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DM Conversations: Design Management 101 Students Interview Design Professionals


As part of Diane Ruengsorn’s Design Management 101 class, students interviewed professionals in the design management field – from graphic designers to fashion consultants to project managers and creative directors – starting a rich dialogue about the perception and role of design, the relationship between design and innovation, and the challenges facing design managers.

Some interview highlights:

Hannah Finchum Graphic Designer and Intern at Apple
(Interviewed by Samantha Martin)

How is design perceived in your company?

“Apple takes it very seriously, they are unlike any software company because they think of the design first and then the software. For example, with the new shapes of their computers or phones the design team would come up with the shape and then go to the software company and say that they want them to make software to fit this shape. Design is always coming first. Everyone at Apple loves collaboration, that’s why there is basically only one campus for Apple in Cupertino — because they want everyone to be involved with everyone’s projects and have design in mind.”

Roberto Alvarez Project Innovation Manager, Engineering Department, American Bureau of Shipping
(Interviewed by Sandra Alvarez Navarro)

“Successful design management is achieved by using good problem solving skills throughout the Design Life Cycle.”

Rosemary Rodriguez PCA Faculty member, former creative director for Thierry Mugler, and fashion consultant
(Interviewed by Stephanie Lukan)

How is design perceived in your industry?

“It’s vital. Fashion wouldn’t exist without both design and management. On their own, the terms mean nothing, you need the two heads together!”

Ken Lawsen Director and Design Manager for Lawsen Homes
(Interviewed by Megan Lawsen)

“Design management is critical to ensuring that regulatory and design requirements are adhered to, and that attention to detail result in a quality product. It is using strategic and creative thinking to achieve a result all parties are happy with.”

Linnea Anderson Designer for Danish company The Bodystocking
(Interviewed by Simone Langhoff)

How is design used in your organization?

“Design is used in our products, but is also the foundation of our company. Design is our products, our look and visual expression and our way of running things. All these are what makes the whole design of our brand. In our company good design is perceived as timeless, feminine and functional. Our products are minimalistic and clean, and we don’t necessarily follow trends and colors. We design products the customer can have in their wardrobe for more than one season. We have two collections; basic and fashion. Our basic line is never-out-of-stock products which means the stores always can restock and the products will never be on sale. Our fashion line is a little more trend and season orientated. But here we still try to catch a certain feeling of timelessness in the design, since that is one of the main factors in our design strategy.”