Employer Spotlight: Redshift in San Francisco, CA

Redshift is a digital agency focused on user experience design, interactive media and Internet business strategy. They believe in good ideas and working with smart people. David Westen, Founder and Principal of Redshift, answered my questions about why designers in the San Francisco area should be paying attention to this boutique UX firm. 

What does believing in "good ideas and working with smart people" mean at Redshift?

Great ideas drive everything we do at Redshift. They’re at the heart of great design, great technology, and great business. More than anything else, we think of ourselves as expert creative thinkers.

We’ve built an extraordinary and diverse team of designers and technologists. We’re deep enough to handle projects for the world’s top brands, but small enough to fit in one big room.

We work with some of the biggest names in tech: Google, Symantec, Cisco, OpenTable, etc. But we also make an effort to work with startups that are in the early stages of building their businesses. This gives us a chance to exercise our entrepreneurial side as well as work on high-profile projects. 

The view from the Redshift loft

What do Redshift employees look forward to/enjoy the most about working there?

We love our studio. We have a beautifully furnished, brick-and-timber office in a great downtown neighborhood. It's an open plan, so we can easily collaborate and look over each other's shoulders whenever we want. We think of it as a creative laboratory where we can collaborate, share, and play.

What is the culture like at Redshift?

Our agency has a strong personality. REDSHIFT team members are:

  • Highly intelligent
  • Creative
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Tuned in to design
  • Opinionated (but not stubborn)


  • Love to generate new ideas
  • Seek unconventional solutions
  • Welcome friendly debate
  • Care about the way things look
  • Laugh at ourselves (and sometimes other people)

What "above and beyond" benefits/perks are offered to employees of Redshift?

We offer competitive salaries and full health benefits to all employees. We are one of very few small businesses to offer a company-sponsored 401(k) plan; the company's contribution is automatic (that is, we make a contribution to the 401(k) even if the employee doesn't). Our vacation policy is liberal; employees can take time whenever they want (within reasonable limits). We also have an automatic "beach day" whenever the temperature reaches 85 degrees in San Francisco!

Even the walls at Redshift speak to their mission

What is the first thing you look for when interviewing a potential candidate?

We’re ridiculously picky when it comes to hiring; we hire less than 1% of our job applicants. For every role, we look for intelligence, creativity, and impeccable taste.

What was the most memorable/impressive resume, cover letter, or approach you've ever received from a hopeful hire?

Portfolio work is usually more important than resume or cover letter. Some of my favorite portfolios recently have included startup ideas that candidates concepted, designed and prototyped themselves. I also remember a great website from one of our designers that featured a weirdly beautiful full-screen background video of a deer in the forest.

Why should anyone work for Redshift as opposed to your competition? 

We offer the chance to work on big projects, in a small collaborative environment. We are also a young growing agency, so everyone who joins our team has an opportunity to help shape the company. 

The brick-and-timber office makes it easy to feel inspired

How do you keep learning and exposure to new trends a priority for all employees? 

We keep in shape. A lot of people think that creative ability is something you’re born with. That’s partly true, but we prefer to think of creativity as a skill that can be improved through practice. And we practice a lot.

Each week we gather for team exercises, brainstorming sessions, and show-and-tell presentations. We study trends in design and technology, and are constantly learning. It provokes a great discussion amongst the team. Check out our blog to read about the topics in our recent creative meetings. Our blog is here: http://weareredshift.tumblr.com/

We spend a lot of time studying creativity techniques. When it comes to generating ideas, there is no silver bullet; that’s why it’s important to have a wide range of tools to bring to bear on a problem. We have more than 50 techniques just for brainstorming!

...we prefer to think of creativity as a skill that can be improved through practice. And we practice a lot.

Tell me more about the Senior Visual Designer role you are currently seeking talent for. 

The Senior Visual Designer role will play a significant part in helping our team bring life to our ideas. In collaboration with the UX team, visual designers design the visual system. We're looking for the brightest designers in the Bay Area to push themselves and us!

If you want to join the Redshift team, apply now for their open Senior Visual Designer position in their SoMa, San Francisco office. The automatic “beach days” are coming, so don't delay! 

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