Simply put, design management is the business side of design. Design management encompasses the ongoing processes, business decisions, and strategies that enable innovation and create effectively-designed products, services, communications, environments, and brands that enhance our quality of life and provide organizational success.
On a deeper level, design management seeks to link design, innovation, technology, management and customers to provide competitive advantage across the triple bottom line: economic, social/cultural, and environmental factors. It is the art and science of empowering design to enhance collaboration and synergy between “design” and “business” to improve design effectiveness.
The scope of design management ranges from the tactical management of corporate design functions and design agencies, including design operations, staff, methods and processes—to the strategic advocacy of design across the organization as a key differentiator and driver of organizational success. It includes the use of design thinking—or using design processes to solve general business problems.
Some examples of professionals that are practicing design management include design department managers, brand managers, creative directors, design directors, heads of design, design strategists, and design researchers, as well as managers and executives responsible for making decisions about how design is used in the organization.
A number of leading international educational institutions have established design management as a respected course of study and research, including Brunel University (UK), De Montfort University (UK), Illinois Institute of Technology Institute of Design (US), INHOLLAND University (Netherlands), KAIST (South Korea), Lancaster University (UK) MIP - Politecnico di Milano (Italy), Parsons School of Design (US), Pratt Institute (US), Suffolk University (US), University of Salford (UK). UMIST - University of Manchester Institute for Science and Technology (UK), and the University of Kansas (US).
As leading practitioners of design management and design leadership, DMI members are actively engaged in design thinking and managing industrial design, graphic design, service design, environment design, brand identity, interface design, and many other types of design. They work for corporations, design agencies, educational institutions, and government.
To learn more:
Browse articles from the DMI Review
Learn more from DMI seminars and webinars
Learn about DMI membership
Learn about Design Management Education Programs
Wikipedia’s definition of design management
Email this page to a colleague