Career Development

What Does a Design Manager Do?

Find out what a design manager does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a design manager.

Design managers are responsible for overseeing the design process on projects ranging from websites to mobile apps to physical products. They work with a team of designers, developers and other stakeholders to ensure that each project meets its goals and deadlines.

Design managers may also be involved in hiring new employees or training existing staff members. This is especially true if they’re working at a large company where there might be multiple teams working on different projects at once.

Design Manager Job Duties

A design manager typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Creating a design brief based on the client’s needs and desired end result
  • Ensuring that designs meet client specifications, industry standards, and legal requirements
  • Managing other designers to ensure that projects are completed in a timely manner
  • Managing client relationships and serving as a liaison between designers and clients
  • Providing feedback on design ideas to improve them or identifying problems with them that need to be resolved
  • Assigning tasks to designers based on their skill sets and ensuring that they are completed satisfactorily
  • Supervising the production of physical prototypes or mockups of products or services
  • Establishing and maintaining design standards for company use
  • Reviewing designs for accuracy and appropriateness, identifying problems with them, and suggesting changes

Design Manager Salary & Outlook

Design manager salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses or commissions.

  • Median Annual Salary: $105,000 ($50.48/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $165,000 ($79.33/hour)

The employment of design managers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for design managers depends largely on the health of the economy and the overall demand for products and services. As the economy grows, demand for new products and services increases, which in turn leads to more demand for design managers.

Related: Design Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Design Manager Job Requirements

A design manager typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Design managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, fine arts, computer graphics or a related field. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have a master’s degree in design or a related field.

Many design managers also have a background in fine arts, such as painting or sculpture. This background can help them understand the creative process and how to apply it to the design industry.

Training & Experience: Many design managers begin their careers as designers. They may work in a variety of industries, such as architecture, interior design, graphic design or product design. They may also work in a variety of roles, such as graphic designer, art director or web designer.

Once hired, design managers receive on-the-job training to learn about the company’s products and services, the company’s design style and the company’s design process. They also learn about the company’s workflow and how to manage their teams.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications can validate a professional’s qualifications to current and future employers. Design managers can earn certifications to gain more practical knowledge of their daily responsibilities, test their professional skills and further advance their career.

Design Manager Skills

Design managers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: As a designer, you may be required to communicate with clients, other designers and engineers. Effective communication can help you convey your ideas and ensure that everyone understands your message. Consider using communication tools that your audience is familiar with, such as email, instant messaging or video conferencing.

Project management: Project management skills can be an important part of a design manager’s skill set. As a manager, you may be responsible for overseeing the completion of a project, including managing the team of designers and other staff members working on the project. You can use your project management skills to ensure that the project stays on schedule and within budget.

Creativity: Creativity is the ability to generate new ideas and solutions. As a design manager, you may use your creativity to help your team develop innovative products. You can also use creativity to help your team find new ways to improve existing products.

Problem-solving: As a designer, you may be responsible for finding solutions to problems that arise during the design process. Your problem-solving skills can help you identify the source of the issue and find a solution that satisfies the client’s needs.

Leadership: Leadership skills can help you as a design manager. You can use your leadership skills to motivate your team, create a positive work environment and encourage your team to complete projects on time. You can also use leadership skills to help your team work together to find solutions to challenges.

Design Manager Work Environment

Design managers typically work in an office environment, although they may travel to meet with clients or attend conferences. They typically work regular business hours, although they may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines. Design managers may experience some stress in their job, due to the need to meet deadlines and client expectations. However, they generally find their work to be creative and challenging, and they feel that they have a direct impact on the success of their company or organization.

Design Manager Trends

Here are three trends influencing how design managers work. Design managers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Designers

As businesses become more reliant on technology, the need for technical designers has increased. This is because these professionals are able to create designs that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Design managers can take advantage of this trend by hiring more technical designers and providing them with the resources they need to be successful. They can also encourage their team members to learn new skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends.

The Importance of User Experience (UX)

User experience (UX) is becoming increasingly important in today’s world as businesses strive to provide a better customer experience. As a result, design managers will need to focus on creating products and services that are user-friendly and easy to use.

To be successful in this area, design managers will need to understand how to create products that are easy to navigate and understand. They will also need to be familiar with current UX trends and best practices.

More Collaboration Between Design and Development Teams

In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for collaboration between design and development teams. This is due to the fact that both teams are responsible for creating products that meet the needs of customers.

As a design manager, you should be prepared to work closely with developers in order to ensure that your product meets the needs of customers. You should also be able to communicate effectively with both teams in order to keep everyone on the same page.

How to Become a Design Manager

A career as a designer manager can be rewarding in many ways. It offers the opportunity to work with a variety of people and projects, to develop your own skills and abilities, and to make a positive impact on the world around you.

To be successful in this role, it’s important to have a strong understanding of design principles and processes, as well as an appreciation for the business side of things. You should also be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing, and have the ability to lead and motivate others.

If you’re interested in becoming a designer manager, there are several steps you can take to get started. First, build up your portfolio by creating and sharing your designs with the world. Second, network with other designers and professionals in related fields. Third, learn about the business side of design by reading articles and attending workshops and conferences. Fourth, find a mentor who can guide you along your journey.

Advancement Prospects

Design managers typically advance in their careers by taking on more responsibility within their organization, such as overseeing a larger design team or managing a larger budget. They may also advance by moving to a more senior position within their company, or by starting their own design firm. In order to advance, design managers need to demonstrate their ability to lead and manage a team, as well as their creative vision.

Design Manager Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we believe that design is more than just how something looks; it’s how it works. We’re looking for a design manager who shares this belief and can help us take our products and services to the next level. The ideal candidate will have experience leading and managing a team of designers, as well as a strong understanding of the design process from start to finish. He or she will be responsible for ensuring that all design projects are completed on time and within budget, while also maintaining the high level of quality that our customers have come to expect.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as the primary point of contact for all design projects, big and small
  • Work with clients to scope out project requirements, timelines, and deliverables
  • Create detailed project proposals and timelines for approval
  • Assemble and manage teams of designers, illustrators, copywriters, and other creatives as needed
  • Oversee all aspects of design projects from start to finish, ensuring that they are completed on time, within budget, and to the client’s satisfaction
  • Ensure that all designs meet company standards for quality and branding
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of design trends and best practices
  • Keep abreast of new software and technologies as they emerge
  • Train and mentor junior designers
  • Handle multiple projects simultaneously while maintaining a high level of attention to detail
  • Manage outside vendors and contractors as needed
  • Serve as a liaison between the design team and other departments within the company

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in design, fine arts, or related field
  • 10+ years professional experience in graphic design, with a strong portfolio of work
  • Proven management experience, with the ability to lead and inspire a team of designers
  • Expertise in Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator) and other design software
  • Exceptional creativity, innovation, and attention to detail
  • Excellent communication, problem-solving, and time-management skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in design or related field
  • 15+ years professional experience in graphic design
  • Experience working in an advertising or marketing agency
  • Familiarity with HTML, CSS, and other web development technologies
  • Working knowledge of print production processes


What Does a Customer Success Manager Do?

Back to Career Development

What Does a Building Manager Do?