Graphic Designer Average Salary in the USA
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Based on data we gathered from our global community of over 140,000 designers, Graphic Designers working in the USA make an average of $55,000 per year, $40,000 being the lowest reported salary and $75,000 being the highest one.
Salaries vary a lot by the Graphic Designer's experience, so let’s break down this data.
Entry-level Graphic Designer salary in the USA
Entry-level Graphic Designers have zero years of experience in the field, usually because they have just graduated from university, or because they have embarked on a career shift. In the USA, entry-level Graphic Designers usually make about $30,000 per year.
Junior Graphic Designer salary in the USA
If you are a junior Graphic Designer, it generally means that you have 1 to 3 years of experience in the field. You’ll still be getting to know the industry, but you can already work in a team setting and produce very valuable work. If you are looking to work as a junior Graphic Designer in the USA, you should be aiming for jobs offering around $35,000 per year.
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Mid-level Graphic Designer salary in the USA
Mid-level Graphic Designers usually have 3 to 8 years of experience in the field. They are proficient in their craft and tend to produce higher-quality work than junior Graphic Designers. In the USA, mid-level Graphic Designers usually make about $55,000 per year.
Senior Graphic Designer salary in the USA?
If you are a senior Graphic Designer, it generally means that you have upwards of 8 years of experience in your field. By now, you have become proficient in what you do and can often produce the highest-quality work in the shortest time. If you are looking to work as a senior Graphic Designer in the USA, you should be aiming for jobs offering around $70,000 per year.
What Do Graphic Designers Do?
Graphic designers use visual elements (graphics, images, colors, typography, and shapes) and concepts to communicate ideas and deliver specific information. The most common examples of graphic design include advertisements, packaging, logos, posters, billboards, and other marketing and branding materials.
Graphic designers primarily use digital software and, sometimes, art supplies to create visually appealing drafts and final designs that deliver the intended message.
The most common tasks of a graphic designer may include:
- Communication with clients to define strategies to engage the target audience
- Creating designs using illustration, photo editing, and layout software
- Selecting colors, typography, and layout for designs
- Making design revisions based on a client's feedback
- Keeping up-to-date with the latest design trends, tools, and technologies
- Collaborating with the marketing team, other designers, and clients on defining work scope and objectives
Skills to Increase Graphic Designer Salaries
Graphic designers are artists with a mastery of design software. In addition to understanding design principles, a graphic designer should have excellent soft skills like communication and problem-solving skills to communicate effectively with clients and other design mates. Creating visuals is only half the job. Graphic designers should know how to present their work to stakeholders and communicate their ideas persuasively.
- Team working and communication skills, as well as critical thinking and problem solving, creativity, openness to feedback, and effective time management. Storytelling is especially important, as it allows you to properly convey meanings and emotions. Test your skills with Uxcel's Core Qualities assessment and see how you measure up to other designers worldwide.
- Solid knowledge of the core principles of visual design, which will allow you to perfect the look of your product. Test your skills with Uxcel's Principles of Design skill test and see how you measure up to other designers worldwide.
- An eye for detail, which guarantees that you will spot mistakes before launching a product or handing in a graphic design deliverable. Test your skills with Uxcel's Attention to Detail skill test and see how you measure up to other designers worldwide.
- Accessibility, which is crucial to ensure that your products will be usable by people with disabilities. Test your skills with Uxcel's Accessibility skill test and see how you measure up to other designers worldwide.
- Photography and image manipulation, which will allow you to complement your designs with images to express meaning and add delight. Take Uxcel's Images lesson and get a feel for the many existing types of images and how to use them.
- Typography, which will help you create compositions that please the eye and give the right importance to all information. Test your skills with Uxcel's Typography skill test and see how you measure up against other designers worldwide.
- Color theory and color psychology, which are necessary components of proper composition. If used correctly, they can guide users’ eyes and establish a hierarchy. Test your skills with Uxcel's Color skill test and see how you measure up against other designers worldwide.
- Overall, the ability to integrate the visual aspects of branding and style guides, or design systems, into your deliverables. Test your skills with Uxcel's Visual Design assessment and see how you measure up to other designers worldwide.
- Proficiency with graphic design and handoff tools like Photoshop, Affinity Photo, and Figma. You can test your knowledge of Figma with Uxcel's Figma skill test to see how you measure up to other designers worldwide.
- 3D design and CAD can also be a plus depending on the projects you're taking on. Take Uxcel's 3D Design Foundations course to learn how to plan, design, and render a three-dimensional composition.
Career Paths for Graphic Designers
A career in graphic design is for people with rich imagination and creativity. The job requires candidates to have an understanding of color theory, typography, and layout and be able to use graphic design tools and software effectively. You can gain this knowledge by graduating with a bachelor's degree in graphic design, digital media design, or communication design or by taking online graphic design courses.
Graphic designers have many transferable skills that can help them transition into related roles, such as UX or UI designer or web developer, or be promoted to an art director or creative director role.