What to Put In A Design Management Portfolio?

I have applied for several Design Management/Design Director positions, and have been lucky enough to get some requests for more information from a few of them. They are asking me to send a portfolio, and I’m not sure how (or if) this should be different from a portfolio I might have sent for a senior product position?

Thanks in advance for any tips!

A design management role is going to be more about your achievements. What have you put out, what have you succeeded at. From a process perspective it is less about how hot your sketches are but to show how you are capable of leading a design organization.

The work you show should demonstrate:

-How have you created alignment and solved complex problems?
-How do you treat things like design vision, design language?
-How have you helped to shape the outcome of projects?

Including the work from your current Sr Designer role is fine if you think it shows valuable skills, but the big gap between a great senior designer and a great design director is your ability to craft a vision for the larger organization, and those skills are what you want to highlight.

I show a lot of “From” “To”

In other words,

  1. this is what I started with, products, people process
  2. these are the challenges and opportunities I helped to identify
  3. these are the processes and people I put in place
  4. these were the results
  5. this is what I would do differently based on what I learned

I also still show hot sketches because part of my persona is that while I can think very strategically I can also roll up my sleeves when needed and work tactically to move the ball down the field, gain the respect of my team, better understand and manage their process and because I love it and you want someone who loves it.

Thanks to both of you for your very thoughtful responses. I’m sequestered in my office pulling my portfolio together as I type this. Thanks so much