Ziba Design

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Ziba Design Reviews

Updated July 22, 2014
Updated July 22, 2014
21 Reviews

2.6
21 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Ziba Design President Sohrab Vossoughi
Sohrab Vossoughi
18 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Inspiring work, amazing people.

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

    Pros

    At Ziba for over 3 years, I worked with some of the most intelligent, driven, ambitious, passionate people I have ever met or had the pleasure to work with. The creative team is without a doubt one of the best out there. The quality of work and camaraderie has yet to be topped in any discipline I have encountered since. Throughout my time at Ziba I continued to learn every day, challenge and be challenged, and gain exposure to minds, markets, and experiences that have shaped my career since.

    Since the change in management, there is a new vitality to Ziba. It is definitely a community - and one that cares about its employees in my experience. I was supported and challenged, mentored and given the opportunity to mentor. Already having a portfolio with some of the most prestigious clients in the world, Ziba is an excellent place to work if you are ambitious, curious, and driven.

    I have not found a place I like working more than Ziba.

    Cons

    Like any agency, Ziba works to create the best end result possible. That does mean a time commitment which sometimes strays outside of normal business hours. Hours can be long, and stress can mount, but if you are signing up to work for an agency, that is par for the course.

    Promotions most commonly come when you prove the case why you should receive one. It is not a place for the timid, or those looking for passive recognition. You definitely have to prove yourself, and put the time in to do so.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to strive for growth, ownership, and a sense of entrepreneurship throughout the company. We learned from earlier managerial systems that micromanaging and competition do not breed the best results. With the current management team in place, however, there is already a change in how the company is structured and run.

    Continue to push for innovation not just in the work, but in how Ziba organizes itself.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    This Place is Terrible: all the positive reviews are from the HR woman who gets paid for hiring.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Research Analyst  in  Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Senior Research Analyst in Portland, OR

    Pros

    Ziba once was a legendary design agency. The glory years where from 1990-2007 where the team of diverse disciplines created some exciting results. It's past reputation is now getting destroyed by the current status.

    Cons

    The philosophy and approach is fragmented. Ziba has re-orged 7+ Times in the last year. Why? All of the talented leadership have left to start their own agencies. The philosophy and way to run the agency is old. The result is undervalued employees, and naive leadership. Although retired Sohrab is the puppet master preventing change. The leadership keeps trying to rescue a sinking ship. Ziba puts on events of topics they have no expertise in. What impact has Ziba had in the market lately?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get real Senior Leadership. This team isn't cutting it. Someone who has a vision and expertise in making an agency a global player.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Great company. Constantly changing and innovativing

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

    Pros

    Great work environment and lots of room to be entrepreneurial and creative. It's a leading firm with the top clients and businesses in the world so it provides plenty of opportunities to work with some great names and projects. They compensate very well for their industry and aren't afraid to change their internal structure and processes to adapt with changing times.

    Cons

    HQ is in Portland...great city but just not for me

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you're doing

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    A very good place to work.

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

    Pros

    This is a good place to work. The new leadership has done good things for the company. I believe they will continue to. The work-life balance is tremendous. The autonomy and flexibility you are given is fantastic. The people are sharp and the opportunities to learn are plentiful. You will get to work on some very cool projects and sometimes will surprise yourself at the quality of what you are able to make when working with other talented people.

    Cons

    There is not necessarily a lot of structure. You need to make things happen that you hope will happen. Promotions, roles, learning opportunities, places on projects, even potential clients in some cases–most of these things won't come to you simply by keeping your head down and working hard. You need to go get them. Don't be complacent or you will likely lose momentum. Salary was a frustration and the client work, while sometimes exciting, was not always the most compelling.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to be transparent. Continue to make bold changes. Foster more accountability and a culture where people desire feedback that will make themselves and the work better. Continue to protect and nurture your employees but don't be afraid to tell them harsh truths when necessary.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Amazing people, lots of opportunity to grow and learn.

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

    Pros

    The people who work here are extremely creative, intelligent and supportive. The leadership team is really accessible and very supportive of people wanting to try out different career paths across the company. The work/life balance is better than you would expect.

    Cons

    As mentioned in a lot of other reviews, this can be a challenging place to work because of the high quality of work that is always expected. Another thing to note, is that to develop here you have to take ownership of your own path and be proactive about pursing the things you want to learn and gain.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the positive momentum. Continue to be transparent and accessible in your decisions and process.

    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Big learning, big opportunities, great team

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

    Pros

    You will work with some of the smartest and most-dedicated people in your entire career. The work/life balance is great. The new management team is doing some really good stuff, and I think that this will pay dividends over the coming years.

    Cons

    It's not for the faint of heart. You have to be tough and you have to be really good to work here and stay here. The bar is really high, and you have to be ready for that.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work. Make great change, slowly. Take care of your people and they will take care of you.

    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Like a dying chameleon of the design world...

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

    Pros

    Broken record (those are in the lobby by the way) but the creatives below the line are the best you'll ever meet. Wonderful people who are capable of doing such great work, if more time was spent making, and less just spinning of the wheels. ZIBA has a heritage of great design, and like a beaten and broken african lion you can see the glimmer of passion JUST behind the eyes of a once passionate creature. The facilities are for the most part quite nice, although don't expect an inch of privacy working there. The open model floor plan looks nice on first viewing, but there's a clear separation between those who make, and those who just talk. Again, great people for the most part. That's about it.

    Cons

    ZIBA is a like the Talented Mr Ripley of the Portland design world. Meaning they tend to get acquire someone who once, by association, worked in a field that ZIBA wants to play in. Now with that person they trumpet how they are now capable of playing in that new field. For example wearable technology. ZIBA has no expertise in this field, however by hosting a panel discussion, and putting out a video about wearable technology, they are now 'thought leaders' in the field. Smoke and mirrors.

    Like a dying husk of a formerly 'decent' company you'll see examples of work that past designers have made before leaving for greener pastures, now being shown off to current clients under the guise of current capabilities. No where is this better exemplified by their lobby, showing off work from TDK from 3+ years ago. The talented crew that did this work moved on, and took this client with them. And as a sad state of affairs nothing besides USB speakers, cheap iphone add ons, and failed UX media interfaces are even remotely close to the work that once represented the company.

    Outside of gleaming while office space, you have a floor plan that's inconvenient, bizarre, and affords no privacy as a designer. An infrastructure that might be the envy of startup companies in the late 90's (the internet is slow and the internal network is embarrassing). The management makes the one from Office Space look like titans of the industry, with verbal beratings for how designers should manage their hours, when management isn't bringing in new work, but rather coasting on the same clients for years. It's no wonder clients jump ship from ZIBA to smaller agencies, especially those containing the best of the ZIBA employees.

    Zero HR department, which results in some of the most unprofessional behavior I've ever seen. You have 'professionals' who can't have adult conversations, so you'll hear comments or complaints about your work third or fourth hand from people who are NOT your managers. This leads to resentment and difficult working conditions. All of this would be fine if the pay was somewhat fair, but it's not. People are promoted for no rhyme or reason, there are creative directors there who couldn't creative direct their way out of a box, and those CDs who are capable are so overworked they can't afford more than the most measly of oversight.

    This is a company that has squandered talented resources, such as their wonderful model shop, passed on growing internal capabilities such as photography and video, and in the process kept pumping out out of date design work that's frankly embarrassing. It's no surprise that they've had to hire so many outside agencies to help deliver the work they've told their clients they are capable of.

    Better work is being done by better companies. And those that believe ZIBA helps write your own ticket, please beware, outside of ZIBA's 'reality distortion field' very few in the industry know or respect ZIBA.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give the reigns over to someone who knows what they're doing and actually cares about doing good work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Well, everything has been said about this place here already looking at the sum of reviews

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Industrial Designer  in  Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Industrial Designer in Portland, OR

    Pros

    If you start as a jung designer at ziba you can get a few years of valuable experience that will help you to grow and kick start your career. The relationship to your peers will be exceptional and one of the best in the industry. Employees below management create strong bonds and are sticking together like glue. Well, they have to, given the owners and company culture.

    Cons

    About the owners everything has been said and I can just refer to the other reviews here.
    While you get underpaid below management level, the upper management get a good compensation to buy their loyalty and get them to execute the orders of the owners. Moving up at ziba is not just a question of performance and quality of work, but instead about what values you're willing to give up for money. Given this, it is also easy to identify what reviews here are coming from who; team vs. upper management.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    3rd World Management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Designer  in  Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Designer in Portland, OR

    Pros

    Best co-workers you'll ever have. Other designers are really really great people. Good process. Good place to hone skills post design school. The phone still rings with new business opportunities because Ziba has a good outside reputation. The work is very traditional. Not cutting edge design by a mile, but a good way to learn classic skills. Decent roster of very 'corporate' clients.

    Cons

    The owners verbally whip employees on a daily basis to produce more, work harder, make more money for them. Literally, they yell and cuss people out - daily. Every company meeting is a verbal whipping, rather than an inspiring talk about all the wonderful things going on in design today or the beautiful work our employees have created. It's really bizarre and makes employees wonder if it's legal. There is no HR person, only attorneys on speed dial. Hmmmm........

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Retire.

    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    A sad place that needs real leadership and inspiration

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Account Director  in  Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Account Director in Portland, OR

    Pros

    It is a diverse team, with young creative talent. Most employee's come from an international country and are very optimistic, at first. Portland is an amazing city and a perfect location for a design consultancy.

    Cons

    Ziba went from being an international renowned small company to a large privately owned beast! The company takes advantage of people. As a result, the quality of work has suffered. All of the great directors and crucial team members have left. The new creative leadership and senior team has no idea how to lead or maneuver with-in chaos . New talent get's lured-in by being sold work that has been done by team members that are no longer there, or clients that have moved on. They will offer a low salary promising "cool" projects that never happen. The two owners have no respect for their employee's. They will publicly insult you and make you feel guilty. Most creative companies have high turn around, ziba goes far and beyond that. In one month 30+ people quit. In this age of communication, this is unacceptable, and sad. DO NOT LET THEM LIE TO YOU, ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn how to inspire and value your employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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