Since it emerged in the 1950s, the concept of design management has evolved from managing design projects or organisations to the core element of strategy.With design management capability, a corporation can deploy design resources adequately and flexibly. Although models of assessing design management capability and the possible relationship between it and design awareness have been studied sufficiently in previous research, the exact relationship has never been explicitly clarified and verified. Furthermore, design awareness is always associated with top managers or other non-design managers, while in most cases, design management capability is related to design leaders. Few studies have extended design awareness to design leaders or design management capability to top managers. To fill in this gap, a survey of design leaders and top managers in 200 established firms was conducted. This research contributes to design management theory in the four following respects: 1) identifying design awareness as an independent factor apart from design management capability, 2) confirming the moderator role of design awareness between design management capability and product innovation, 3)defining two independent systems of design awareness and design management capability of design leaders and top managers and 4) reporting no cross-valued awareness between design leaders and top managers in the current frame of design management capability.