What's the Average Salary for a Digital Designer or Graphic Designer?

Designation Team Sep 2, 2017 Design Tips

The average salary of a traditional Graphic Designer with 1 to 3 years of experience is $48,250, up from $40,239 only a few years back. But don’t fret, there are plenty of ways to increase the value of your current skills.

Digital Design and Web Development Salaries in 2017

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:

  • Location
  • In-house vs. ‘agency’ side
  • Experience levels
  • Ability and tools used/understood
  • Communication skills
  • And of course, salary or hourly rate negotiations

This chart tell us we see a 3.6% bump in salaries in creative and marketing.
Image credit: roberthalf.com

Take a look at this chart of average salaries for digital designers in 2017:

Position/Salary Low High
Interaction Designer (5+ years) $88,250 $124,500
Interaction Designer (1 to 5 years) $60,750 $90,750
Responsive Designer $70,250 $101,750
Web Designer (5+) $83,250 $111,800
Web Designer (1-5) $70,500 $86,500
Digital Designer $63,000 $89,000
Information Architect $97,000 $144,000
User Experience (UX) Director $110,500 $178,000
User Experience (UX) Designer (5+) $92,750 $138,000
User Experience (UX) Designer (3-5) $75,750 $103,000
User Experience (UX) Designer (1-3) $52,000 $79,500
User Experience (UX) Specialist $90,500 $135,500
User Interface (UI) Developer $87,500 $132,000
Email Marketing Designer $57,250 $78,750
Flash Designer/Developer $70,500 $103,500
HTML Developer $65,000 $91,250
Front-End Web Developer (3+ years) $80,000 $119,500
Front-End Web Developer (1 to 3 years) $56,500 $80,500
Mobile Designer $80,000 $121,500

Traditional Creative and Graphic Design Salaries in 2017

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 and more creative professionals:

Position/Salary Low High
Graphic Designer (1 to 3 years) $39,750 $56,750
Graphic Designer (3 to 5 years) $53,250 $72,250
Graphic Designer (5+ years) $93,000 $97,500
Illustrator (1 to 3 years) $42,750 $59,500
Illustrator (3+ years) $58,750 $83,000
Art Director (3 to 5 years) $65,500 $87,250
Art Director (5+ years) $81,000 $107,500
Creative Director (5 to 8 years) $99,500 $143,500
Creative Director (8+ years) $116,250 $186,750

Salary data via a 2017 study conducted by The Creative Group (PDF).

Digital Design, Hybrid Roles and Online Strategy Is Where It’s At for 2017+

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 in 2017 with 1 to 3 years of experience is just $48,250, whereas for “Digital Designers,” “User Interface Designers,” and “User Experience Designers“, it’s $76,000, No small difference - almost $30,000 or an extra $2500 a month! Note: The data does not consider individuals who maintain multiple areas of discipline, and we’re using approximations with publicly available data.

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. A multi-disciplinary designer is highly sought after by creative teams and will often see even higher salary levels.

Looking to the future, digital design and web design have a stronger 10-year job outlook than traditional graphic and print design. According to a Robert Half Group survey, over 40% of advertising and marketing executives said it was difficult to find experienced, creative talent.

In addition, the same research performed by Robert Half Group strongly shows that hybrid professionals are in demand - these are the people who can handle a variety of roles (UX/UI, graphic design with some coding background, etc).

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 will@designation.io if you’d like to learn more about becoming a UX/UI designer can do for your career.

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