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Graphic Design Salaries: Average Starting Salaries & Pay Scale

graphic design salaries

Graphic design salaries can pay well, but you have to be good! Either way, the average starting salary for graphic designers isn’t going to make you rich.

We are currently living in one of the toughest economic slumps since the Great Depression.  The job outlook in the United States is bleak and many experts believe that the climb out of this economic slump will be slow and tedious.  There are, of course, jobs that are protected from this downward spiral.  Graphic design jobs are actually projected to grow by nearly twenty percent in the next decade alone.  As more and more companies turn to professional and creative graphic designers for their branding and merchandising needs, the need for graphic designers is escalating dramatically.

Graphic Design Salaries: Why are They Rising?

Why do companies today need graphic designers more than in years past? The field of advertising, branding and merchandising is changing constantly.  In the past, huge advertising firms contracted work for large companies to assist them in developing a brand.  All the work was done in house, and the companies who purchased the agency’s time and efforts had relatively minimal levels of input in the minor decisions of design.

Today, however, that trend is changing.  Now, more than ever, companies are deciding to make their own decisions with regard to branding, logos, advertising, newsletters and other publications.  Companies are hiring their own staff of talented and creative graphic designers to fulfill all their design needs.  This trend has created a great demand for accomplished graphic designers.  A large demand and a small supply means bigger salary numbers for graphic designers.

Graphic Design Career Salaries

The salary you will receive as a graphic designer depends largely on the type and scale of work you will be completing for your employers.  A small business will obviously have fewer graphic design needs than a large-scale corporation.  Some of the tasks you may be completing as a graphic designer are:

Logo design: whether the company is brand new and has never had a logo or is decades old and simply needs the logo to be updated, graphic designers are finding employment with this type of work.

Branding: once the logo is designed, graphic designers are used to develop that logo into many different formats and usages.  Some companies have different versions of their logo as a letter head, on signage, sent out in newsletters, etc.  Branding is an enormous part of a graphic designer’s workload.

Web design and maintenance: because companies are recognizing the value of having a web presence, graphic designers are needed to help create an attractive and streamlined website.  Years ago, a company could survive just fine without a website.  Today, that is simply not the case.  Graphic designers are pooling their talents to create beautiful, efficient web presences for their clients.

Publications: from newsletters to magazines to advertising flyers to e-mail updates, companies need graphic designers to make their publications eye-catching and attention-grabbing.  A graphic designer with a good understanding of color, line, fonts, and spacing will find ample work designing publications for an employer or company.

Graphic Design Starting Salaries

The latest reports suggest that the average starting salary for a graphic designer is somewhere around $30,000.  This number is considered to be a low estimate.  Many graphic designers begin work at a salary level of $45,000 or more.  While these graphic designers will usually hold an entry-level position for the first two or three years of employment, the growth rate of graphic designers is astronomical.  In just a few short years, as your assignments increase and your value is recognized, a talented graphic designer may be able to expect a salary of $75,000 or more!  Many freelancers supplement their salaries with freelance work, making their annual income even greater.

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