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I recently discovered a fascinating infographic on the graphic design industry. It was produced by Carrington College in California. While they invested considerable time in the creation and presentation of their infographic, which I don’t have permission to reproduce here, the data they used is all sourced to the public U.S. Department of Labor (UDL). The UDL data was collected for their 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). I thought it might be helpful to share some of the key stats regarding the graphic design industry.

General graphic designer:

– 1 of every 4 designers is self employed.

– The number of designers working in the U.S. is expected to grow from 192,240 in 2008 to 323,100 in 2012.

– The range of typical salaries in the industry range from the bottom 10% making around $26.2k to the top 10% making around $76,910.

– California offers both the most graphic design jobs and the highest pay.

– D.C., New York, California, Connecticut and Maryland are the top five states in average salary.

Art/Design Director:

Design directors are one of the most sought after positions overseeing a team of designers and projects.

– Only 2.31% of designers achieve this position.

– The average salary for these special positions is $94.100 which works out to $45 an hour.

– New York, with a heavy emphasis on New York City, leads with the most jobs and highest pay for these art director positions.

– California, New York, Illinois, Texas and Ohio represent some of the strongest states for number of jobs.

– New York, Illinois, California, Massachusetts and Washington come in top on average annual salary.


Many graphic designers work in moving image, utilizing tools like Flash, After Effection, and Motion to animate their work.

– Roughly 4.6% of all graphic designers enter this subsection of graphic design.

– The average salary is 63,440 which represents a $30 per hour rate.

– California comes out on top as far as number of these positions and average pay.

– California, New York, Washington, Texas and Illinois have the most number of these positions.

– California, New York, Oregon, D.C. and Connecticut come out on top in terms of top salary.


While web and print design are most common, Commercial and Industrial designers are valued for their ability to design toys, home appliance, furniture, cars and more.

– Roughly 3.8% of graphic designers enter this subsection of graphic design.

– The average salary is $61,890 which represents a $30 per hour rate.

– Michigan with it’s auto and industrial/manufacturing base offers the most positions with the highest pay.

– Michigan, California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois offer the most positions.

– Kansas, Oregon, Mississippi, Michigan, and Massachusetts offer the highest average salary.

When considering a career in graphic design, it is important to factor in the potential compensation, demand and future earning and responsible possibilities. There are many economic and geographic considerations, like cost of living, that can’t be figured in accurately to these figures. But it gives someone considering graphic design some important information when comparing to other possible careers and destinations. The concept of working in a creative environment and expressing yourself is very appealing, but it is also vital to consider your options carefully to see what meshes best with your interests and aspirations.