Graphic designer earnings by seniority

Approximate values based on highest and lowest earning segments.

Graphic designer salary by state

State Name Average Salary
Oregon $44,505
Massachusetts $41,001
Arizona $38,768
Tennessee $37,632
New Jersey $38,047
Maryland $37,716
Washington $40,304
Virginia $33,335
New York $37,195
Georgia $37,127
Colorado $37,515
Minnesota $37,185
North Carolina $35,974
Illinois $38,887
California $37,137
Wisconsin $36,051
Missouri $34,044
Florida $35,795
Pennsylvania $35,721
Nevada $27,040
Texas $35,257
Ohio $34,429
Indiana $32,875
Michigan $28,860
Connecticut $38,000
Utah $32,000
Idaho $27,040
Nebraska $30,000
Oklahoma $27,020

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 filmmakers but more than social media managers.

Career Median Salary
Filmmaker salary $38K
Film and video editor salary $36K
Audio engineer salary $33K
Fashion designer salary $37K
Drafter salary $37K
Graphic designer salary $34K
Technical support specialist salary $35K
Jeweler salary $30K
Games tester salary $30K
Social media manager salary $33K