Which skills are needed for a design manager career?
Our design manager skills guide
The top design manager jobs in the UK at the moment are reportedly product managers and design managers. The difference between these might not always be too clear.
We have already had a look at the top of these jobs, a Product Manager. We will now have a look at what it entails to be a Design manager.
Senior Design Manager Jobs
What is a Senior Design Manager?
A Product Manager and Design Manager work side by side. Both have certain design roles to fulfil. Although, a product manager will also have a more executive role.
Design management uses project management, design, strategy, and supply chain techniques to control a creative process, support a culture of creativity, and build a structure and organization for design.
Therefore, it is clear that a design manager looks after the design process and keeps an eye on the presentation of the product. A product manager will have a more executive role to play in the product cycle.
Design managers work mostly with product development and marketing teams to keep an eye on the presentation of the product.
Senior Design Manager career guide
A day in the life of a Design Manager
A day in the life of a design manager will usually be spent in the office and within office hours. The tasks are varied and range from managing teams and processes to providing systems and procedures. A design manager can however also work as a freelancer and some of their work can be done remotely.
Career skills and responsibilities
As highlighted in this article on the Challenges of a Design Manager, the focus of a design manager is no longer on design, but on managing teams within the design process.
Design manager’s digital skillset
- Leadership skills
- Strategic vision
- Communication skills
- Negotiation skills
- Organisational skills
- Technical knowledge
- Creative and Design experience and skills
- Motivational skills
- Conflict management
Design Manager career qualifications
- A bachelor’s degree would be expected from most managers.
- For a design manager, a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in business management or a related field would be necessary.
- Backed with experience in design, you will be ready to get experience in the field of design management.
- Some universities also have a Master’s Degree in Design Management. There are various Postgraduate courses in design management presented in the UK.
- The Design Management Institute is also a good place to keep in touch with the industry and find out how this career is growing globally.
How to become a design manager:
Step 1: Get a bachelor’s degree in design or business management
Step2: Get experience in design
Step 3: Seek career advancement through postgraduate courses
Senior Design Manager Jobs
According to Glassdoor, the national average base salary for a design manager is £45 675. With 31,382 job openings advertised on their site alone. This will obviously vary greatly according to the industry, workload and location.
Although still a relatively new position, there are various design manager jobs advertised in many fields. Here are some of the websites you can find these on.
Senior Design manager jobs
Design career tips
The top design jobs in the UK at the moment are reportedly product managers and design managers. The difference between these might not always be too clear. A Product Manager and Design Manager would usually work side by side. Although they both have certain design roles to fulfil, a product manager will also have a more executive role. A product manager will also carry more responsibility throughout the product cycle.
The product manager and design manager have many overlapping skills.
These are some functions a product manager fulfils that are outside of the design scope.
- Competitive analysis
- Market structural analysis
- Pricing strategy
The design manager role can also be seen as more of a deep-dive job while a product manager is more of a multi-tasking function.
Top Design Jobs London
As highlighted in our blog on How to Become a Product Manager, it can be difficult to define the role or its scope. A product manager is a professional who is at the helm of guiding the success of a product. They are also responsible for leading the team in charge of improving the product. Maximising the business value of a product would be their main concern. This can clearly involve an array of tasks and responsibilities. The most important of these would be to create a vision for the product as well as build and execute an actionable plan.
Although no specific education or certification criteria are set out, an aspiring product manager usually at least holds a bachelor’s degree in business. Education in this field is usually associated with a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field. Areas of study can be varied, but often include marketing, public relations, advertising, communications, economics, statistics and management. Some companies may require advanced degrees.
According to Glassdoor:
Average base salary: £50 000
Job openings: 31 512
Top Design Jobs London
A design manager works in collaboration with the product manager through the product design cycle. Design management uses project management, design, strategy, and supply chain techniques. This is to control a creative process, support a culture of creativity, and build a structure and organization for design.