Smart Design

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Smart Design Reviews

Updated November 16, 2014
Updated November 16, 2014
10 Reviews
4.0
10 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Davin Stowell
7 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Design is about people

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Designer in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Smart Design full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Smart Design's greatest asset is its people. They're fun, creative, some of the most talented in the industry, and rarely take themselves too seriously. That's a pretty special combination, especially given the nature of consulting. There's an authenticity to the staff that can't be faked. The San Francisco studio, where I worked, felt more like family than simply a set of coworkers. I was inspired to come to work everyday because I was sure to learn something new.

    Cons

    Smart is an organization built upon proactive well-meaning people. That's what makes it work well, but if you're not willing to jump in and make it work, it might not be the place for you. Clearly established processes and willingness to invest financially in internal tools are not high on the priority list. I've loved it here, but it's certainly what you make of it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Smart has done amazing work over the years, but is at an inflection point in terms of defining itself in the changing market of hardware and software. Leadership needs to strongly establish their point of view. It's about more than great industrial design now. Spending a little more on internal initiatives might be necessary to create the right show pieces.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Unbeatable Culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at Smart Design as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great company culture, talented people, and nice office

    Cons

    Need to be more relevant

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Company

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Smart Design full-time

    Pros

    Awesome people to work with

    Cons

    No ping pong table in SF

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get a Ping Pong table in SF

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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    designer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Industrial Designer in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Industrial Designer in New York, NY

    I have been working at Smart Design full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    good working environment, great company culture

    Cons

    low salaries, poor business management

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Smart Design is a great place to learn from interesting people from all over the world.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Designer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Designer in New York, NY

    I worked at Smart Design

    Pros

    This is a really fun place to work, in a great environment with many interesting people from all over the world. You'll learn a lot.
    Many of the designers who once worked here moved on to do greater things, myself included.
    But there is no better place to start out as a young designer, plus you do get to work in a really cool office in the middle of NYC.
    The job has good benefits and you get to travel quite a bit. Smart Design has many interesting clients in just as many different fields, so you can satisfy all your curiosities and/or develop special interests.

    Cons

    You won't be getting rich while you work there, and NYC (and San Francisco, or Barcelona) are expensive cities. Also, don't plan on meeting your friends right after work (unless all your friends work with you) because you'll be working until most folks are already done with dinner and back home.
    Don't know if this is a pro or a con, but Smart knows that they give you a good name for your resume, and somewhat take advantage of it. So most people move on after a while, which is just fine by them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work, just pay a little better. Your competition does.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Smart design: a wonderful, creative place

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY

    I worked at Smart Design

    Pros

    At Smart Design, one is constantly surrounded by creative and intelligent minds with innovative ideas and much experience. Employees at Smart definitely feel like part of a team.

    Cons

    I was not there long enough to see many of the downsides. In fact I don't know of any, except maybe those in senior positions might travel frequently.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I really enjoy the projects at Smart that deal with large scale problems, the outcome of which benefit humanity. Gender studies, for example, that cater medical design to womens' needs. These are the projects that make me admire Smart and I hope to see more and more as time goes by.

    Recommends
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    The Goldilocks of world-class design consultancy...just right!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Director
    Current Employee - Associate Director

    I have been working at Smart Design full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Historic legacy and deep expertise meets nimble flexibility and continual growth - not in numbers of people but quality of focus. Smart works at a global scale for maximum impact, yet still feels like it's run by a handful of passionate friends.

    Cons

    Dynamism and growth isn't always easy, and can mean some aches and pains along the way, but Smart offers you the opportunity to take the reigns and help steer the ship into the future.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Managing Director, Oversee all aspects of the business

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Smart Design full-time

    Pros

    Challenging but has been a wonderful experience learning to deal with 100 things at a time.

    Cons

    Stressful and realized how hard it is to manage and motivate other people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    No advice

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great team, unsure future

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Design Intern
    Former Employee - Design Intern

    I worked at Smart Design as an intern

    Pros

    Smart is comprised of a great team of diverse designers and non-designer support staff who understand the design process.

    Cons

    Overall direction of the company seems transitional and although it seems headed in the right direction things are still shaky. It seems to need a bit more direction from management.

    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great spot for experience, great people.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Smart Design

    Pros

    Smart is a leading design firm, and a job there is a coveted position. The people that you work with each day are what make it great...down to earth and bright folks who love what they do.

    Cons

    It's no secret Smart is one of the lower paying consultancies out there. Great spot for experience and a chance to do some diverse and interesting work, but not so much if you're saving for kids' college, house, etc.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hang onto the startup feel, don't let growth bring with it the negatives of a larger firm.

    No opinion of CEO

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