Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration and Digital Photography

The average salary in the design field looks strong for the years ahead. Student work by Julie Finch.

Design Career Guide

Design Career and Salary Outlook

Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple, once said: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Today, thanks to the design and technology innovations of the last thirty years, design is regarded as a serious and rewarding career option. Whether you aspire to create great logos, stunning Web sites, or innovative products, a career in design can mean not just a creative field but also stability, professional recognition, and compensation.

Looking for proof? Check out the following design career and salary statistics, compiled from authoritative design industry sources.

U.S. Design Career Statistics and Salaries

These are statistics for full-time or freelance employment in design fields in the United States.

  • Employment of graphic designers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. Graphic designers are expected to face strong competition for available positions (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual salary for graphic designers in 2018 was $50,370 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • The median salary for an entry level print designer has been increasing by the year, and is now at a strong $40,000. For an entry level Web/interactive designer, the median recorded salary is $45,000 (Source: AIGA 2014 Salary Survey) 
  • The median salary for Web developers (front end/interface systems) in 2013 was $58,000. (Source: AIGA 2014 Salary of Design Surveys)
  • The median salary for in-house creative or design directors in 2014 was $75,000. (Source: AIGA 2014 Salary Survey)
  • In 2018, California and New York offered the highest levels of employment in the field of graphic design, while Washington D.C. boasted the highest-paid graphic designers (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Average Web Developer salaries in 2018 were 80% higher than average salaries nationwide (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • The median annual wage for graphic designers was $50,370 in May 2018, the highest 10 percent earned more than $85,760 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Employment of graphic designers in computer systems design and related services is projected to grow 20 percent from 2016 to 2026 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • The average Design Manager salary in the U.S. is $94,926 and the UX/UI Designer salary is $90,697 according to

Design Salary Information Sources

There are many reputable sources to perform your own research of design career and salary opportunities. Our favorite sources include: