Design Freedom or Money/Less designing?

So here is my situation…

My current job I have complete (almost) design freedom…okay salary; but no upward career movement internally for probably another three years. Currently, I am a “young” (6 years experience) senior designer in product design.

Another company has approached me showing interest in hiring me as their director of design. They are focused in the furniture market (modular), offer much higher salary but I am moving into the management role which leaves less time for designing.

Personal information that creeps in is that I do have a family which depends on my income.

I’m already leaning to one side, but I would like to hear from other mid-senior designers/managers what they view are the pro’s and con’s.

It depends on your disposition.

One question: Is this Project Management, People Management or both?

In my opinion, I find much more gratification in managing because I have the ability to help multiple people to succeed. I like aiding people in reaching their potential rather than worrying about if I have designed the newest and best widget. It becomes a much more long term enjoyment because in most cases the growth of a person happens over a much longer time span than the growth of a single product.

But, again, it depends on what you want.

The focus is on managing the creative team (already existing).

Project Management is limited only to the initial program identification and design phase…engineering/operations would manage the program after the design direction/concept is approved.

Go for the new opportunity, explore what it has to offer, meet new people, and enjoy the money.

Take the new opportunity. I was in practically the same situation, and took the new job. You’ll learn different aspects of being a creative designer with more constraints and probably more real-world considerations.

It’s not the ‘romantic’ designer solution, but it’s on the right side of the odds. Designers that are able to exercise complete creative flexibility for very long are very rare - think Newson, Starck, etc. The rest get old, and lose their touch for making things distinctive and cool.

Timf is right - it comes down to your disposition: are you a designer, or a manager? Do you want to stay down in the trenches, or make your designs happen in a more general, albeit removed, kind of way?