What is a Design Director

Primarily, design directors oversee design and branding projects for clients. They develop design ideas and choose specific design elements for various branding projects. These experts are hired by advertising companies, interior design companies, marketing agencies, entertainment businesses, and automotive companies. They oversee design projects, manage design teams, and review design development activities. They meet with clients to find out what they want from their projects. Also, they collaborate with sales and marketing teams to ensure the profitability of design projects.

With a bachelor's or an associate's degree in graphic design, fine arts, advertising, or a related field, you can get a job as a design director. However, you must have at least five years of managerial experience. You must possess creativity, leadership, multitasking, analytical, communication, and collaboration skills. You must be proficient in design software. The salary of design directors varies from $132,114 to $181,052, with the average gross salary being $160,707.

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 $55.71 an hour? That's $115,873 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 math skills, computer skills and artistic ability.

Learn more about what a Design Director does

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 73.3% of design directors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 10.5% 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 associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on design director resumes include master's degree degrees or high school diploma 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
$115,873
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
3%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
45,363
Job Openings
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Design Director Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Design Director

Design Directors in America make an average salary of $115,873 per year or $56 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $214,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $62,000 per year.
Average Salary
$115,873
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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.

Learn How To Write a Design Director Resume

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

View Design Director Resume Examples And Templates

Design Director Demographics

Design Director Gender Statistics

male

56.3 %

female

37.8 %

unknown

5.9 %

Design Director Ethnicity Statistics

White

75.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

10.3 %

Asian

8.3 %

Design Director Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

36.1 %

French

14.8 %

Italian

13.0 %
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Design Director Education

Design Director Majors

12.0 %

Design Director Degrees

Bachelors

73.3 %

Associate

11.6 %

Masters

10.5 %

Top Colleges for Design Directors

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

6. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

7. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

8. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

9. George Washington University, The

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,230
Enrollment
12,161

10. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108
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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, 9.4% of design directors listed user interface on their resume, but soft skills such as math skills and computer skills are important as well.

12 Design Director RESUME EXAMPLES

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, Oregon, Massachusetts, and New York. Design directors make the most in Washington with an average salary of $152,103. Whereas in Oregon and Massachusetts, they would average $140,985 and $126,451, respectively. While design directors would only make an average of $121,221 in New York, 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. Oregon

Total Design Director Jobs:
515
Highest 10% Earn:
$232,000
Location Quotient:
1.61
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. Washington

Total Design Director Jobs:
666
Highest 10% Earn:
$243,000
Location Quotient:
1.18
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. Massachusetts

Total Design Director Jobs:
778
Highest 10% Earn:
$216,000
Location Quotient:
1.1
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
Full List Of Best States For Design Directors

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Top Design Director Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ design directors and discovered their number of design director opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Abercrombie & Fitch was the best, especially with an average salary of $151,551. Reinsurance Group of America follows up with an average salary of $128,790, and then comes Nordstrom with an average of $201,552. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a design director. The employers include GroupM Worldwide, Smartsheet, and Perficient

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