How Much Are Graphic Designers Paid?

By Michelle Ecker on August 3rd, 2018
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If you’re interested in starting a career in graphic design, it’s important to do some research into how much money you can expect to make. Whether you will be working full time or freelancing, we thought it would helpful to share some industry standard averages.

Generally, a well-trained graphic designer with a moderate amount of experience (basically someone who has a decent portfolio to offer potential employers or clients), will earn somewhere between $45,000 and $55,000 getting started.

This number can vary significantly, mostly based on skill set, location, experience and level of responsibility that falls on said designer.

So for example, if you have a nice portfolio and are applying to be a graphic designer on a marketing team in a metropolitan area like New York or San Francisco, you should expect to make somewhere more in the $60,000 - $80,000 range, depending on how integral your role would be to day-to-day operations.

Take an Online Graphic Design Course

Payscale estimates that recent design school graduates are more likely to make around $49,000 entry level, as opposed to self-taught designers, who average an offer closer to $40,000. As is true for any industry, that salary increases with every subsequent year of experience henceforth. For example, designers who have graduated school and have been working for more than two years in a full-time or freelance environment are estimated to make about $57,000 per year.

Once a designer has really gotten his or her foot in the door and has been working for a substantial amount of time in the industry (we’re talking about 5 years), the expected salary sits somewhere around the $70,000 - $80,000 range.

How to Make a Graphic Design Portfolio

The amount of money you can make as a graphic designer also varies depending on the type of product/ content you are designing. For example, a design intern who perhaps never received formal training and only contributes on a much smaller scale to the production process might only expect to make about

$25,000 per year. Comparatively, a designer who has gone to school, developed a strong portfolio, and is designing for the web can expect to make $61,000.


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