Wages for a Graphic Designer in the United States for 2018

pay for graphic artist

Salaries and hourly average pay in the U.S. for a graphic designer – 2018


Graphic designers provide various kinds of media for offline and online advertising. The main objective is to create visually pleasing images that will convert into profits with the correct wages for a graphic artist equivalent to the quality of service rendered. Taking note of the intended theme and how it communicates visually or how the text translates to the customers is carefully considered. The end goal is to create a message that translates the campaign objective effectively. 

Why spend for a graphic designer?

Visualizing images is done by a graphic designer to get the finer points organized into an image, text or video that will combine all three to bring the message across to the customer. Getting the attention of customers is not easy and you’ll need convincing images and multimedia for that! Businesses depend on visual advertising to bring the message across so that they can earn from their product. The graphic designer is the middleman who brings it together by getting to know what the clients want to put across. Another aspect of it what specific services will benefit the client and how much.

Services offered by Graphic Designers

There are two basic services that businesses could contract with them and they are “branding and printed collateral”. Both go together in creating unique campaigns that is aimed at making profits and conversions.

Printed collateral

The printed information of companies distributed to provide possible clients with an idea of what is offered by them. Information as text and images is still effective because the written text is convenient and tangible. Holding a flyer that has been designed meticulously will be better to help in sealing the deal with an unsure customer.  All printed collateral like letterheads, business cards, brochures, postcards, thank you cards, and other collateral will passively advertise businesses for name recall.

Branding or Product image

Branding is not just simply designing but taking visual elements and creating a unique identity for companies. This logo created will create a connection with a client for brand identity that is important for successful conversion of clients.

Charging for work: Hourly and Flat rate billing

Services rendered to clients are charged either hourly rate or flat rate billing depending on the packages agreed upon. Much discretion is needed when charging any client in either method.

Flat Rate billing

Flat rate is what clients pay in full whenever designing printed collateral or creating logos for branding. Having a flat rate for most projects is good but sometimes it does not work out. The flat rate is good for clients who don’t mind paying the flat rate regardless of the price and who are less strict on the deadlines. Getting revisions done and multiple concepts executed for big companies will require a flat rate.  Graphic designers get 100% of the fee but are obliged to work till the deadline. Using the flat rate there’s no 50% down and no worries in collecting the remaining balance too. It works fine for most projects done and more is earned in most instances.

Hourly Rate billing

Hourly structured billing is good for small companies because of limited funds unlike bigger ones. But if there are revisions the same hourly charges would apply as well. If small companies need printed collateral; an hourly rate it will be better than a flat fee with revisions that includes hourly charges. Hourly flat rate gets the services done but can be expensive in the long run. An hourly flat rate for branding services will be a bit more than the usual and will depend on the agreement with a client.

Wages for Graphic Designers

pay in US

Based on internet research the common wages for a graphic designer is as follows.

  • The average wage for junior graphic designers in print, interactive and web design averages at $19 an hour for every project. In the case of freelancers in Upwork which ranged from $20 to $150 an hour. 


  • Wages for entry-level designers is $18.75 an hour but interactive media specialists get $21 an hour.


  • In design studios; it is $18.50 an hour but advertising agencies gave $19 an hour compared to publishers paid only $15 an hour.


  • The hourly wages based on company size, client base and location is from $16.95, $17.50 and $25 an hour in Boston. This difference is based on these three factors versus actual wages paid.


Various Graphic Design Career Paths

A rough estimate of $15 to $25 can be used as a gauge for per hour charges, but for the flat rate which you’ll need to estimate how long to finish a project in the total number of hours. In case of extra revisions over the agreed then the per hour applies. This is not final but may vary according to some specifics.

Pricing for Branding and Printed collateral packages

Branding is an investment for any company and it does cost a bit but here are some suggestions for these packages. These packages are the “recommended cost” but it may differ depending on the graphic designer and where he works. This is a basic guideline and is designed to provide a roadmap to bid your next project.

$2000-$15,000 for freelance work (“owner operator” style companies)

$15,000-$60,000 for small companies

$60,000 up for mid to large companies

The cost for printed collateral is how much time it will take to edit digitally and how many revisions are necessary. A small package is applicable to per hour but a larger package is better with a flat fee but with alterations and corrections should be per hour instead.


Employment of Digital Design Artists throughout the U.S.


jobs for graphic design in us


Conclusion: Average pay for a digital graphic artist

We’ve covered all the relevant topics that will determine wages for a graphic designer based on internet research. The information presented explains other details for more clarity to other questions. All info presented is to guide graphic designers in getting the right compensation for their projects in regards to pricing especially. Hope this will serve as a guide to maximizing wages earned and getting better at pricing most projects.