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Graphic Design Labor Statistics (+Career Outlook for Designers)

October 25, 2019

Have you ever wondered if your notebook doodles and illustrations between work are good enough to get you started in the graphic design industry?

How about that one time when your favorite uncle asked you to design a logo for his startup? You made them pro bono, and you're curious if you can make a living out of your designs.

How much to charge? And how can you be sure that you're keeping up with the times? Look no further as we help you stay up to date (and remain relevant!) with the following graphic design labor statistics and trends.

Graphic design labor statistics – at a glance

  • There are a total of 290,100 graphic design jobs in 2018. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018)
  • There are 8,800 jobs to be added from 2018 to 2028. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018)
  • The median pay for graphic designers in 2018 is 50,370 per year or $24.21 per hour. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018)
  • 3 percent is the expected growth in the graphic design industry in 2018. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018)
graphic design labor stats

Related: Check out the latest graphic design trends to keep your eye on what's trending in 2019. 

Read more: 18 Innovative Graphic Design Trends for 2019 →

What modern graphic designers do

  • Graphic designers use computer software or their hands to create visual assets. These assets are used to communicate information that will inform, inspire, captivate and persuade target audience. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018)
  • Graphic designers are employed under specialized services positions in publishing, public relations, advertising, and related services industries. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018)
  • Graphic designers usually hold a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. Hiring managers and employers also expect creativity and originality from graphic designers. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018)
  • In a nutshell, a graphic designer combines art and technology to communicate ideas, insights, and stories. Graphic designers may also be called visual artists and communication designers. There are also different types of graphic design jobs out there like web design, motion design, and packaging design. (Truity, 2018)
  • Other occupations similar to graphic design include drafters, desktop publishers, craft and fine artists, art directors, web developers, industrial designers, multimedia artists and animators, and technical writers. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018) 

what graphic designers do infographic

Graphic designer demographics

  • The median age of graphic designers is 40.5. Male employees are generally 1.47 years older than their female counterparts. The average male graphic designer’s age is 41.3, while average female graphic designer age is 39.8. (Census Bureau, 2017)
  • White is the most common race/ethnicity for graphic designers at 77 percent, closely followed by Asian (8.89 percent) and black (5.1 percent). (Census Bureau, 2017)
  • 53.4 percent of graphic designers are female, making them the more common gender in the occupation. (Census Bureau, 2017)
  • Graphic designers usually have a bachelor's degree. An associate degree comes at a close second. The most common areas of study include advertising, fine arts, and commercial design.
  • Top 3 majors of graphic designers: Visual & Performing Arts, Engineering, and Business. (Census Bureau, 2017)
  • Top 3 specialized majors of graphic designers: Visual & Performing Arts, Communication Technologies, and Architecture and Related Services. (Census Bureau, 2017)  

Graphic designer salary statistics 

  • As of May 2018, the median annual wage for a graphic designer is $50,370 or $24.21/hour. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018)
  • In 2018, the lowest 10 percent of graphic designers earned < $29,610 while the highest 10 percent of graphic designers earned > $85,760. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018) 
graphic design salary infographic

Graphic designer work environment

Graphic designers usually work in a studio where they have access to design software, drafting tables, and computers. While the majority of graphic designers are independent workers or freelancers, their work is generally collaborative. 

TIP: Find your next graphic design agency through G2. See what options are available and find the right graphic designer for your needs! 

Find the Best Graphic Design Agencies →

The top 5 employers of graphic designers in 2018

  1. Self-employed workers
  2. Specialized design services
  3. Advertising, public relations, and related services
  4. Printing and related support activities
  5. Newspapers, periodical, book, and directory publishers 
employers of graphic designers infographic

Graphic designer employment outlook

  • From 2018 to 2028, job outlook for graphic designers are projected to grow by 3 percent from 2018 to 2028. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018)

    This projected growth is slower than the average due to print advertising’s slump in recent years. However, designers who continue to update their portfolio and graphic design skills may find new opportunities in brands and companies who are looking to ramp up their online presence and digital marketing efforts.
  • The rise in advertising expenditure will continue to drive demand in the industry. From 2014-2019, industry revenue is estimated to increase at an annualized rate of 3.5 percent to $14.8 billion. In 2019, the industry has experienced 2.7 percent growth. (IBIS World, 2019)
  • Traditional categories of graphic design such as book design, newspapers, and illustration are saturated job markets. Industry experts predict a 22 percent decline in these areas for the next decade. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018)
  • Emerging categories in graphic design such as computer systems design, animated infographics, video editing, and mobile advertising are expected to rise up to 24 percent between now and 2028. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018)

Over to you

Are you excited about the future of graphic design? While industry growth has been slower than average, it’s worth noting that emerging types of graphic design like user experience design, information design, and mobile advertising are also on the rise.

So what does this mean for you? Never stop learning! Discover the best graphic design software on the market today, only on G2. 

Find the best Graphic Design software on the market. Explore Now, Free →

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