The average salary of a traditional Graphic Designer is $40,239. But don’t fret, there are plenty of ways to increase the value of your skills. Click here to learn more about the DESIGNATION full-stack design bootcamp.
Digital Design and Development Salaries
The graphic design industry is undergoing a major transformation. Whereas TV, print and outdoor advertising used to be the primary outlets for a design career, digital is the name of the game these days. As the web and mobile mediums become increasingly ubiquitous, career opportunities in graphic design are skewing more and more in this direction, and with salaries to match.
Many times we get the question “What’s the average salary for a graphic designer?” or “What is a good starting salary for an entry-level graphic designer?” and of course, the honest answer is that the salary of a graphic designer varies.
The reasons for the salary variance are:
- In-house vs. ‘agency’ side
- Experience levels
- Ability and tools used/understood
- Communication skills
- And of course, salary or hourly rate negotiations
Take a look at this chart of average salaries for digital designers:
|Interaction Designer (5+ years)||$80,500||$114,500|
|Interaction Designer (1 to 5 years)||$54,500||$85,000|
|User Experience (UX) Director||$110,500||$178,000|
|User Experience (UX) Designer||$80,500||$126,500|
|User Experience (UX) Specialist||$82,500||$124,250|
|User Interface (UI) Developer||$83,500||$123,750|
|Web Designer (5+ years)||$80,000||$112,500|
|Web Designer (1 to 5 years)||$54,000||$84,000|
|Email Marketing Designer||$52,750||$75,000|
|Front-End Web Developer (3+ years)||$63,750||$100,000|
|Front-End Web Developer (1 to 3 years)||$50,750||$72,000|
Salary Averages: $70,882 (Low), $106,074 (High)
Salary High – User Experience (UX) Director – $178,000
Salary Low – Front-End Web Developer (1 to 3 years) – $50,750
Traditional Creative and Graphic Design Salaries
Now compare those numbers with the average salaries of traditional designers. According to the AIGA, graphic design is the “act or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, or books.”
Take a look at this chart of average salaries for graphic designers:
|Graphic Designer (1 to 3 years)||$38,750||$56,500|
|Graphic Designer (3 to 5 years)||$51,500||$72,000|
|Graphic Designer (5+ years)||$63,500||$90,000|
|Illustrator (1 to 3 years)||$41,000||$55,000|
|Illustrator (3+ years)||$54,500||$78,500|
|Art Director (3 to 5 years)||$63,000||$82,500|
|Art Director (5+ years)||$72,750||$106,000|
|Creative Director (5 to 8 years)||$95,500||$136,000|
|Creative Director (8+ years)||$105,500||$185,500|
Salary Averages: $65,111 (Low), $95,777 (High)
Salary High – Creative Director (8+ years)- $185,500
Salary Low – Graphic Designer (1 to 3 years) – $38,750
Salary data via a 2014 study conducted by The Creative Group (PDF).
Digital Is Where It’s At
As you can see, the salaries of designers that are focused on digital experiences tend to be higher than those in the Graphic Design world. According to Payscale.com, the average salary of a Graphic Designer is just $40,239, whereas for “Digital Designers,” “User Interface Designers,” and “User Experience Designers“, it’s $50,451, $60,846, and $73,163 respectively. No small difference! The data does not consider individuals who maintain multiple areas of discipline.
For example: a designer than can do Traditional Print Design and UI Design could potentially fill two roles for an organization’s creative needs. These individuals will typically see a higher level of compensation. Another example is the concept of a Full-Stack Designer, or someone who can perform at a professional level in all three areas of focus: User Experience, User Interface Design, and Front-End Development. A full-stack designer is highly sought after by creative teams and will often see even higher salary levels. Many design professionals will argue that there is no such thing because a designer can and should be an expert in one area of focus. While we agree with the notion of being focused, it is incredibly valuable to teams and employers to be able to conduct research, design, and code.
Looking to the future, digital design and web design have a stronger 10-year job outlook than traditional graphic and print design. Graphic Design positions are expected to grow by 7% this year, while the User Experience discipline is forecasted to see 18% job growth. The graphic design discipline is an extremely valuable skill and it can be transferred to many different industries. While the quantity of the non-digital work is shrinking, the foundational design concepts remain applicable across a variety of media. There are are multiple of ways to transition from graphic to digital design. Full-time Design Programs like ours at DESIGNATION are a great way to make the switch in just 12 short weeks. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about graphic design salaries at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to learn more about becoming a full-stack designer can do for your career.