How much do graphic designers make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for graphic designers in 2021 was $50,710, equating to an hourly wage of $24.38. The highest 10% of graphic designers earned more than $98,260 per year, while the lowest 10% earned $31,310 per year.
2021 vs. 2020
Compared to 2020, the median annual wage for graphic designers decreased by $2,670 or 5% ($50,710 in 2021; $53,380 in 2020) in 2021. On the contrary, the highest 10% earned $4,820 or 4.9% more ($98,360 in 2021; $93,440 in 2020), while the lowest 10% earned roughly the same ($31,310 in 2021; $31,720 in 2020).
We plotted the median and mean annual salaries for graphic designers in the US from 2017 to 2021 (not adjusted for inflation). We found that the graphic designers’ salaries have been increasing by around 3% year over year.
What’s the difference between mean and median salary?
In the simplest terms, the median salary is the middle value (i.e., if you have a set of 100 salaries, the median salary is the 50th), while the mean salary is simply the average of all salaries (i.e., if you have a set of 100 salaries, the mean salary is the sum of all salaries divided by the number of salaries).
Why are both important? While the mean salary simply tells us the average value, the median salary speaks about the distribution. When the median wage is not the same as the mean, we have a skewed distribution.
Wages per niche
The highest-paid graphic designers work specialized design services, earning $58,610 a year ($54,840 in 2020). They are followed by graphic designers working in advertising and public relations at $52,050 per year ($55,800 in 2020), newspaper publishing at $44,540 per year ($45,170 in 2020), and printing activities at $39,090 per year ($41,490 in 2020).
Comparison by years
|Median annual wage||$50,710||$53,380||-5.27%|
|Specialized design services||$58,610||$54,840||+6.43%|
|Advertising, public relations, and related services||$52,050||$55,800||-7.20%|
|Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers||$44,540||$45,170||-1.41%|
|Printing and related support activities||$39,090||$41,490||-6.14%|
Highest paying states for graphic designers the US
Graphic designers in the District of Columbia earn the highest average wage, at $83,070 per year or $39.94 per hour. The states with the highest average wages for graphic designers are the District of Columbia, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia.
|Rank||State||Hourly wage||Annual wage|
|1||District of Columbia||$39.94||$83,070|
The District of Columbia ranks first with an average salary of over $83,000 per year for graphic designers, well above the average $58,370 per year. The gap with number two, Washington, is $6,000. Geographically, salaries for graphic designers are highest on the east and west coasts of the US.
Highest paying graphic design jobs
According to the latest data, the highest-paying graphic design job is an art director, with an average salary of $97,270 per year, or $46.76 per hour. This job requires at least a bachelor’s degree and entails an overview of other graphic designers.
|Rank||Job Title||Hourly Wage||Annual Wage|
|2||Special effects artist and animator||$37.36||$77,700|
|3||Web developer and digital designer||$37.11||$77,200|
How Much do freelance graphic designers make?
Freelance graphic designers earn an average of between US$15 and US$35 per hour on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. Professionals make much more, up to $150 per hour.
Do graphic designers make good money?
Graphic designers earn 27% more ($53,380/year) than the median annual wage ($41,950/year). An experienced graphic designer can earn much more if they get proper training and learn the basics.
Why are graphic designers paid so little?
The truth is that graphic designers in the US are paid above average. However, many graphic designers are underpaid, for which there are several reasons.
First, many designers are neither talented nor qualified, which is reflected in their salaries. Second, some companies do not realize how valuable graphic designers are to the success of their products and therefore do not pay them enough.
Highest Salary Increase Software Skills
|Top skills||Salary increase|
|Adobe Creative Suite||9.81%|
|Adobe After Effects||9.40%|
Important skills to increase your pay
Many beginner designers don’t realize that investing in their skills is even more important than investing in the right tools. But you can multiply your success by doing both.
1. Artistic talent
Graphic designers must create designs that are visually interesting and appealing to clients and consumers. They develop rough illustrations of design concepts, either through inspired hand sketches or computer programs.
As a graphic designer, you are a visual artist working with illustrations, photography, or video. Your job is to put complex information into an easily digestible format. One of the best ways for other people to know you are there for them is to appear friendly. So focus on practicing your computer skills as often as possible.
3. Computer skills.
Computer literacy is crucial, as much of a graphic designer’s work uses the software.
4. Communication skills
Graphic designers need to be excellent listeners to interpret visual design briefings from clients and customers. When these briefings contain conflicting information or unclear instructions, designers must learn to prioritize which information is most important for their designs—something that requires tact and patience.
5. Time-management skills
Graphic designers usually work on several projects at the same time. Often, deadlines vary from project to project and may differ from project to project.
6. Analytical skills
Graphic designers need to know how to look at their work from the consumer’s point of view to ensure that designs can convey a message appropriately and clearly.
How much do graphic designers make an hour?
According to the latest 2021 data, graphic designers earn $24.38 per hour, which is around 5% less than in 2020, when they earned $25.66 per hour.
How much do graphic designers earn in the UK?
The starting salary for a graphic designer in the UK is between £15,000 and £19,000. The average salary for a graphic designer in the UK is around £45,000. Creative directors and managers earn £60,000 per year.
Which GCSE do you need for graphic design?
According to National Careers, you need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a Level 3 course. You will also need 1 or 2 A-Levels, a Level 3 Diploma, or relevant experience for a Level 4 or 5 course.
Can you earn $100,000 as a graphic designer?
Yes. Although fewer than 10% of graphic designers earn more than $100,000 per year, it is possible with the right skills and determination.
How much do graphic designers earn in Florida?
In Florida, a graphic designer earns $51,610 a year, or $24.81 an hour, slightly below the US average. The 10th percentile wage is just over $30.00 per year.
How much do graphic designers earn in New York?
New York is one of the best-paying states for graphic designers. They earn $68,260 per year or $32.82 per hour. The 90th percentile salary is over $106.00 per year.
How much do graphic designers earn in California?
Since California is a West Coast state, the salary is well above average at $66,600 per year, or $32.02 per hour. The 10th percentile earns $34,330/year, while the 90th percentile earns $104,000/year.
How much do graphic designers make in the Philippines?
The average salary for a graphic designer is ₱244,163 per year in the Philippines. According to Payscale, the graphic design field is growing faster than average. If you want to get into business, the first step is to get the right education. The graphic design program in the Philippines is called Associate in Science in Design. The course covers the basics of art, design, and typography. It will take a while before you can earn money, but it is a good career move if you are interested in a rewarding and well-paying career in the long run.
How much does a graphic designer earn in Pakistan?
The average annual salary of a graphic designer in Pakistan is Rs 360,730, and the highest possible annual salary is Rs 1,162,210. Most state that the wages at the lower end of the scale are Rs 315,327. Therefore, a graphic designer’s salary range in Pakistan is between Rs 315,327 and Rs 1,162,210.
How much does a graphic designer earn in Canada?
The average salary for a graphic designer in Canada is $47,806 per year or $21.73 per hour. The best paying graphic design jobs in Canada are digital designer ($57,555/yr), graphic designer ($56,370/yr), and visual designer ($53,241/yr). The highest paying cities for graphic designers in Canada are Vancouver ($28.60/hr), Edmonton ($23.48/hr), and Calgary ($21.87/hr).
How much does a graphic designer earn in Australia?
The average salary for a graphic designer is AU$55,178 per year, with the highest-paid graphic designers earning over AU$110,000 per year. Depending on the industry and location, a graphic designer can earn up to AU$30,000 per year.
In this brief article on graphic designer salaries, you learned that a graphic designer in the US earns an average of $53,000 per year. To increase your earnings, you should study, gain relevant experience, and improve your skills.
- Graphic Designers. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov. Access August 2, 2022.
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