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What Kind of Salary to Expect in Graphic Design

The average salary of someone who works as a graphic designer will vary widely, depending on factors such as education level, experience, location, and the size of the company. The average pay for a graphic designer in the United States as of July 2014 was approximately $51,000 a year. The bottom 10 percent of graphic designers had an annual salary of $39,000, while the top 10 percent of graphic designers saw a salary of $63,000.

Average Starting Salary

The average starting salary of a graphic designer is heavily influenced by geographic region. Depending on where you are seeking a job, your starting salary will likely be anywhere between $32,000 and $55,000. The industry you’re employed in also influences your salary. For example, graphic designers employed by the government report a higher salary than those who work in the private sector.

The size of your employer also affects your starting salary. A larger company typically has a higher starting salary for a graphic designer, while a small business will likely offer a smaller salary. If you are applying to a company that has not offered a starting salary amount, researching the company to determine how many employees it has may give you a general idea of what you can expect.

Lastly, your education will play a role in your starting salary. Graduates who have attended a school with a strong graphic design program may be held in higher esteem than others. Any practical experience you were able to acquire during your schooling may give you leverage when negotiating a starting salary. Internships are an especially helpful way to gain graphic design experience before entering the field.

Increasing Your Salary as a Graphic Designer

Once you begin your career as a graphic designer, there are certain things you can do to increase your salary. You need to stay current with design programs and software, understand the graphic design trends, and be willing to adapt your style and methods to accommodate new ideas and expectations. By continuing to hone your skills as a graphic designer, you will stay relevant and able to compete in the industry.

In the graphic design industry, experience is immensely important. A graphic designer with years of solid experience will see a higher annual salary than a recent graduate. By being reliable and consistent in your work over time, you will gain the experience and seniority you need to negotiate a higher salary.


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