A Head of Product Design usually reports into the Product Design Director, although this can vary depending on the business type or structure. The Head of Product Design is directly responsible for overseeing the performance and output of their team of Product Design Manager‘s and any of their direct line reports.
Head of Product Design roles
If you are looking for a Head of Product Design job role or would like to find out how to become a Head of Product Design, what skills you need, and what salaries are on offer, you will find a complete guide below.
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What is a Head of Product Design?
The Head of Product Design is a senior-level position in the design department of a company. They are responsible for leading a team of designers and overseeing the design process for all products developed by the company. The Head of Product Design is a critical role in any organisation that values user-centred design, innovation, and creating products that meet the needs of customers.
The Head of Product Design is responsible for defining the design strategy for the company’s products. This includes establishing design principles and guidelines that ensure the products are consistent in their design language, style, and functionality.
They work closely with the product management team to identify customer needs, business objectives, and market trends that influence product design decisions. The Head of Product Design must have a deep understanding of the company’s target market, customer needs, and user behaviour to ensure that the design of products meets those needs.
What makes a successful Head of Product Design?
To be successful in this role, the Head of Product Design must have a deep understanding of user-centred design principles, a keen eye for aesthetics, and the ability to balance business needs with user needs. They must also possess strong leadership and communication skills, as they will be responsible for managing and mentoring a team of designers and collaborating with cross-functional teams across the organization.
One of the primary responsibilities of the Head of Product Design is to define and communicate the company’s design vision and strategy. They must ensure that the design team is aligned with the company’s goals and that the product design direction is consistent with the company’s brand identity. This requires a deep understanding of the company’s mission, values, and target audience.
In addition to defining the design vision and strategy, the Head of Product Design is also responsible for establishing and maintaining design standards and guidelines. They must ensure that the design team is adhering to best practices and that all design work meets the highest standards of quality and consistency. This helps to ensure that the company’s products are not only visually appealing but also easy to use and accessible to all users.
The Head of Product Design must also stay up-to-date with the latest design trends, technologies, and tools. This requires a deep understanding of the design industry and a willingness to continuously learn and experiment with new ideas and approaches.
Product design tools
As a Head of Product Design, you rely on various tools to effectively manage and enhance the design process. Here’s a webpage outlining a new set of essential tools that you might find valuable, along with links to their respective websites:
Framer – A powerful interactive design and prototyping tool that allows you to create rich, interactive experiences with code components.
Abstract – A version control platform designed specifically for designers. Abstract enables seamless collaboration, versioning, and organization of design files.
MURAL– An online collaboration and visual workspace tool that facilitates brainstorming, ideation, and design thinking workshops.
Procreate – A digital illustration and sketching app for iPad, offering a wide range of brushes and tools to create stunning visual designs.
Overflow – A user flow diagramming tool that helps you visualize and present user journeys and interactions in a clear and engaging manner.
Lottie – A library and animation tool that allows you to add high-quality, lightweight animations to your designs, enhancing user experience.
Marvel – An all-in-one design and prototyping platform that enables you to create interactive prototypes, collaborate with stakeholders, and conduct user testing.
Hotjar – A user behaviour analytics tool that provides heatmaps, session recordings, and feedback polls to help you understand how users engage with your product.
Principle – A powerful animation and prototyping tool that allows you to create advanced interactions and micro-interactions for your designs.
Optimizely – An experimentation platform that enables you to test and optimize your designs and user experiences through A/B testing and personalisation.
Head of Product Design salary
A typical salary range for a Head of Product Design in the UK is currently £80,000 to £100,000 depending on experience. Whilst candidates working in London could expect a salary at the higher end of the pay-scale, this is tending to level out with remote working and the rise of tech in cities such as Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.
Other factors that could affect the salary of a Head of Product Design role are:
- The size of the employer
- The growth objectives of the employer
- The overall benefits package. Employers can enhance the salary through equity, pensions, and other benefits
Read our guide:
Product design & UX salary 2023
Head of Product Design job description
A typical Head of Product Design job description will read something like the below:
Reporting the Product Design Director, the Head of Product Design will support the business development of new opportunities. This will be achieved through managing the design lifecyle from start to finish, designing best practise processes for the design team.
The Head of Product Design is responsible for a wide range of activities including client pitches, company-wide presentations, and leading operational objectives. Skills required to do this role effectively include leadership, collaboration and communication with both your immediate and wider management team.
The Head of Product Design will work to:
- Grow the existing product design team by 2 in the next 6 months
- Build a cadence with the team, cascading best practises whilst coaching and mentoring the team to success
- Lead the design process and develop best in class procedures to support a collaborative and innovative team
- Take a user centric design approach and rapidly test and iterate your designs
- Design and test new products based on consumer insight and a deep understanding of technology, the market landscape and business objectives
- Ensure that all products are designed to our brand standards and quality guidelines
- Promote excellent cross-functional communication between the product management team and senior stakeholders
To be successful in this Head of Product Design role, you will:
- Have 8+ years working within Product Design, with at least 2 years within a previous Head of Product Design role
- Be comfortable working in a fast-paced start-up environment
- Have previous experience managing a diverse product design team, with previous experience owning and delivering a user-centric design process
- Have a proven background in delivering world class consumer facing products, with a portfolio of UX focused work samples for web and app applications
- A history of successful collaboration with technical and commerical partners
- Excited by challenges and the ability to create something new
- Be confident across a range of user research methods
What skills are employers looking for in a Head of Product Design?
This role will require skills such as:
- Balancing leadership with being detailed driven
- Ability to facilitate idea generation and evaluation
- Ability to drive a compelling vision, and lead the product team along that journey
- Effective communicator to ensure cross functional collaboration is clear, concise and actionable
- Time management to ensure all designers meet design timelines and budgets
- Team management to ensure our designers to develop over time in line with career development plans
Here are some essential technical and soft skills that employers look for:
UI/UX design: Highlight your proficiency in user-centered design, wireframing, prototyping, and creating visually appealing interfaces. Provide examples of projects where you successfully applied these skills to deliver intuitive and engaging user experiences.
Design tools: Mention the design and prototyping tools you are proficient in, such as Sketch, Figma, or Adobe Creative Suite. Include links to your online portfolio or attach relevant design samples to showcase your technical abilities.
Design research: Demonstrate your expertise in conducting user research, usability testing, and gathering actionable insights. Discuss how your research findings influenced design decisions and contributed to improved product experiences.
Design systems: Highlight your knowledge and experience in developing and implementing design systems or pattern libraries to ensure consistent and scalable design solutions.
Communication: Describe how you effectively communicated design concepts, presented your ideas to stakeholders, and collaborated with cross-functional teams throughout the design process.
Leadership: Discuss how you motivated and mentored team members, facilitated productive collaborations, and achieved successful project outcomes.
Collaboration: Describe how you have fostered a collaborative environment, solicited feedback, and integrated diverse perspectives into design solutions.
Problem-solving: Explain the strategies you employed to identify issues, analyse data, and propose innovative solutions that positively impacted the user experience.
Head of Product Design FAQs
- What does a Head of Product Design do?
- Often reporting into the Product Design Director, the Head of Product Design will support the business development of new opportunities. This will be achieved through managing the design lifecycle from start to finish, designing best practise processes for the design team.
- Who is a Product Design Lead?
- A Product Design Lead may also be called a Head of Product Design or a Product Design Director. Their role is to support the business development of new product opportunities. This will be achieved through managing the design lifecycle from start to finish, designing best practise processes for the design team.