Published • Application due Indefinitely

    Tofugu is looking for an experienced web designer to help us create new features/pages and redesign old ones on (primarily) WaniKani as well as Tofugu. Candidates for this position should be at that stage in their professional design life where they have a strong opinion — one based on vast experience, successes, failures, study, contemplation — on how something can, or should be designed. You're way out of that "do what others are doing" stage, and instead are ready (or already) paving your own design path forward. In other words, this is not a position for a junior or middle level designer.

    The Designer role will work with the product designer role to turn project specs (which do work through some rough UI/UX in a fat marker sketch format) into designed web pages for engineers to code into real, usable pages. The expectation is you'll produce layered mockup files (using something like Sketch, though it's really your choice) that are ready (and easy) to convert into code. Maybe you'll write up parts of your design in HTML/CSS — and perhaps even Javascript — during that process, though it's not required.

    In addition, you will create, build out, and maintain our design system. You will create a collection of repeatable components, as well as set the standards for using those components. This will likely start as the development of a pattern library, which will then evolve into a true design system over time. The point is, this role will be in charge of our design system and its progress.

    The Work

    Most of your time will be spent on WaniKani, though you will likely spend some time on the Tofugu Blog as well.

    • Work with product designer(s) to take finished project specs and convert them into a visual design for engineers to code into working pages. Project specs contain written descriptions and fat marker sketches (which include some consideration about the UI and UX) to work off of.
    • Create layered mockup files that can be separated and exported for the coding stage.
    • Help design things other than web pages, too. We send out emails, for example. Heck, we may even get around to making a mobile app one of these days.🤞 Or maybe we need to make a New Year card. What I'm saying is that your "design" work will go beyond the web.
    • You'll be working on mobile and desktop design, and everything in between. You need to be able to design for responsive pages, making them look great and work well no matter the size of the screen.
    • Implement and test designs in HTML and CSS — maybe even Javascript.
    • Create, then consistently develop our pattern library.
    • Evolve our pattern library into a full design system within six months of working at Tofugu. Continue to develop and evolve it after that Version 1 is done, too.
    • Edit photos, illustrations, and graphics for use in your designs. Write up requests to the right people for any of the above things when you need them.


    • You've designed web pages… a lot of them! And you're really, really good at it.
    • You have experience with UI and UX, and have reasonable but strong opinions about what "good" UI and UX is. You can consider them within your design.
    • You care about typography and readability. Tofugu and WaniKani are all about education, making type an important aspect of how we design (even if we don't do a particularly good job at it right now).
    • You are great at working with others — when it comes to design you're going to be in charge. But, design is one of those things where everyone will have a finger in the pie (product design did the rough & macro version, the illustrator added art, engineers are building the thing, someone wrote copy for the page). You should be able to seriously consider ideas and feedback while not being a pushover. You're expected to disagree when you disagree, but you should be nice about it, too.
    • You get shit done! Design is an art, but you know you have to put the work in to make it happen. You don't just sit around and wait for inspiration to strike. Sometimes you have to design something badly, several times, before the mud stops coming out of the faucet. You're at the point in your career where you can push through mental design blocks and come up with something good (even if it's not always perfect).
    • You're okay with breaking with design convention. Sometimes "beautiful" design isn't the best design for what the user needs. Sometimes ugly or difficult to use leads to better learning, and that's what we're here to do.
    • Although you have access to colleagues, you're great at being autonomous in your work. We're all remote, and the ability to figure out (most) problems by yourself is a must. You don't need permission, or an opinion, on everything to move it forward — at the same time you are good at soliciting feedback from the right people when it seems important.


    Job Type: Part-time, Hourly, Contractor (10-20 hrs/week)
    Work Hours: Flexible, M-F
    Work Location: Remote, Worldwide
    Pay: $100/hr, + $25/hr after six months

    The hours for this role working hours are "whenever you want," so long as you're able to work with product design to create design mockups from project specs, as well as work with engineering, art, and copywriters to implement your design. This is a contractor position.

    The person offered this role will need to complete a paid trial period at around ten hours a week for one to two months before a continued agreement is formalized (and hours are adjusted/increased).

    If you think you would be really good at this, you have the experience, and you would like to help Tofugu and WaniKani to develop new features and improve old ones for our learners, we'd love to talk!

    To apply, please put together the following:

    • Resumé, or something that shows your past experience (PDF if possible, please).
    • "Cover Letter+", or some other kind document that tells me about you, your philosophy, and you're experience. You'll almost certainly go beyond the typical "one page" of a typical cover letter, so don't worry about that. PDF if possible, please. 10MB limit. I'd love to learn about:
      • Why are you applying.
      • Your design experience.
      • Your portfolio/work done.
      • How you'll add value to our mission.
      • How you measure success in design.
      • What you would do if you were hired.
      • What you'll need to do it.

    When you've put together all of the above, please fill out and upload the documents to the following form:

    You will receive an email response letting you know if you made it to the next step. We get a lot of applications, so it might take a little while. Please be patient! The hiring process for this position is:

    1. Submit application
    2. Short Interview (30-45 minutes)
    3. Long Interview (~two to three hours)
    4. Reference Interviews
    5. Offer
    6. Trial Period of ~10 hrs/week up to four to eight weeks.

    Interviews, steps, ordering and the like are subject to change, but the above is how it usually works.

    If you have any questions, email