Questions on enrolling? We’re here 9am–8pm ET Mon–Fri

Your Graphic Designer Salary Guide

By Des Sinkevich on June 08, 2023

Your Graphic Designer Salary Guide

Graphic designers are creative professionals who help businesses create visual content that communicates their message. They use a variety of tools, such as typography, color, imagery, and animation to create visually appealing designs that capture the attention of viewers.

Graphic designers can work in a variety of industries and even work for themselves as freelancers. Depending on what direction they choose to go in as a designer, they can potentially increase how much they can earn.

If you’re considering a creative career as a graphic designer, here’s what you need to know about the salary, what skills can help you earn more money, and how to get started in the field.

How much do graphic designers make?

The median annual wage for graphic designers in 2019 was $52,110.

This means that half of all graphic designers earned more than this amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,370, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $86,510.

However, your salary as a graphic designer can vary depending on your education, work experience, skills, and even where you live.

How much do graphic designers make in each state?

Graphic designer salaries vary by state due to differences in cost of living and job availability.

Texas is one of the top-paying states for graphic designers with an average hourly wage of $18.77 per hour or about $39,000 annually.

Other high-paying states include California ($20/hour or about $41,600 annually) and New York ($21/hour or about $44,350 annually).

Graphic Designer Salary by State

State Annual Mean Wage Annual Hourly Wage
Alaska $52,320 $25.15
Alabama $51,480 $51,480
Arkansas $50,420 $24.24
Arizona $58,290 $28.02
California $80,240 $38.58
Colorado $66,920 $32.17
Connecticut $67,590 $32.50
District of Columbia $87,980 $42.30
Delaware $59,730 $28.72
Florida $56,870 $27.34
Georgia $59,170 $28.45
Hawaii $57,780 $27.78
Iowa $46,840 $22.52
Idaho $53,890 $25.91
Illinois $59,960 $28.83
Indiana $52,690 $25.33
Kansas $53,370 $25.66
Kentucky $52,130 $25.06
Louisiana $44,380 $21.34
Massachusetts $73,060 $35.13
Maryland $68,210 $32.79
Maine $51,640 $24.83
Michigan $63,150 $30.36
Minnesota $64,880 $31.19
Missouri $50,230 $24.15
Mississippi $46,160 $22.19
Montana $47,870 $23.02
North Carolina $57,380 $27.59
North Dakota $48,070 $23.11
Nebraska $54,010 $25.96
New Hampshire $64,020 $30.78
New Jersey $71,640 $34.44
New Mexico $49,100 $23.61
Nevada $58,220 $27.99
New York $81,370 $39.12
Ohio $57,370 $27.58
Oklahoma $51,590 $24.80
Oregon $65,320 $31.40
Pennsylvania $56,360 $27.10
Rhode Island $68,580 $32.97
South Carolina $52,970 $25.46
South Dakota $41,350 $19.88
Tennessee $52,840 $25.40
Texas $54,970 $26.43
Utah $54,340 $26.13
Virginia $68,700 $33.03
Vermont $62,850 $30.22
Washington $73,130 $35.16
Wisconsin $55,180 $26.53
West Virginia $44,800 $21.54
Wyoming $45,220 $21.74


Which states do graphic designers make the most?

The highest paying states for graphic designers are California ($20/hour or about $41,600 annually), New York ($21/hour or about $44,350 annually), Massachusetts ($20/hour or about $42000 annually), Washington ($19/hour or about $$40400 annually), and Illinois ($18/hour or about $38,400 annually).

How much do mid-level graphic designers earn?

Mid-level graphic designers typically earn an average salary of around $50,000 per year. This figure can vary depending on the designer's experience level and the type of projects they take on. Junior graphic designers usually earn less than mid-level designers but can still expect to make a comfortable living.

A mid-level designer is generally considered to be someone who has about 3-5 years of work experience in either a marketing agency, on an in-house marketing team, or as a freelancer. The next level is someone who would be considered a senior graphic designer.

How much do junior graphic designers earn?

The average national salary for a junior graphic designer is around $45,228. That number can vary, though, depending on where they work, what state they’re in, and other factors.

A junior designer is generally someone who is newer to the field, with about 1-3 years of work experience.

What are the best-paid skills and qualifications for graphic designers?

The best-paid skills and qualifications for graphic designers include knowledge of design software such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, a strong portfolio showcasing their work, and experience in several types of design projects. While these days, graphic designers don’t necessarily need to have a degree to qualify for a job, most employers will show preference to applicants who have the relevant education background or formal training.

Can a graphic designer make over 100k?

It’s possible for a highly skilled graphic designer to make over $100,000 per year, but it’s also not probable that they will. In order to earn this much, the designer would likely need to hold a full-time job with an agency or in-house marketing company, plus do extensive freelance work on the side. While it’s not likely that most designers – especially new ones – will earn that high of a salary, you can up your chances of earning more by focusing on developing your skills, making sure you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new design techniques and technology, and constantly create.

Is being a graphic designer good money?

Being a graphic designer can definitely earn you good money! It’s a creative career that can allow you to earn a satisfying salary without having to always be working, which is a plus.

Is graphic design a good career?

If you’re creative, have strong technology skills, and like to innovate and think outside the box, becoming a graphic designer can be a great career. It’s also a job that can allow you to pursue work-from-home roles relatively easily, so you can build a career that fits your life.

Graphic designer salary vs web developer salary

While graphic designers and web developers will often work together on a variety of projects, they’re very different jobs. Web developers build and maintain websites, while graphic designers will create the images, icons, and look that the website will present.

The average web developer can make around $82,516, while the average graphic designer can make around $52,000 starting out. The difference in salaries usually comes down to the amount of technical skill needed for the job and the demand to fill each role.

How to become a graphic designer online

If you’re looking to take the next steps toward a creative career that can allow you to earn a decent starting salary, becoming a graphic designer could be the right fit for you! To become a graphic designer, you’ll generally need at least some education in the field to build the skills you’ll need to be successful on the job.

While, in the past, employers have preferred to hire designers who have a bachelor’s degree, these days, many jobs are open to different routes to gain skills. It all comes down to being able to demonstrate that you know what you’re doing and have the talent the company is looking for! With that in mind, it’s possible to prepare for a graphic design career online through a certificate or diploma course. The benefit is that, usually, it will take you a lot less time to complete than a full college degree and is often less expensive.

Through a program like NYIAD’s online Graphic Design Course, you’ll develop the skills that are standard for graphic designers in any field, from using industry-standard software like Adobe to understanding how to design for print or web. You’ll also start to build your professional portfolio! A portfolio will be an essential part of your application process when you’re looking for jobs since employers will want to see what you’re capable of.

Take the first step toward a creative job with NYIAD

Not sure if becoming a graphic designer is really right for you? Or want to learn how to start learning today? Reach out to our expert Admissions Team at 1-800-583-1742 for help!