Design coordinator, principal designer, design manager and design project manager. Design managers are one that coordinate all the design-based work that is required towards a project. They manage a design team that includes a graphics team, animation team and others to work on collaborative projects with various teams like sales, marketing, product engineers and corporate leadership. Their aim is to ensure the development and implementation of successful design strategies and outlining the work for the design team with relevant project deliverables.
Their job entails presenting core design strategies to the senior management and to track, collect product data from customer service responses and work with focus groups to gain insights on the overall design performance. Does it sound like a management professional profile, well- not so much, design managers are required to hold a relevant design degree with few years of experience.
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Design managers are the center of design strategies of brands and hold a vital role to building efficient systems that help to create successful products and services. This requires a curating a work culture of collaboration, inclusivity, and accessibility.
As part of their role, the design manager is involved in the following activities:
A. Design Strategy: Evangelise
Ensuring that design strategy is built and executed keeping in mind the larger business strategy. Both design and business strategy need a strong alignment, a mutual interest and path forward to achieve the goals.
As the representative of the design team – he should be able to grow a design focused mindset across all levels of internal partners.
B. Outcomes: focused on building successful service/ product
Ensuring that the people under the direct supervision of the design manager are working to bring quality outcomes in the design activities.
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C. User experience and strive for quality standards.
Ensuring that a core focus in given to user experience and that stays as a priority. What a user needs, testing with focus groups, identifying, and implementing changes, create new products and differentiation from the competitors in the market.
A products success is also based on the standard of its design and quality of it. Design manager at times will also act as a gatekeeper to ensure his team is following the standards set.
D. Mentoring teams: building an efficient management system
Ensuring that design team development is taken care of, including training of the design team, building working systems and making tools available to the team that ensures that there is an efficient workflow that leads to increase in productivity.
This aspect is not focused on teaching the craft but on building the next generation of design leader who also have core soft skills and learn about design strategy that empowers them to grow into a design management position.
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E. Partnerships: to work on consistency cross the internal teams
Ensuring seamless partnership working styles with various organizational teams to develop a holistic brand system. Partnerships with marketing, sales, product, and business leaderships teams that helps to develop the review the quality, accuracy and results of design projects.
F. Proactive approach to pitch
Ensuring a strategic plan for long term growth via a design strategy. While these results may not be immediate, they can help set the path for future growth and reflect how design is key to consumption changes.
G. Curate a design culture
Ensuring the design is not only about dealing with outcomes and deliverables, but also a need to build a cohesive, collaborative, and collective work environment that keep design at the forefront.
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Why design management?
Design management is both complex and necessary. Brands are not just engaged in simple selling but also in innovation and differentiation from its competition, this is where design management matters for it can help the brands to have a better control on their content, their customer engagement strategy and overall technology and sustainable innovation processes.
– Internal business management- it helps for brand to cut out repetition, cut out waste and inefficient processes that are otherwise hidden and may take away crucial time from the human assets.
– Learning and growth- every brand exists to grow; design management helps to apply the learnt knowledge into development programmes and thus focus on the strategic integration of the data results to product development and communication.
– Relationship building with customers and stakeholders – design managers help to build strong relationships between internal team first that helps to align the external communication. Design as applied by brands ensures strategic positioning and market differentiation for the customers.
– Financial aspects – it’s also helps to increase sales, reduce inefficient costs and to bring more strategic and measurable value to the brands.
This role is indeed a design leadership role that is focused to bridge the gap between business and UX/UI and interaction design. They are responsible for managing the design team, collaborate with other internal teams and leaders in the business setups, defining an engagement plan and strategy for the organizations with strategic growth. To help with effective performance, the manager needs an active people-oriented personality that also includes the following traits/ skills:
A. Being a team player and leader focused – a go-getter attitude
B. Creative solution oriented manager with leadership experience or ability
C. Attention to detail – focused on multitasking
D. A creative professional with strong decision-making ability in tight deadlines
E. Agile worker and learner who offers the team opportunity to suggest on ways to better design plans
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