One of the new Features for SharePoint 2013 after activating the SharePoint Publishing Infrastructure Site Collection Feature is the Design Manager. Depending on your current skill level in using Branding solutions and techniques this is really going to depend on if you use this option to Brand SharePoint.

The ability to Import Design Packages is very powerful however:
•Where does this design package come from?
•Who creates the Design Package?

Before branding SharePoint you will often find that Web Designer will provide you with a HTML Master Page to just demonstrate what the site may look like and this may be created in SharePoint Designer, Dreamweaver, Notepad++, Visual Studio or any other Design Software. This would be a non SharePoint Master Page and it will just contain

Tags and then everything in between included with a CSS file to Brand and position.

The Design Manager is simply a central administration screen to help designers create and apply SharePoint branding to their SharePoint Sites with much more ease and professionalism while at the same time saving time having to learn how to manipulate the SharePoint Seattle or Oslo Master Pages.

This can all be achieved by creating a HTML file and then allowing the Design Manager to convert this into a SharePoint master page. Gone are the days of manipulating the Seattle Master Page to match our branding now we can create a HTML Master Page and let SharePoint Design Manager do the hard work for us.

The Design Manager is built up of eight steps and allows users to quickly start Branding SharePoint, we are currently building a New SharePoint Branding course which will be due for release in the Spring allowing users to learn the basics of Branding SharePoint 2013 Server and On Prem.