How much should you expect to make as a Design Manager in the USA? We gathered our information through anonymous submissions from our global community of over 300,000 designers. Based on this data, Design Managers who work in the United States make an average of $110,000 every year, ranging from about $80,000 to approximately $200,000.

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What Do Design Managers Do?

Design managers are coordinators of a design or graphics team. They plan a project's implementation and delivery, delegate tasks, support the team, and ensure designers meet deadlines.

Their responsibilities include:

  • Developing creative strategies and setting deadlines for design projects
  • Establishing goals that support the strategic plan
  • Ensuring design solutions meet the standards of usability, consistency, and accessibility
  • Delegating tasks and tracking team performance
  • Delivering feedback on designs
  • Coaching design team members and helping them move in their careers
  • Reviewing the final versions of the designs
  • Working across marketing, product, and engineering teams to ensure brand consistency and successful execution
  • Serving as the primary contact point for all designers

Skills to Increase Design Manager Salaries

Design managers should be excellent designers themselves to manage, consult, and provide feedback to other designers. Due to their involvement in all stages of the design process, design managers need excellent knowledge of design principles, user psychology, design software, and coding. Like all managers, they must have strong leadership, problem-solving, and communication skills.

  • Leadership abilities, including project management, design thinking, and workshop facilitation. As a design manager, 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 Managers

Designer career path

While a bachelor's degree in project management and product design can help you advance to higher-earning positions more quickly, it's not the only option. If you like planning and managing design teams, work on your communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills, and don't forget to brush up on your knowledge of design fundamentals.

You may start in an entry-level position as a UI or UX designer. In this position, you can explore the team environment from the inside and learn the business and design process more deeply to be promoted to a design manager position. Your next career steps may lead you to the position of Director of Design or Chief Design Manager.