How much should you expect to make as a Design Director in the USA? We gathered our information through anonymous submissions from our global community of over 300,000 designers. Based on this data, Design Directors who work in the United States make an average of $120,000 every year, ranging from about $80,000 to approximately $210,000.

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What Do Design Directors Do?

Design directors are supervisors of the entire design process who ensure all products are of the highest quality and are delivered on time and within budget.

Design directors maintain client relationships and keep in touch with designers, graphic artists, content strategists, copywriters, engineers, and other team members, ensuring that everyone has access to the resources and information they need to do their jobs well.

What other tasks does a design director implement?

  • Interpreting business needs into creative solutions
  • Presenting the creative vision of a product to clients and the creative team
  • Hiring, establishing, mentoring, and inspiring creative teams
  • Leading multiple projects from ideation to launch in compliance with the timeline
  • Analyzing design trends and pitching new ideas
  • Making sure the creative team meets the deadlines and all the work complies with clients' requirements
  • Collaborating with sales and marketing departments

Skills to Increase Design Director Salaries

Design directors are senior roles for people with excellent problem-solving and communication skills. They should have excellent artistic skills and a creative, analytical mind to visualize design projects and supervise creative teams that implement these projects according to business and user needs.

  • Leadership abilities, including project management, design thinking, and workshop facilitation. As a design director, team management skills are also vital. Test your skills with Uxcel's Leadership assessment and see how you measure up to other designers worldwide.
  • Team working and communication skills, as well as critical thinking and problem solving, creativity, openness to feedback from your team members, and effective time management. Empathy is especially important, both toward your teammates and your users. Test your skills with Uxcel's Core Qualities assessment and see how you measure up to other designers worldwide.
  • Prototyping and wireframing in high and low fidelity, which will help you communicate designs to developers and stakeholders and allow researchers to test them with users. Test your skills with Uxcel's Prototyping and Wireframing skill tests, and see how you measure up to other designers worldwide.
  • UX writing and knowledge of information architecture can be helpful in deciding how to organize content and are particularly useful if there is no dedicated information architect in your team. Test your skills with Uxcel's Content Strategy assessment and see how you measure up to other designers worldwide.

Career Paths for Design Directors

Designer career path

The position requires a prior background in the creative industries, a rich portfolio, and extensive supervisory experience, including leadership, team-building, and delegation. As a start, you might get a graphic or UI designer job and pave your path to a managerial position as your skills grow.