Terms of Reference
Design Fellow (Spring Semester)
Innovation Unit, Division of Policy and Strategy
Duration: 3.5 Months
Dates: early January 2016 – mid April 2016 (2 days a week)
Duty Station: New York, USA
Position Type: Unpaid – Fellowship


We are seeking someone who has a passion for merging their design talents with social innovation for children, someone who is curious to know what it’s like to work in a start-up environment and who seeks to grow their portfolio and design intellect.

The UNICEF Innovation Unit Design Fellowship is an opportunity for university-level students or recent graduates to work in a professional environment. The fellow will support the Innovation Unit and Visual Strategy Team in problem solving and design production for our range of innovation products. Ideal candidates will be firmly grounded in visual design principles and have strong communication skills. You will be immersed into an environment where you can learn about innovation in development at start-up and scale-up levels in a variety of countries and be given opportunities to explore how design leads to social impact. Additionally, you will be provided with an opportunity to sculpt your own related project with the support of our multidisciplinary team of accomplished nerds.

What you get out of this fellowship:

  • Mentorship on a personal project related to innovations at UNICEF or other similar tech innovations. The mentorship is not just limited to this project, but any other work you might be doing at your university, including advice on your thesis or other specific focus of work.
  • It’s a great networking opportunity. You get to be a part of an inter-disciplinary, international, diverse and extremely fun team of people at UNICEF that are taking great projects from start-up to scale-up. This not only includes the team at New York Headquarters but also our point people in the country offices we work with.
  • Grow your visual design portfolio and know-how by working on a variety of projects from branding to publication, diagrams to wireframes. We welcome good design and great ideas, with very few limitations that are more uplifting than constraining.


The design fellow will be a part of the of the Innovation Unit at UNICEF NYHQ for one semester. During this time, they will complete the following tasks:

  • Personal project: The candidate can bring their own project that is relevant to the work being done by the Innovation Unit or can research our existing innovations, and develop their own problem statement in which to explore. An output is required and the fellow will work with the Innovation Unit to determine the content and medium.
  • Visual strategy support: Our Visual Strategy Team provides support to country offices for deployment of various innovation products. The candidate will be put on one or more of these product deployment teams to assist on the production of materials such as – logo design, print collateral, website wireframe, front-end dashboards etc. The candidate may also provide support on internal documents which require layout and systems diagramming.
  • Brown bag presentation: The candidate will be required to present their findings from their personal project to the entire UNICEF Innovation team. This can include their learnings, how they have grown in the past semester and what they are taking forward from their time at UNICEF. He/she will work with the Visual Strategy team to prepare and organize the presentation.


The applicant must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree and 1 year of experience in relevant field – ie. graphic design, interaction design, visual communication, media design, system design or others – and have proven experience in translating complex ideas into unified storytelling visuals. Qualifications include:

  • Familiarity with graphic design fundamentals.
  • Familiarity with the Adobe Mastersuite.
  • Proven capability of working on a project from the concept to the final design package.
  • An ability to communicate complex, abstract concepts using both visual and written language.
  • Experience with working with a unique team and being able to parse through large amounts of information in order to create simplified and clear designs.
  • Strong knowledge of design platforms like Adobe Creative Suite, design techniques, software, data visualization.
  • Self-starter and able to time-manage oneself.
  • Ability to work with a diverse team in a rapidly-changing work environment.
  • Knowledge of SMS technology and mobile usage in developing countries and a familiarity with UNICEF Innovation Labs is a plus.
  • Experience in print, digital, UX/UI design, data visualization

Additional Experience and Knowledge:

  • Familiarity with open-source technology
  • Familiarity with development/programming language
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Design preparation and production skills
  • Experience creating visually appealing technical guidance pieces
  • Ability to work in a team and rapidly-changing work environment


UNICEF has been innovating for children for more than 60 years. The Innovation Unit in New York supports the organization’s 135+ country offices in finding solutions for the world’s most vulnerable children. The UNICEF innovation work includes both policy and practice of innovation in UNICEF, and the larger UN. UNICEF is engaged in testing and scaling up new partnerships, technologies, and collaborations in some of the world’s most difficult operating environments. UNICEF’s system of innovation throughout the organization includes:

  • Innovation Unit in New York: to support UNICEF programmes on the ground and the organisation at large through partnerships, technologies, and connections
  • Innovation node in San Francisco: to build partnerships with the technology sector, and will help scale social innovation start-ups
  • Global Innovation Centre in Nairobi: to scale-up and implement proven, successful innovations globally and foster collaboration among entities in the global south
  • A network of Innovation Labs around the world: to bring together the private sector, academia, and the public sector to develop solutions for key social issues, and ensure we are always watching for new ideas from unexpected places.


Please submit the following materials to unicef.jobs@gmail.com with the Subject line –  “Application: Design Fellowship”:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Resume/CV
  3. Work samples/portfolio: You can provide us with URL to your portfolio or email us a PDF of your work.

Application Deadline: 19 December 2015.
Questions can be directed to unicef.jobs@gmail.com with the Subject line: “QUERY: Design Fellowship Spring Semester 2016”

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