Design Systems Lead

United States /
Product – Product Management /
Permanent full time
Papa and our Papa Pals represent a new category of care, to quite literally meet our members where they are. Social determinants of health, including the public health crisis that is loneliness,  have huge impacts on people’s health, and on their lives. The Papa team and our tens of thousands of Papa Pals are here to provide companionship, support, and care to millions of families.

Backed by amazing partners, Papa has raised $240M in funding. Our investors include SoftBank Vision Fund 2, TCG, Tiger Global Management, Canaan, Comcast Ventures, Pivotal Ventures (Melinda Gates’ fund), Initialized Capital, Sound Ventures (Ashton Kutcher’s fund), YCombinator, Operator Partners, and Magnify Ventures.

Papa, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer. We proudly support the ParityPledge® for gender and/or racial parity at the highest levels of business.

About the Role:
The design team at Papa works across multiple touch-points to create products and experiences for our Pals, Members, Care Givers, and the internal teams that support them. Digital touch-points are at the center of everything we do and we are looking for a collaborative and influential designer to lead the effort in establishing a cross platform design system or systems. Why system or systems? — because we need you to help us figure out the best way to approach this as we grow. 
This person will provide strategic leadership to guide and shape how teams build new experiences, share common capabilities /  tools, and explore new solutions to scale innovation. You’ll be responsible for creating the foundational patterns, UI components, tools, and documentation that empowers Papa’s strategic design vision across all sides of our marketplace Collaborating with design, research and engineers across all of our product offerings.

Reporting to the VP of design, you’ll work along side other designers and design leadership while also fostering productive relationships with partners across the organization including: Marketing, Growth, Product, Engineering

Essential Job Functions:

This is an opportunity to define and build a design system from the ground up. Initially, this role will be a “player / coach” who works with existing team members to collaboratively move this work forward. Long term, there is an opportunity for the role to lead a multi disciplinary team or continue to grow as a strategic leader. Either way, you’ll have a guiding voice in envisioning, delivering, and continuously pushing the future of our design system(s) to create cohesive experiences at every touchpoint.
You are a strong systems thinker and visual designer with hands-on experience contributing to design systems libraries for both consumer and enterprise products. You know a design system is more than documentation, it’s the way we work together. You naturally cross borders and break down silos between disciplines, empowering designers and engineers to work quickly with high standards for quality and consistency.

Key Responsibilities:

    • Collaborate with designers to establish, evolve, and document a Papa design system across mobile (iOS and Android) and responsive web including:
    • Overarching principles that guide our work and create continuity across platforms and touch-points
    • Guidelines and interaction patterns that define when, why, and how to leverage one pattern or component over another.
    • Creation of component libraries in Figma across various scales to ensure product wide visual consistency.
    • Collaborate with engineering and QA to identify ways to remove barriers, enable seamless designer-to-developer collaboration, and create a shared understanding or source of truth between the teams.
    • Ensure our design system meets — and exceeds — baseline accessibility requirements.
    • Champion appropriate usage and growth of design systems in a rapidly scaling organization
    • Establish a process for collecting feedback and evolving the design system(s)
    • Identify ways to measure the value and success of our design system(s)
    • As a leader, you will establish and uphold standards of quality; you’ll ensure everyone across the organization understands what “great” looks like.
    • Identify ways to elevate design within our company and help position Papa as one of the best places to work as a designer.

What You Bring:

    • Ability to collaborate and co-design with other designers, engineers, and stakeholders such as marketing and growth.
    • Non-hierarchical, with a willingness to roll-up your sleeves and dive into details.
    • A lack of ego, driven by group outcome, not individual outcome.
    • Inquisitive by nature. Your first instinct is to ask questions instead of rushing to an answer.
    • Systems thinker who loves working across and connecting various scales of visual and interaction design elements. This includes all aspects of UI such as weight, color, spacing, and typographic styles.
    • Able to see the forest through the trees and can disconnect from the immediate problems of today to see how they connect to the bigger picture and system. More importantly, you can prioritize through this lens to strategically move the work forward.
    • You take initiative and accountability for timelines and results, able to balance methodological rigor with scrappiness and urgency.
    • Invested in the long game and have a willingness to see things through if challenges or unexpected obstacles arise.
    • Working knowledge of web and mobile technologies. At a minimum, you are able to talk to developers and collaborate efficiently by building trust and respect through a shared understanding of what it takes to implement a design. Bonus points if you’ worked alongside of react native tech stacks.
    • Strong point of view regarding design tools, systems, and processes.
    • Committed to supporting a diverse, inclusive, and collaborative work environment.


    • 8+ years of experience in digital product/visual design for web and mobile software, with 3+ years experience leading the creation of scalable design systems.
    • Portfolio or work samples of design systems that demonstrate abilities in holistic systems design, visual design, interaction design, prototyping and product thinking.
    • Technical understanding of how to build and architect scalable design systems across platforms. 
    • Experience working within a user-centered design process.
    • Proficiency in Figma and other software to create design concepts, prototypes, assets and specifications.
    • Skills such as illustration, photography, animation, data visualization, conducting user interviews, front-end programming or data science are a plus!

Papa’s culture is People-first. While we have an incredible team of hard working Papa people, at the end of the day, our company is really about family and community – and we celebrate that among our employees. We encourage everyone to truly bring their whole authentic selves to work. To be transparent. To be non-hierarchical. And, above all, to be a really good person. 

We see ourselves as a place where every Papa employee feels they belong, a place where careers flourish, a place that brings back purpose and joy to work, a culture where visionaries/entrepreneurs are developed.
Papa’s mission is at the core of our total rewards philosophy wherein we attract and retain high potential talent aligned with our journey. We offer gender neutral and inclusive parental leave policies that offer up to 16 weeks of 100% paid parental leave. We immensely value the benefits of a flexible workplace, while designing remote-first principles we ensured that Papa people feel psychologically safe about their career interests while being remote.

Beyond benefits: We want to take care of the whole employee and their families. To stay true to this commitment, we offer family care leave in addition to a generous paid time off policy, 401(k) match up to 4%; family forming support through access to Carrot; emotional health support tools through our medical plans such as Ginger, Happify ; access to women’s leadership network CHIEF to our senior women leaders and a host of events through a monthly culture calendar that enable emotional connectedness in a remote work environment.