How Much Do Graphic Designers Make? [Infographic]

How Much Graphic Designers Make

How much does a graphic designer make?

If you've considered a career as a graphic designer, or been curious how your income compares to others, you've probably wondered how much graphic designers make.

Are you earning too little? Are you worried you should be earning more? Is graphic design the career choice for you?

As a graphic designer I have asked these questions many times, and not just because I am a nosey parker. Understanding the average yearly income of other graphic designers can help you understand how well you're progressing in your graphic design career.

It's also very useful to know whether income correlates with talent, how much mobility there is within the industry and what you can do to improve your prospects.

To help answer these questions we have compiled a whole bunch of numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and turned them into a beautiful infographic.

It's important to note that graphic design as a profession is as long as it is wide, and the type of graphic designer you are can have swinging affects on the money you make.

The data we have used to produce this infographic is specific to the USA labor market and averages earnings across all different graphic designer types.

Key takeaways from this infographic:

  • The average pay of a graphic designer is $46,000 per year
  • Designers skilled in multiple areas (such as animation & 3D design) earn $20,000 more than average
  • Art Directors earn the most at an average of $89,000 per year

Even though the information we have used in this post is specific to graphic designers living and working in the USA, it still provides an accurate and informative benchmark for everyone.

How Much Graphic Designers Make [infographic]

How Much Do Graphic Designers Make?
An infographic showing statistics from the US Bureau of Labor on “How Much Do Graphic Designers Make?”

The breakdown:

There are an estimated 262,000 graphic designers in the USA.

In 2014 4 out of 5 graphic designers were employed by companies meaning only 20% of graphic designers are self employed freelancers.

The top 5 industries employing graphic designers are:

  1. Specialised design services (10%)
  2. Advertising & PR (8%)
  3. Newspapers, Magazines & Books (7%)
  4. Printing services (7%)
  5. Wholesale trade (6%)

Although many graphic designers work independently, those who work for specialised design firms often work as part of a design team.

Art directors are the highest paid graphic design professionals averaging more than $89,000 per year.

Income: what are you worth?

  1. Graphic designers make on average $46,900 per year
  2. The average hourly wage is $22.55
  3. Graphic designers earn 29.5% more than the average American’s wage
  4. The lowest 10% of graphic designers in the US earned less than $27,560

Multi-skilled graphic designers with other software knowledge such as animation & 3D design earn almost $20,000 more than average per year.

Design industry growth expectations from now to 2024

The graphic design industry is expected to grow by 1%. Graphic design jobs in print media are projected to decline 35% whilst jobs in computer system design (UI) are expected to grown 21%.

Many talented individuals are attracted to careers as graphic designers. Prospects will be better for applicants who work with various types of media such as both websites and print publications.

How does this make you feel? Post in the comments!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I'd love to know your reaction to these statistics – post in the comments below and let us know what you think!


  1. I like these facts, and they’re pretty accurate. I think it’s integral to grab contracts also, for reliable + consistent income. Also, once you master a schedule of managing those contracts, you’re able to add more onto your plate, or sit back and enjoy what you have going for you! Good read!

  2. Traci Shaffer

    That $46,000 figure is more for the degreed, experienced designer with 5 or more years expetience. Anything under 2 years field experience is considered a junior designer at most companies. I’m a junior designer making 32,000 anually.

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