While graphic design is an amazing field to be a part of, there are some areas that stand out from the rest with the amount of money you can earn. In this list I will cover the 5 best paying areas of graphic design. Some even reach 130k/year!
1. Art director (70k-75k)
To become an art director you should have at least 3-5 years of experience in graphic design. While those 3-5 years sounds like a lot, there are a couple of ways to cut this time in half.
One of which is your education. With a degree in graphic design or a related field you can expect to land this position within 2 years (if your skill level is adequate for this job).
It’s a good idea to have some experience in directing a group of people for a project. Take initiative and volunteer to be the head of an assignment. While it might be difficult at first, after a few projects you’ll certainly be way closer to getting this position.
A great way to increase your chances is to participate in different exhibitions. Not by showing off your work, but by organizing the event. This will teach you team management, cooperation and most likely help you to build useful connections with more experienced graphic designers.
You might be wondering, what does an art director do, exactly? An art director is responsible for taking a project from a vision to the finished product with a team of people. This will include delegating certain tasks for people best fit for it, creating goals and a plan for achieving those goals as well as reviewing progress your team has made.
Art directors are well-paid by some of the biggest corporations out there: Microsoft, Apple, AOL and many more.
2. Senior designer (82k-83k)
This is a position, most graphic designers work their way up to with experience. That experience should include team and project management as well as at least 5 years of graphic design experience.
As in the previous job, you should focus on creating yourself a good resume that includes a lot of team leadership experience. This is usually a position you upgrade to after spending a few years as an art director. Of course this depends on your performance in that job and it might take more time to become qualified for a senior designer title.
Expect managing bigger teams in this position compared to the previous one. Having a bigger team might seem like a good idea at first, but it puts more responsibility on you and delegating tasks might take more time.
3. UI designer (83k-84k)
User interface designers are one of the most sought after people right now. User interface (or UI) is everything the end customer sees. This can range from app icon designs, layouts, to intricate websites and much more.
As a user interface designer expect to work closely with a team of user experience (UX) specialists, as well as other UI designers.
Here are some of the tasks you’ll most likely do, as a UI designer:
- Creating wire frames (general layouts for apps/websites)
- Processing site maps (laying out everything in an understandable and intuitive way)
- Evaluating previous user interfaces and making adjustments
4. UX designer (87k-88k)
User experience designers focus mainly on how the whole system works for the consumer and leave the aesthetic side of this job for the UI designers.
Some of the responsibilities you’ll have as a UX designer:
- Translate concepts into user flows, wireframes, mockups and prototypes that lead to intuitive user experiences.
- Take a user-centered design approach and rapidly test and iterate your designs.
- Identify design problems and devise elegant solutions.
- Facilitate the client’s product vision by researching, conceiving, sketching, prototyping and user testing experiences for digital products.
5. Creative director (133k-134k)
To become a creative director you’ll need a load of experience and some luck to aid you. Expect someone to ask for at least 10 years of experience, but don’t be surprised if that number jumps to 15 or 20 years.
This position is the end goal of most graphic designers, so competition is fierce and you’ll really need to stand out from the crowd.
A creative director is someone vision driven, with the abilities to manage large groups of people. You should also be somewhat of a genius when it comes to organizing, prioritizing and executing projects and other tasks.
While not everyone will be able to land this dream job, those who do, are one on the best paid professionals out there.
While there are a lot of possibilities for graphic designers, these positions are the ones to aim for.
Making it big as a graphic designer might and probably will take a lot of time, but for those that persist and are not afraid to take on big projects, the position of a creative director is a true possibility.