Smart Design Reviews | Glassdoor

Smart Design Reviews

Updated May 14, 2018
29 reviews

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4.0
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Davin Stowell
15 Ratings

29 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Smart place to be"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Smart Design full-time

    Pros

    Smart, creative people and a culture that values work/life balance.

    Cons

    You will get all the support you ask for - but you have to do the asking.


  2. "cool studio, timid leadership"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Smart Design full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    great people who care about design, fun work

    Cons

    leadership was timid and afraid to take chances

    Advice to Management

    practice what you preach to clients

  3. "Used to be good - Political, poorly run, inflated leadership, too many partners"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Smart Design full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Nice people at lower levels of the company.
    Office was decent.
    Occasionally interesting projects
    They tried to be supportive but it was never actualized.
    The culture was great at first, but slowly got worse and worse.

    Cons

    Be prepared for a political nightmare.
    Too many partners for such a small company. Impossible for any logical decisions to be made. Partners are all men.
    They make business decisions based on personal preferences.
    They also shelter their profits in a separate company.
    Greedy partners that dont encourage their team to be too successful.
    A business run by designers who started a company in the 80's and still relying on that business model.

    Advice to Management

    Does a design company of 100 people need 12 partners? Inflated titles, and inflated egos = a company that gets in its own way.


  4. "You'll be challenged and learn a lot"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Smart Design full-time

    Pros

    You'll work with some brilliant people and will have a lot of opportunity to learn from them - making you a better leader and designer. The culture is amazing. The management is involved and lack ego and will listen - but may not act depending on what you'd like to bring to the project or studio. The space is beautiful and drives creativity.

    Cons

    Coming in as a skilled leader or senior level creative has its challenges at Smart. Trying new things or principles from other firms is a struggle. Partners and CDs tend to be set in their ways and you need to be persistent and patient. Also, work life balance is a bit of a challenge with some client work. Lastly, don't expect a bonus.

    Advice to Management

    Get over yourselves and work on sales and business development - other firms are much better at listening to their clients needs and speaking their language.


  5. "Independent, inquisitive, and warm but can be reluctant to change"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Smart Design full-time

    Pros

    – Independent mindset, practicing user-centered design for four decades
    – Inquisitive and intelligent colleagues from a broad spectrum of specializations
    – Warm, friendly, and casual culture, including the humble, hands-on founder

    Cons

    – Reluctant and slow to adjust to market changes and trending topics
    – Being small and independent means that the financial bottom line is felt by everyone


  6. "project manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Smart Design full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    good home work life balance

    Cons

    no room for growth, felt that there was no where to move

    Advice to Management

    no room for growth


  7. "more than a job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Industrial Designer
    Current Employee - Industrial Designer
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Smart Design full-time

    Pros

    Diverse projects for young designers, with a wide range of day-to-day responsibilities.

    The best work culture I have ever experienced, with some of the most talented people I know.

    Vast network of successful "ex-Smarties" all around the world.

    Cons

    Project proposals (i.e. work schedules with clients) are not written by or discussed with the creatives producing the deliverable work.

    Small company, so room for growth in title and salary is limited.

    A lot of young talent outgrows the staff level roles and moves on to larger firms.

    Advice to Management

    Tap into your deep well of younger employees for website opinion pieces, internal workshops, and client proposals.

  8. "Sr designer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Industrial Designer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Industrial Designer in New York, NY
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Smart Design full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great culture and people. Great 'springboard' company.

    Cons

    Low pay and little room for career growth within organization.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Valuable Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great amount of responsibility with client projects, amazing colleagues, inspiring office and internal get-togethers.

    Cons

    The directors are almost all men!


  10. "Great place to work but not for everyone"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Smart Design full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    You if have the drive and energy then you will learn so much from some amazing and talented people. However, they may not be there long so don't wait to make friends – don't worry, the culture gives you many opportunities to start life-long friendships. Also, the diversity of work and projects will give you the opportunity to work with other groups and people that often don't exist in consultancies. If you work hard and add to the marketing and business development you can advance rather quickly.

    Cons

    The workload varies, the hours can be long, and the deadlines seem almost impossible to achieve. I found it was easy to overload yourself with internal projects and client work and find yourself struggling to balance it all. The pay also does not make up for the location, hours, and clients they work with. The culture and environment wear off over time and salary is often a reason why they lose great staff to other firms or large organizations. Last but not least, the company seemed to have an identity crisis and kept reinventing itself every other year which confused some us since they never gave enough time for the prior initiative to take hold.

    Advice to Management

    It’s a reclusive leadership circle with a lack of diversity at the top. I was surprised how much untapped or even ignored talents walk out the door.


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