Working as a Design Director

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a design director. For example, did you know that they make an average of $59.77 an hour? That's $124,330 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 3% and produce 8,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Design Director Do

There are certain skills that many design directors have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, math skills and visualization.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a design director, we found that a lot of resumes listed 13.6% of design directors included product development, while 8.8% of resumes included user interface, and 7.2% of resumes included architecture. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the design director job title. But what industry to start with? Most design directors actually find jobs in the technology and retail industries.

How To Become a Design Director

If you're interested in becoming a design director, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 62.1% of design directors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 18.0% of design directors have master's degrees. Even though most design directors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a design director. When we researched the most common majors for a design director, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on design director resumes include associate degree degrees or doctoral degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a design director. In fact, many design director jobs require experience in a role such as designer. Meanwhile, many design directors also have previous career experience in roles such as senior designer or art director.

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Average Salary$124,330
Job Growth Rate3%

Design Director Jobs

Design Director Career Paths

Top Careers Before Design Director
Designer16.6 %
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Top Careers After Design Director
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What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Design Director

Design Directors in America make an average salary of $124,330 per year or $60 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $209,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $73,000 per year.
Average Salary
$124,330

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Director of Experience Design
Director of Experience Design
Ent Federal Credit Union
Ent Federal Credit Union
07/15/2020
07/15/2020
$96,00007/15/2020
$96,000
Game Design Director
Game Design Director
Randstad
Randstad
06/16/2020
06/16/2020
$115,00006/16/2020
$115,000
Director of Design/Consumer Mobile (News)
Director of Design/Consumer Mobile (News)
Management Decisions, Inc.
Management Decisions, Inc.
06/03/2020
06/03/2020
$180,00006/03/2020
$180,000
Director of Capital Design
Director of Capital Design
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
05/28/2020
05/28/2020
$97,97605/28/2020
$97,976
Director, Design & Innovation
Director, Design & Innovation
Boston College
Boston College
05/27/2020
05/27/2020
$94,70005/27/2020
$94,700
See More Recent Salaries

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Design Director Demographics

Gender

Male

56.3 %

Female

37.8 %

Unknown

5.9 %
Ethnicity

White

59.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

16.2 %

Black or African American

10.6 %
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

36.1 %

French

14.8 %

Italian

13.0 %
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Design Director Education

Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

20.1 %

Parsons the New School for Design

8.2 %

School of Visual Arts

7.3 %

Art Center College of Design

6.6 %
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Majors

Graphic Design

40.2 %

Fine Arts

9.8 %

Interior Design

6.0 %

Architecture

5.8 %
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Degrees

Bachelors

62.1 %

Masters

18.0 %

Associate

9.5 %

Certificate

5.0 %
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Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Design Director

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Design Director

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.6% of design directors listed product development on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and math skills are important as well.

Best States For a Design Director

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a design director. The best states for people in this position are Washington, Montana, Massachusetts, and North Dakota. Design directors make the most in Washington with an average salary of $144,029. Whereas in Montana and Massachusetts, they would average $140,999 and $133,618, respectively. While design directors would only make an average of $128,185 in North Dakota, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Design Director Jobs:
102
Highest 10% Earn:
$232,000
Location Quotient:
1.36
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Massachusetts

Total Design Director Jobs:
116
Highest 10% Earn:
$227,000
Location Quotient:
1.35
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New York

Total Design Director Jobs:
353
Highest 10% Earn:
$214,000
Location Quotient:
2.62
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Design Director Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a design director. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless design director resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write a Design Director Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless design director resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Top Design Director Employers

1. Abercrombie & Fitch
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$33,184
Design Directors Hired: 
28+
2. Reinsurance Group of America
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$79,425
Design Directors Hired: 
20+
3. Nordstrom
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$37,529
Design Directors Hired: 
20+
4. Estee Lauder
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$59,795
Design Directors Hired: 
18+
5. Macy's
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$35,321
Design Directors Hired: 
16+
6. Ralph Lauren
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$40,075
Design Directors Hired: 
15+

Design Director Videos

Recently Added Design Director Jobs