How Much Does A Graphic Designer Make?

3d Graphic design

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),  graphic designers made an annual median wage  of  $48,690 per year as of May 2011. To clarify what BLS’ salary rate means “the median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than the base amount quoted  and half earned less.”

So, using the above quoted figure half of the graphic designers in the United States made less than $48,690 (that works out to $23.41 hourly rate) per year in 2011 and 50% made more.   The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,200, and the top 10 percent earned more than $77,370. In 2010, about 29 percent of graphic designers were self-employed.

However, it would be a good idea to mention and, keep in mind in your job search and/or client pricing, that your potential salary will vary a lot based on the three important variables or factors listed below:

Job Title, Job Skills and Work Experience

As a graphic designer you will be expected to have basic design skills, usually obtained at an accredited design school or college degree program.  Your salary rate will be affected by how much work experience you have, the varying design skill sets you have obtained and can demonstrate to a potential employer( for example, are you familiar with web app design or have you developed a background in print media layout, etc.).  Keep in mind digital skills will definitely contribute to an increase in your expected salary rate or client fee.  For more specific information concerning 2012 graphic design salary rates, I suggest you download The Creative Group’s  free “2012 Salary Guide “ which is chock-full of  detailed information on specific job positions within the graphic design industry.

Pay Varies by Region

This may come as a shock, but your pay or salary will be impacted by the region of the country you live in and the accessibility you may have to major metropolitan areas  (i.e. small towns vs. big cities). According to the BLS, pay rates vary by regional areas and they further differ by demographic areas within a state.  Even in California (where I live and work) ,pay rates can vary by what major city you choose to live by.

According to the BLS, the median annual wage for California graphic designers is $57,140.  However, the highest paying annual median wage for graphic designers in California is near San Jose at $72,820. For more research, you might want to visit the BLS’ Occupational Employment and Wages for Graphic Designers website page.

As an example, I have included a graphic for the Average Graphic Designer Salaries in Los Angeles, taken from a free salary calculator available on Simply Hired.

Average Graphic Design Salary - Los Angeles

With the same online calculator, I was able to get information regarding the average graphic design salaries available for specific jobs.

graphic design salary Los Angeles 2012

This salary information was calculated using the average salary for all jobs with the term “graphic design” anywhere in the job listing.

Type of Industry

The third factor that will impact your salary rate will be the type of industry or employer that employs you or hires you.  Design salaries will be higher in web graphic and computer generated design businesses than they traditionally are in print media design businesses.

All the above mentioned factors are important considerations in your job search  and determining your expected salary rate.  In addition, it can help you  to decide on what your base market rate will be and  what you will be charging your prospective clients.

If this information has been helpful to you, please don’t hesitate to share, like or comment. Thanks!

Related Posts:

What does A Graphic Designer Do?

About richmediadp

I'm a freelance graphic designer working out of Orange County, CA - USA. I work with small and mid sized companies to develop creative solutions for their design problems from print collateral to online graphics.

Posted on September 8, 2012, in Freelance Design and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’ll immediately grab your rss as I can not find your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please let me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  2. Woah this weblog is great i love studying your articles. Stay up the good work! You already know, lots of individuals are looking around for this info, you can aid them greatly.

  3. Thanks Alot…Trying my best to get good, high quality information out there for graphic designers as well as my clients. FYI, my email subscription is on the upper right hand corner of the blog site.

  4. I would like to express my affection for your kind-heartedness supporting people who require guidance on this subject. Your special dedication to getting the message across has been amazingly invaluable and have continually encouraged guys much like me to realize their desired goals. Your personal helpful useful information can mean a great deal a person like me and even further to my colleagues. Best wishes; from all of us.

    • Hey,great to hear that this article has been helpful to you and any other graphic designers that are interested. I’ll keep striving to post the best information I can so I hope you’ll check back.

  5. Good designs

    Theodore Sanchez

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