One of the first questions usually asked by aspiring graphic designers is, “What is the job outlook for graphic design?” Although the job growth for graphic design varies by industry, overall it’s slower than the average for all other occupations. However, individuals shouldn’t be deterred from this career by less-than-desirable job projections because graphic designers are still in demand in different capacities. Learn more about the graphic design job outlook as well as what this career entails.
Related resource: 10 Best Online Schools for Graphic Design
What They Do
Also known as communication designers or graphic artists, graphic designers create visual concepts to communicate ideas that inform and captivate consumers. They do this either by hand or using computer software. They develop product designs and layouts for magazines, brochures, reports, web pages, and similar advertisements.
Graphic designers also use layout software, photo editing software, digital illustration and visual elements such as images, logos, and illustrations. They’re also the artists who select the images, colors, fonts, and typefaces. When given an assignment, the graphic designer meets with the client to determine the size of the project. He or she then begins the layout for design and presents the ideas to the client.
Once the client has approved the design, the graphic designer reviews it for errors prior to submitting it to the client or for publication. The work created by graphic designers can be found in a stunning newspaper ad, an interactive web page or the bright background in our favorite cartoon.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) only predicts a 4 percent job growth for graphic designers between 2016 and 2026, but this can vary by industry and position. As companies continue to want to market their products, the need for graphic designers is there, but it’s higher in certain areas. Graphic designers are projected to experience stiff competition for good graphic design jobs.
Graphic designers working in computer systems design and similar services should see a 20 percent job growth while those working with books, newspapers, and publishers should experience a decline of 22 percent during that same decade. This decline has resulted from the increasing use of the internet for advertising. Although graphic designers may work for specialized design services; advertising, public relations, and related services, or printing and directory publishers, the majority of graphic designers are self-employed workers. The states with the highest number of graphic designers employed in 2018 include:
• California – 29,320 graphic design employees
• New York – 31,350
• Florida – 13,350
• Texas – 13,480
• Illinois – 11,700
Wages for Graphic Designers
Graphic designers nationwide earned an average annual wage of $54,680 as of a May 2018 report by the BLS. Their wages range from $29,610 to $85,760 or more. The average hourly wage for graphic designers across the nation is $26.29. Wages can be affected by many factors, including degree level, work experience in this field, employer and location.
The biggest factor is usually the geographic location. Graphic designers in small towns generally earn lower wages than those in a large city. Here are the five top-paying states for graphic designers along with the wages.
• District of Columbia – $71,180
• New York – $64,840
• Massachusetts – $64,010
• California – $61,100
• Connecticut – $60,700
Graphic designers are talented arts with a desire to put their talent to work on paper or on the screen. As long as we continue to use computers, marketing and advertising, there will continue to be a need for qualified graphic designers.