Graphic designer earnings by seniority

Approximate values based on highest and lowest earning segments.

Graphic designer salary by state

State Name Average Salary
District of Columbia $67,890
New York $59,840
Massachusetts $60,530
California $56,810
Connecticut $56,600
Virginia $55,560
Washington $58,450
New Jersey $55,100
Rhode Island $57,050
Maryland $55,230
Oregon $53,900
Colorado $50,950
Georgia $49,440
Minnesota $49,590
Arizona $39,610
New Hampshire $48,130
Hawaii $49,230
Delaware $46,410
Texas $47,570
Missouri $47,740
Ohio $46,740
Vermont $46,830
North Carolina $45,210
Nevada $49,780
Florida $45,880
Tennessee $46,500
Utah $45,580
Wisconsin $46,190
Nebraska $45,090
Michigan $44,480
Illinois $39,579
Alabama $41,760
Kansas $43,910
Maine $42,260
South Carolina $39,380
Louisiana $41,510
Idaho $39,090
West Virginia $36,940
Kentucky $40,130
New Mexico $40,090
Iowa $40,720
Pennsylvania $35,960
Mississippi $36,680
Arkansas $37,650
Montana $38,770
North Dakota $38,710
Oklahoma $38,280
Indiana $34,116
Wyoming $36,260
South Dakota $35,120
Guam $27,590
Puerto Rico $23,450

How much does a Graphic Designer earn?

Coming out of college, aspiring graphic designers usually have a bachelor's degree in graphic design, computer design or a closely related subject. These new graphic designers with less than three years of experience reported salaries ranging from $37,250 to $53,000 per year, according to a 2013 starting salary survey published by the Creative Group. Those with between three and five years of experience reported salaries ranging between $48,750 and $68,000, while graphic designers with over five years of experience earned between $61,000 and $83,250 per year.

Having access to the internet has meant that it’s more possible now than ever before to work anywhere in the world, but if you look at the figures it’s still very clear that graphic designers primarily working in major cities like New York and San Fransisco are earning more than designers working in the suburbs. The best-paying states, according to the BLS, were the District of Columbia, New York, Connecticut, California and Maryland in May 2014.

Having experience under your belt and also having done some work with big-name clients is a really good way to justify a higher rate than other designers. Likewise, if the company you are working for deals with high-end brands, then they will want excellent graphic designers. These companies attract and keep their designers by paying them extremely well. The top-paying industries for graphic designers were the Federal Executive Branch and aerospace products and parts manufacturing, according to the BLS.

According to September 2015 data from, the salary ranges corresponding to experience levels were as follows:

0-5 years - $24,652 - $52,205
5-10 years - $29,318 - $61,718
10-19 years - $30,609 - $71,995
20 years or more - $31,093 - $85,024

How do graphic designer salaries compare to similar careers?

Graphic designers earn about the same as related careers in the United States. On average, they make less than costume designers but more than audio and video equipment technicians.

Career Median Salary
Costume designer salary $26K
Fashion designer salary $38K
Film and video editor salary $36K
Drafter salary $37K
Technical support specialist salary $35K
Graphic designer salary $34K
Audio engineer salary $32K
Social media manager salary $31K
Illustrator salary $27K
Audio and video equipment technician salary $31K

Source: CareerExplorer (Aggregated)