There are several different levels of graphic design. The top three pay the highest salaries (in terms of average annual income), and those who aspire to become leaders in the field should choose a degree program that prepares them for success.
Graphic Design: 2,000 – $56,000 (New York City)
The lowest-paying job on this list, most graphic designers earn between $20,000 and $40,000 annually. That’s still higher than the median salary of all workers ($45,900). In addition, many find themselves working with a variety of mediums including photography, illustration, advertising, and web design.
Web Designer: 3,500 -$68,700 (Los Angeles)
Web designers create websites for clients. They’ll usually have an understanding of content creation and copywriting, as well as HTML or other coding languages. Most also possess some sort of visual design skill sets, such as experience using Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator.
UI/UX Designer: 4,200-55,400 (San Francisco Bay Area)
UI/UX designers work on creating user interfaces. This includes everything from simple website navigation to more complex applications like mobile devices and video games. Many start by learning wireframing, which is when you diagram out how something will look before any code is written.
Motion Graphics Artist: 5,300 – 61,000 (New York, NY)
Motion graphics artists create animations, interactive media, and infographics. Typically, these videos can be used on social networks or blogs, but they can also appear in print advertisements or television commercials. Because there’s so much opportunity to move into motion graphics, earning potential varies greatly depending on where you live and what type of skills you develop.
Brand Identity Developer: 6,800 – 86,100 (Chicago area)
Brand identity developers help companies define their brand. Often, they’re responsible for designing logos, taglines, stationery, business cards, and other materials that represent a company’s image. As far as education requirements go, it typically takes four years to get a bachelor’s degree, according to Payscale, though employers don’t require formal training. It’s possible to land a job without one, but it won’t necessarily give you an advantage over applicants who do have degrees.
Visual Development Artist: 7,600–89,800 (London, UK)
Visual development artists use software tools to turn your ideas into reality. These jobs can include things like creating mockups, storyboarding, animation, motion graphics, and characters. Depending on the company, responsibilities may vary, but most will need at least two years of experience. For starters, it helps if you’re familiar with a range of design programs sometimes referred to as “desktop publishing.”
Media Strategist: 9,900–108,000 (Washington DC)
Media strategists think about ways to reach customers through multiple channels. They analyze data and trends to determine what kind of marketing approach will be best for each situation. Some might specialize in social media, while others focus on traditional advertising.
Design should never stop being relevant and important. However, since we are living in a world that seems to be becoming increasingly cluttered and chaotic, it is hard to say whether people would prefer clean, ordered, and logical designs or those which seem haphazard and messy. Either way, I am sure that no matter what field one works in, the ability to design is always going to remain highly valued.