Earnings and Employment
- Annual wages for graphic designers were $42,400 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $32,600 and $56,620. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,110, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $74,660.
- May 2008 median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of graphic designers were:
Computer systems design and related services $47,860
Specialized design services $45,870
Advertising, public relations and related services $43,540
Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers $36,910
Printing and related support activities $36,100
- According to the American Institute of Graphic Arts, median annual cash compensation for entry-level designers was $35,000 in 2008. Staff-level graphic designers earned a median of $45,000. Senior designers, who may supervise junior staff or have some decision-making authority that reflects their knowledge of graphic design, earned a median of $60,000. Solo designers who freelanced or worked under contract to another company reported median earnings of $57,000. Design directors, the creative heads of design firms or in-house corporate design departments, earned $95,000. Graphic designers with ownership or partnership interests in a firm or who were principals of the firm in some other capacity earned $95,000.
- Employment - Graphic designers held about 286,100 jobs in 2008. Most graphic designers worked in specialized design services; advertising and related services; printing and related support activities; or newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers. A small number of designers produced computer graphics for computer systems design firms.
Some designers do freelance work—full time or part time—in addition to holding a salaried job in design or in another occupation.