  • come from lower-income, LGBTQIA, immigrant, temporarily housed, or justice-system-involved backgrounds. 

What else should you know?

All PPL roles are paid. The range of compensation for PPL roles that might be filled through our general application runs from $65,000 to $137,000.

Work/life balance is important to us. We close our office for several weeks each year and generally restrict work communications to weekday business hours. We offer extensive paid leave and weekly personal hours. 

We believe that good design starts at home: PPL can only generate meaningful policy and service designs if our team finds meaning and satisfaction and growth in our work. We regularly discuss our values, and we explore ways to be better for each other and in the world. 

We are learning to make our hiring practices more inclusive and accessible to those coming from different professional and personal backgrounds. If you need further support or have feedback on ways to make this application easier to navigate, please send us an email at

Employment Policies 

The Public Policy Lab is an Equal Opportunity Employer; all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws. 

We can only consider candidates already authorized to work in the United States. We do not provide relocation expenses. Nothing in this job posting or description should be construed as an offer or guarantee of employment. 

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The Public Policy Lab is a tax-exempt

501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.