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Design Manager



This job is no longer accepting applications

See open jobs at Unilever.
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Job Title: Design Manager

Business Function: Global Marketing Services – Artwork Excellence

Location: 100VE, London


The Design Centre of Excellence (DCoE) forms a critical part of the Global Marketing Services (GMS) organisation, responsible for using transformative digital technologies to deliver effective and efficient end-to-end physical and digital pack solutions and asset management processes.

The Design Manager's role entails leading the Design Centre of Excellence, with key responsibilities including fostering a shared belief and vision for design throughout Unilever, integrating best practices in design across the organisation, and establishing a culture of design excellence. Recognising the pack as a paramount communication asset connecting with 3.4 billion consumers daily, the DCoE sets industry standards for both physical and digital packaging representations, while remaining updated on the latest industry best practices and cutting-edge technologies.

The Design Manager will evolve the global Unilever Design Centre of Excellence that will have at its core both a cultural shift and a focus on design to enable exceptional delivery. They will work across all Unilever Business Groups and with functions involved in the design and artwork processes to drive improvements in quality of delivery, while ensuring continuous improvement in process. You will build strong relationships with stakeholders, understanding and supporting business strategies that drive growth. The Design Manager will need to work closely with Pack R&D, CMI, Marketing Capabilities, Procurement, and the wider GMS team.

You will be responsible for leading a team of five Design Specialists, focusing on cultivating their skills, fostering growth, and empowering them to excel, with the goal of establishing your team as a best-in-class unit.

In addition, the Design Manager will strategically support the selection and management of external design agencies and internal Unilever partners and will embed a common way of working that will drive a design culture across all stakeholders who touch the packaging design process.


Build a Shared Belief and Vision for Design Across Unilever:

In Feb 2024 a steering committee will be formed to define what Design means for Unilever and set a clear vision, ambition, and strategy for Design. The Design Manager will be responsible for managing how the committee will work, agreeing key outputs and actions, and ensuring its success.

Collaborate with stakeholders to align Design goals with business objectives.

Identify variations in Design vision across Business Groups.

Define key success metrics for Pack Design, working closely with CMI

Institutionalize a Culture of Design Excellence:

Ensure regular reviews of Unilever Design output and how this shows up to our customers, both

in-store and online.

Introduce a Creative Inspiration series showcasing external design examples.

Collaborate with CMI and external agency partners to enhance research practices. Define key metrics for measuring Design success.

Ensure brands have Brand Visual Identity & Design Guidelines.

Embed best practice ways of working in design across Unilever.

Working alongside the Marketing Capabilities team and our External agencies, build a Design Capabilities programme to upskill marketers. Pilot and Deploy.

Input into the development of new pack design training material and guidance along with bringing awareness to all available design support tools, through design planning projects, documents, briefing and WoW development and management. Create an integrated platform for Design training and resources accessible to all functions.

Work closely with all Artwork Excellence Team (Process Team, Production Managers, and the Design Champions workstream globally) to drive the right tools and WoW for Design (Systems, Briefs, Playbooks, Documents).

Review external ways of working (among other companies and with agencies) and determine best in class processes, and how they might be incorporated into Unilever ways of working.

Future of the Pack:

Scale Connected and Accessible Packaging capabilities.

Utilize Generative A.I. tools for Design.

Implement automation for Design execution.

Lead the Design Specialists / Leads globally, partnering with the Artwork Production Managers, bringing design management expertise to Artwork Excellence and Marketing project leaders.

Ensure team members have the required skills and competencies to do their roles through providing training, coaching, development, and mentoring.

Via the regional Design Leads: guide strategically the Artwork Production Specialists (APS)s ad Design Champions (who will own the project and drive the design operationally) on regards of WoW, agency roster and design tools.

Understand all regions and local business needs, to drive a consistent WoW globally, also considering the diversity and local needs.

Facilitates close design partnerships across Marketing, Agency Partners, Pack R&D Design, CMI and Artwork Excellence

Engage with all Business Group Marketing teams, gain consensus, and embed a consistent Unilever Design management approach.

Support Marketing in agency selection and evaluation – comprehensive knowledge around rostered agency partners to bring this expertise to Marketing to aid in agency selection, based on brand criteria.

Partnering with Pack R&D 3D Design – supporting 3D innovation projects and promoting internal 3D capabilities.

Agency management and models

Ensure the Pack Design Roster is fit for purpose/ updated regularly for Unilever’s Business group needs.

Drive adoption of the Pack Design Roster across Unilever and savings (eg Right Agency, Right Work).

Partner with Procurement on the roster management, negotiation, training, and rating of the agencies.

Identify opportunities for integration in the agency model to streamline processes.

  • The scope of the role covers all strategic design WoW globally, providing the right tools to embed Design management (from Design Planning, inputs into the Strategic Brief, Adaptive Design, Design Lock Targets and Master Toolbox delivery.
  • Global cross category: All Business Groups & Business Units
  • This role will have direct line management and talent management responsibility for the Design Centre of Excellence team.
  • There is no central time zone and therefore the position may have to work in several different environments and multi-cultural teams.
  • This role will require interaction with vertical and horizontal work levels in the business.
  • Strong stakeholder’s management required.


Key Competencies:

  • Change management and strategic influencing.
  • Strong bias for action.
  • Deep understanding of Design.
  • Good communication and teamwork skills.
  • Negotiation skills for both internal and external stakeholders.
  • Talent management and team development skills.
  • Project and Pack design management.
  • Business orientation/acumen.
  • Resilience.
  • Self-motivation.

Key Professional Skills:

  • 8+ years of demonstrated success in design project management (packaging design preferred).
  • Strong project management, communication, and presentation skills.
  • Experience working in leading diverse and remote teams.
  • Design thinking


About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2 billion consumers a day. Unilever has more than 400 brands found in homes around the world, including Dove, Tresemme, Lynx, Lifebuoy, Shea Moisture, Persil, Domestos, Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum, Marmite, The Vegetarian Butcher, Graze and Pot Noodle.

Faced with the challenge of climate change and the need for human development, we want to move towards a world where everyone can live well and within the natural limits of the planet. That’s why our purpose is ‘to make sustainable living commonplace’


In September 2020, Unilever announced the intention to build a new sustainable campus site in Kingston, London to house the employees who currently work in 100 Victoria Embankment in Blackfriars, Lever House in Kingston and Graze in Richmond. We are creating our own Unilever sustainable, agile work environment, purposefully bringing us together in our own Unilever ecosystem. The campus is due to be completed in early 2025 and will consist of two interconnected buildings, as well as landscaped surrounding areas.

What We Offer

Not only do we offer a competitive salary and pension scheme, we also offer an annual bonus, subsidised gym membership, a discounted staff shop and shares. You’ll have the opportunity to work directly with our renowned and exciting brands in a flexible and hybrid working environment.

Whilst the role is advertised on a full-time basis, we would be happy to discuss possible flexible working options and what this may look like for you. We are a key advocate of wellbeing and offer a variety of support for our people including hubs, programmes and development opportunities. We strive to achieve a family-friendly and inclusive workplace and to, above all, create possibilities for all.

Diversity at Unilever is about inclusion, embracing differences, creating possibilities, and growing together for better business performance. We want to push boundaries, and have the flexibility needed to keep adapting in an ever-changing, more dynamic world. This means giving full and fair consideration to all applicants, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.

As part of your hiring journey, we are happy to support requests for reasonable adjustments, to improve your recruitment experience.

To find out more, including more information about our Employee Resource Groups, please click here.

Recruitment Fraud

Cyber criminals advertise fake job adverts with prestigious employers as a way of stealing information or even defrauding individuals out of money. In the most sophisticated cases, they will set up fake websites, which have a similar address to companies like Unilever. They even conduct fake telephone interviews and then offer candidates a role with the proviso they pay a fee for background checks or to cover work visa costs. These types of attacks are becoming more common as more people are looking for employment in the economic climate.

How is Unilever tackling this?

Many of Unilever’s recruitment sites publish a warning to candidates about recruitment fraud. The Cyber Security team also proactively scan for signs of people setting up fake Unilever sites and act to close them down.

What can I do?

If you become aware of potential recruitment fraud, spot fake Unilever recruitment adverts or fake LinkedIn profiles, report them via Una Live Chat.

Unilever does not accept responsibility or liability for any candidates who are financially impacted by recruitment fraud. Your vigilance is key!

This job is no longer accepting applications

See open jobs at Unilever.