Design Management Jobs: Career Description and Information

Explore the work responsibilities of a design management professional. Learn what education is required as well as necessary skills, salary and employment outlook to determine if this is the right career for you.

Career Definition for a Design Management Professional

Design management is the process of cohesively connecting all aspects involved in the design process, including design, development, marketing and technology, while also staying focused on the needs of the client. Design management professionals can work in various industries, including advertising and marketing, architecture, graphic design or motion pictures. Entry-level design management professionals can work as marketing assistants, production assistants and project management assistants. More experienced design management professionals can seek employment as brand strategists, advertising executives, product developers, project managers, marketing managers and business directors.

Education Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Computer skills, communication, leadership, negotiation
Median Salary (2017)* $132,230 (all marketing managers)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 10% (all marketing managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Educational requirements vary for specific jobs; however, most employers prefer design management professionals to have bachelor's degrees in design management or a related field, like business. Additionally, there are multiple graduate degree options in design management. Typical courses may include new product development and management, strategic marketing, intellectual property law and financial reporting, and analysis.

Skills Required

Design management professionals should have exceptional leadership and communication skills. The individual should be results-driven and adept at problem solving; negotiation skills may also be helpful. Computer skills are a necessity in the design management industry. Additionally, the ability to communicate in a foreign language may be helpful.

Career and Economic Outlook

Salaries in the design management field vary by company, industry, location and experience. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that marketing managers, for instance, earned a median salary of $132,230 as of May 2017. Marketing managers working in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware averaged between $169,610 and $192,290 annually. The same source also noted that marketing managers are expected to experience average job growth of about 10% and increased competition.

Alternative Careers

Individuals pursuing careers in design management may be interested in art direction and editing, which involve leadership and the design process.

Art Director

For those with an interest in managing the work of graphic designers and other artists, becoming an art director may be the right career move. Art directors establish the complete artistic vision for projects, such as plays, movies, magazines, product packaging and newspapers. Depending on the industry, they review sketches, oversee set construction and scene designs, select photographs and images to use, approve final work and present the finished product to the client. To qualify for this job, a bachelor's degree in design or fine art is necessary, as is previous experience working in entry-level positions in the industry of interest. The BLS projects a 5% increase in the employment of art directors between 2016 and 2026, resulting in the creation of 4,900 new jobs. In May of 2017, the BLS estimated that these professionals earned a median salary of $92,500.


If managing the written content in publications such as books, magazines, newspapers and other mediums sounds like a good career, consider becoming an editor. Editors review written work and make corrections to grammar, sentence structure and spelling. They also rewrite stories, perform fact check duties, help writers develop their ideas, make publication decisions and give the final approval on completed work. Writing experience and a bachelor's degree in journalism, communications or English is how most gain employment as an editor. Certain industries may also require knowledge and experience in specific subject matters such as fashion or publishing.

Editors will experience a small decrease in job opportunities from 2016-2026 because of a declining print publication industry. However, those who are experienced with online media should do well, the BLS projected. As reported by the BLS in 2017, editors received a median income of $58,770.

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