Job type

Chief design officer (CDO)

£37k - £93k

Typical salary

37 – 45

Hours per week

Chief Design Officers play a senior role in an organisation, making sure design is at the heart of everything they do.

More info

  • Play a lead role in an organisation, making sure design is embedded in its work
  • You'll normally work up to this role after a career in design
  • You'll need excellent design skills, people skills, and the ability to influence at a senior level

The role of the Chief Design Officer or CDO is to make sure good design and the principles of design thinking are embedded across the organisation and to represent design at the highest level in an organisation.


  • Develop training on design thinking for the organisation
  • Create and manage a team who lead on design
  • Make key decisions for the organisation on how it develops its products and services using design thinking
  • Work with the board to ensure that design is considered in all key decisions they take


This can involve leading a team of designers within an organisation, but in general it is also a role with a wider remit to help ensure that design thinking is something that takes place in all parts of the organisation.

You'll need

To become a chief design officer you'll normally need to have had a career in a design-related area. Most CDOs have studied design (and particularly the principles of design thinking) at university or college and will have worked as a designer in industry and/or taught design before moving into this kind of role.

Most chief design officers come from a background as a designer and have a strong understanding of the principles of design across products, services, and organisations. They may have a background in product design, service design, organisation design, graphic design, or a related field, and will have worked as a senior designer or as a teacher of design before moving into this kind of role.

To get started you might do a foundation programme in art and design or go straight to a university degree in a design related subject and then start to work in the industry. You'll then need to work your way up or gain significant experience before progressing into this role.


You could progress to become Creative Director of a company, or even CEO.