How Much Do Graphic Designers Make?

graphic designer job descriptionGraphic designers create graphics, and other visual designs, imagery, and concepts.

They use computer software as the tools of their trade, and can develop imagery for any request. If you look design and layout work on advertisements, magazines, websites, and corporate reports, this will all have been designed by a graphic designer.

Some of the key duties of a graphic designer includes:

• Meeting with clients to discuss projects
• Discussing the viability of a project with a client
• Creating images and designs to convey a message
• Working with brand and logo designs
• Making choices on colours, fonts, style, and layouts used on projects
• Working with the client to make changes
• Reviewing designs to ensure they are free from errors before publishing

Graphic designers are an important part in the process of branding, logo’s, presentation, and marketing. Being highly skilled and being able to produce high quality, professional looking work, can add a lot of value to a company.

If you would like to find out more, have a look at our how to become a graphic designer page.

Graphic Designer Salary

So, how much do graphic designers make? Well, the annual median wage is $50,370. The median wage is calculated by taking into account how much half the graphic designers earned more than, and also how much half earned less than. Giving us an idea of an average graphic designer’s salary.

graphic designer salaryThe lowest 10% are on record earning less than $29,610, while the top 10% earned in excess of $85,760. This shows a clear division between designers with experience and qualifications, against those who are lesser skilled. You can see from this that a graphic designers starting salary is in the lowest 10% under $29,610.

An interesting consideration is that, around 18% of graphic designers are self-employed. This is due to the nature of the work, being able to be completed remotely in most cases. This also means that a lot of time may be spent looking for new clients and bidding for work.

The ability to work remotely also lends itself towards graphic designers being able to work for international clients. This can lead to a fluctuation in an hourly rate, due to different countries having different average pay scales.

Top 5 Paying States

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
New York FlagNew York 2.10$29.11$60,560
Connecticut FlagConnecticut 1.39$28.34$58,940
California FlagCalifornia 1.80$28.34$58,940
Maryland FlagMaryland 1.43$28.09$58,440
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey

Top Paying Industries

IndustryPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Federal Executive Branch0.08$37.22$77,420
Aerospace Parts Manufacturing 0.07$34.30$71,340
Securities Intermediation, and Brokerage 0.03$30.99$64,460
Telecommunications 0.08$30.73$63,910
Scientific Development Services 0.17$30.08$62,570

Graphic Designer Job Description

what does a graphic designer makeThe scope of a graphic designer can be varied and wide. So, it’s a relevant question to ask – what does a graphic designer do?

To explain the role in a general terms, graphic designers create visual images by hand or via computer software. Organizations rely on visual images to help consumers recognize their brand, and convey their message. So designers will work with companies, clients, and individuals to work towards producing images they are after.

Graphic designers use a combination of technology, art, and creative influence to communicate ideas through their designs. They use their skills to achieve the desired results by using a range of elements, including; images, text, page layouts, and colors. Usually relying heavily on computer software packages to aid their work.

Graphic design has always been an important part of a company’s sales and marketing campaigns. Having a professional and unique looking campaign will help a product stand out from the crowd and attract customers. So having a creative streak is a desirable skill for designers, and will help with employment opportunities.

Communication is also a desirable skillset for a graphic designer to display. There is a great deal of communication required between the designer and the client when putting a project together. Often the client will have a concept they want translated into a design, this responsibility will fall on the designer to interpret and translate into a design. Communicating back and forth with the client to ensure the desired result will be achieved.

There is an ongoing learning curve with graphic designers that want to stay ahead of the competition. Technology and software packages are always changing, so training and updating knowledge will be necessary. This can be through an individual’s own desire to improve their skillset, or some on-job training from employers.

Graphic designer’s career paths can be interesting and varied. Typically they will work on a lot of different jobs and projects, widening their skillset and keeping the work interesting. With the ever evolving nature of internet based work, new and innovative designs and methods are always being developed.

Graphic Designer Job Outlook

Rate of employment is expected to grow 4% from 2016 to 2026. This is slightly slower than all occupations grouped together, but graphic designers will remain in demand and an important part of a company’s marketing and branding strategy.

The 4% change is a broad statement, and will vary depending on the industry they are working in. For example, graphic designers working in paperback books, newspaper, or directory industries are set to decline sharply. 

While designers working in internet based industries, such as website design, images for handheld devices, and eBooks are expected to grow dramatically. Internet usage is always increasing, and the need for graphics and images is larger than ever. There is an expected 20% growth rate in these industries between 2106 and 2026.

Graphic Designer Salary by State

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Alabama FlagAlabama0.781$18.98$39,470
Alaska FlagAlaska0.802$23.81$49,530
Arizona FlagArizona1.228$22.04$45,850
Arkansas FlagArkansas0.807$18.80$39,100
California FlagCalifornia1.797$28.34$58,940
Colorado flagColorado1.702$23.40$48,680
Connecticut FlagConnecticut1.391$28.34$58,940
Delaware flagDelaware1.02$24.41$50,770
Florida FlagFlorida1.491$21.37$44,450
Georgia FlagGeorgia1.574$24.70$51,380
Hawaii FlagHawaii0.79$20.05$41,710
Idaho FlagIdaho1.48$20.86$43,390
Illinois FlagIllinois1.629$24.58$51,120
Indiana FlagIndiana1.099$19.72$41,010
Iowa FlagIowa1.254$18.99$39,500
Kansas FlagKansas1.356$21.40$44,510
Kentucky FlagKentucky0.956$19.41$40,380
Louisiana FlagLouisiana0.948$18.83$39,170
Maine FlagMaine1.195$18.27$38,000
Maryland FlagMaryland1.426$28.09$58,440
Massachusetts FlagMassachusetts1.506$26.28$54,650
Michigan FlagMichigan1.351$23.05$47,940
Minnesota FlagMinnesota1.985$24.49$50,940
Mississippi FlagMississippi0.835$17.43$36,250
Missouri FlagMissouri1.647$22.42$46,630
Montana FlagMontana1.397$19.44$40,440
Nebraska FlagNebraska1.531$20.68$43,010
Nevada FlagNevada1.248$22.68$47,180
New Hampshire FlagNew Hampshire1.346$21.66$45,050
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey1.31$26.94$56,030
New Mexico FlagNew Mexico0.967$20.33$42,280
New York FlagNew York2.095$29.11$60,560
North Carolina FlagNorth Carolina1.306$22.20$46,180
North Dakota FlagNorth Dakota1.5$17.01$35,370
Ohio FlagOhio1.469$22.16$46,100
Oklahoma FlagOklahoma0.92$21.06$43,810
Oregon FlagOregon1.641$23.33$48,520
Pennsylvania FlagPennsylvania1.539$23.06$47,970
Rhode Island FlagRhode Island1.251$25.78$53,630
South Carolina FlagSouth Carolina1.105$19.20$39,940
South Dakota FlagSouth Dakota1.459$16.89$35,140
Tennessee FlagTennessee1.146$21.39$44,490
Texas FlagTexas1.049$21.89$45,530
Utah FlagUtah1.984$22.76$47,340
Vermont FlagVermont1.764$22.50$46,810
Virginia FlagVirginia1.596$26.33$54,770
Washington FlagWashington1.465$26.46$55,030
West Virginia FlagWest Virginia0.689$20.20$42,020
Wisconsin FlagWisconsin1.74$22.02$45,810
Wyomin FlagWyoming1.038$18.25$37,960

Top paying metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City – CA, Metropolitan Division 2.79$37.47$77,940
San Jose / Sunnyvale / Santa Clara – CA 1.94$35.27$73,360
Bridgeport / Stamford / Norwalk – CT 2.36$33.53$69,750
Framingham – MA – NECTA Division 2.57$33.12$68,900
Oakland/Fremont/Hayward – CA, Metropolitan Division 1.73$32.90$68,430

Top paying non-metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
St. Mary’s County – Maryland – nonmetropolitan area 0.99$28.04$58,330
Northwestern Connecticut – nonmetropolitan area 1.96$26.93$56,010
North Central Colorado – nonmetropolitan area 1.40$25.19$52,400
North Georgia – nonmetropolitan area 0.84$23.76$49,430
South Georgia – nonmetropolitan area 0.36$23.52$48,920

Graphic Designer Career Video

Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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