“Design Management is a leadership role, one that requires explaining, inspiring, persuading and demonstrating how design can positively contribute to an organization in many different ways” Kathyn Best



When you walk into a certain facility, your senses are guided by the perception of the features which define that particular place. It could be a bank, a bar, restaurant, hospital and so on. Any single detail which characterises an environment is the outcome of a creative process: the mood light in a classic English pub, the gentle and well-dressed figure who welcome you into a bank, the large and bright window of a hospital room, or also the arrangement of the departments of a supermarket. Anything that surrounds us, and participate in our daily lives, has been previously designed, thus thought, planned, modified and made real. Any of the pursuits created by humans –engineering, finance, economy and so on- have to be balanced and translated into a simple measure to be concretised.

Here is where design management plays a vital role. Kathryn Best gives a fair definition of Design Management in the introduction of “The Fundamentals of Design Management”:

“Design Management is about the successful management of people, projects, processes and procedures behind the design of our everyday products, services, environments and experiences. Equally, design management is about the management

of the relationships between different disciplines (such as design management, marketing and finance) and different roles (such as clients, designers, project teams and stakeholders.)”

Anyone aim for balance in life, because it is the best purpose for one’s sustain. For instance, two to three cups of coffee a day prevent cardiac problems (Siddique H. 2015), because they give the right amount of caffeine needed to improve the human’s physiological system. Design Management is the procedure required to enable the balance of the activities created by man. From the practices within the creative sector, such as “the areas of design, arts and crafts advertising, architecture, fashion, film, music, TV, radio, performing arts, publishing and interactive software”(Best K. 2010, p.8), to the ones that compose the economic system, such as finance, business, management, marketing etc. Human life needs balance; therefore, any human invention is affected by the urge of the latter.

The verb “to design”, per se, expresses a process of planning and making things, as well as the noun “design” refers to the actual product of this process. Project’s processes entail problem-solving, creativity and so innovation and new approaching methods.


Creativity, as involuntary human practice, has to be guided to materialise its purposes. Design Management is the means to achieve this scope. Projects and ideas, coined to improve performances of any field, require creativity to break through the economic schedules, due to guarantee organisations profit and success.

Design Management thus allows the merger of creativity and business, through balancing their aspects and matching them together. Therefore, the design manager professional figure, who “might be called a ‘brand manager’, a ‘project manager’, an ‘account director’, a ‘design consultant’ or an ‘advertising planner” (Best K. 2015 p.12), is highly needed inside a company. The design manager has to work both with the “business manager” and the designer, to mitigate any prevalence and produce a simple product or service.

As the result of this small research about the Design Management role in the industries, I will take into consideration the combination of it into my personal and academic research, seeing that I believe it is an essential practice to be followed for one’s understanding and success. I also believe on the Design Management implication into organisations as an important part of the latter. The power of Design Management as a mediator, is vital to the balance of a company, therefore, its sustain.

By Nicole Afonso Alves Calistri, 2016


Best K. (2015) “Design Management”, Second Edition, Bloomsbury, p. 12

Best K. (2010) “The Fundamentals of Design Management”, AVA Publishing SA, p. 8

Siddique H. (2015) “Three to five cups of coffee a day may prevent heart attacks, says study: Research highlights potential link between coffee consumption and lower risk of developing clogged arteries”, Heart Attack, The Guardian, online source published on 3/3/2015 08.54 GMT, accessed on 15/1/2016



Best K. 2015 “Design Management”, Second Edition, Bloomsbury.

Best K. 2010 “The Fundamentals of Design Management”, AVA Publishing SA.



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