A Product Design Director usually reports into the Vice President Product Design, although this can vary depending on the business type or structure. The Product Design Director is directly responsible for overseeing the Head of Product Design, and managing the performance of more junior members of the Product Design team.

Product Design Director roles

This page is designed to help Product Design Directors or those looking to be promoted to this role, identify the skills and competencies required to be successful.

If you’re an employer looking to recruit a Product Design Director position, please see our product design and UX recruitment services page, If you need to hire and would like our services, contact us today.

What is a Product Design Director?

A Product Design Director is a senior-level role within a company responsible for overseeing and leading the product design process. They are typically found in industries such as technology, consumer goods, and manufacturing, where product design plays a crucial role in creating innovative and successful products.

The primary responsibility of a Product Design Director is to provide strategic direction and leadership to the design team throughout the product development lifecycle. They collaborate with various stakeholders, including product managers, engineers, marketers, and executives, to ensure that the product design aligns with the company’s overall vision, brand identity, and market requirements.

Main responsbilities

Design strategist: Crafting and executing a visionary design strategy. This involves conducting in-depth market research, identifying emerging trends, and capitalising on innovation opportunities.

Leadership and mentorship: Setting clear objectives, establishes efficient workflows, and fosters a culture of collaboration and creative excellence.

Design process: Overseeing the end-to-end design process, from ideation to implementation, ensuring adherence to high design standards, timeliness, and seamless integration of user feedback.

Collaborative partner: Aligning design decisions with technical feasibility, market demands, and strategic business goals. 

User experience advocate: Championing exceptional user experiences by integrating usability, accessibility, and aesthetics. 

Design: Conducting thorough design evaluations to identify areas for improvement, leveraging user feedback and iterative design principles. 

Product Design Director salary

A salary of £90,000 to £120,000 would be expected at Product Design Director level.

The salary offered may be affected by:

  1. Company stage: Start-ups or companies in the early stages of growth may offer equity or other incentives in addition to base salary, whereas established companies with a solid track record of success may provide higher base salaries and additional perk.

  2. Responsibilities and scope: Product Design Directors who oversee larger teams, manage multiple product lines, or have broader organisational influence may receive higher compensation.

  3. Market demand: If there is a high demand for skilled Product Design Directors and limited supply, it can lead to increased competition and potentially higher compensation packages.

Read our guide:
Product design & UX salary 2024

Product Design Director job description

A typical Product Design Director job description will read something like the below:

Reporting the Chief Product Officer, the Product Design Director will oversee all product design efforts, leading a team of designers to implement and manage a design system for the company. 

The individual that is successful in this role will need to focus on defining a collaboration approach with all stakeholders within the Product and Engineering departments, as well as growing the recruitment of our growing, top-quality team. 

The Product Design Director will work underneath the Chief Product Officer to:

  • Take responsibility for the creative vision and the standard of output across the product design team
  • Maintain and improve the existing product portfolio
  • Lead a strong team of product designers through mentoring and problem solving
  • Implement and manage an industry-standard design delivery process
  • Improve collaboration methods across functions, particularly between product and engineering
  • Lead end-to-end projects, from concept to launch, ensuring all deadlines and budgets are met
  • Communicate effectively with the rest of the senior management team and provide data to influence where required

To be successful in this Product Design Director role, you will:

  • Have 5+ years’ experience as a senior level designer
  • Have demonstrable experience across leadership, team building and the ability to delegate successfully
  • Excellent communication skills to effectively communicate the product design strategy to all team members and stakeholders
  • A degree in visual or experimental design 
  • Need to be comfortable working in a fast paced, fast-growing business

Product Design interview questions

Read our guide to the top 50+ Product Design interview questions, often asked by employers at interview.

What are employers looking for on a CV?

Visionary leadership

  • Highlight your ability to inspire and lead design teams by effectively communicating your vision and strategy.
  • Showcase concrete examples of successfully leading teams through complex projects, fostering collaboration, and achieving impactful design outcomes.
  • Use action-oriented language to describe how you motivated and guided team members, resulting in measurable achievements.
  • Example: “Demonstrated visionary leadership by guiding a cross-functional design team through the development of a groundbreaking product, resulting in a X% increase in market share and industry recognition.”

Strategic design thinking

  • Describe how you have applied design methodologies to solve complex problems, incorporate user insights, and deliver innovative solutions.
  • Highlight specific instances where you have translated user needs and market trends into actionable design strategies.
  • Example: “Utilised design thinking methodologies to develop a comprehensive design strategy that aligned user needs with business goals. This led to a X% increase in customer satisfaction and a Y% boost in product revenue.”

Innovation and impact

  • Highlight examples where you introduced novel design approaches, drove product differentiation, or solved challenging design problems.
  • Quantify the results of your innovation by emphasising improved user experiences, increased market share, or recognition in the form of design awards or patents.
  • Example: “Pioneered a design innovation program that fostered a culture of creativity and resulted in X number of patents and industry recognition. This led to a X% increase in customer engagement and a Y% boost in brand loyalty.”

Collaborative partnerships

  • Highlight instances where you’ve successfully communicated design concepts, incorporated feedback, and influenced decision-making.
  • Quantify the impact of your collaboration by demonstrating how it resulted in successful product launches, improved customer experiences, or streamlined processes.
  • Example: “Collaborated closely with engineering and product management teams, facilitating seamless communication and aligning design decisions with technical feasibility. This resulted in a X% reduction in product development cycle time and a Y% increase in customer retention.”

Product Design Director FAQs

What is a Product Design Director?
A Product Design Director often reports into a Chief Product Officer. The main responsibilities of this role are to lead the creative vision and the standard of output across the product design team, through mentoring, coaching and problem solving. The Product Design Director will lead all product design efforts implementing a design system for the company.