Why Graphic Design?

If you ask 100 graphic designers why they became graphic designers you would probably get 100 different answers.

For me graphic design was a way to use many of the skills that I had developed within the world of fine art within a commercial discipline, or I wanted to design and achieve some sort of financial security.

Some statistics from the US Department of Labor:

2014 Median Pay $45,900 per year
$22.07 per hour
Number of Jobs, 2014 261,600

WORK ENVIRONMENT

Graphic designers

Graphic designers generally work in a studio where they have access to drafting tables and computers.

Graphic designers held about 261,600 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most graphic designers were as follows:

Specialized design services 10%
Advertising, public relations, and related services 8
Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers 7
Printing and related support activities 7
Wholesale trade 6

Graphic designers generally work in studios where they have access to drafting tables, computers, and the software necessary to create their designs. Although many graphic designers work independently, those who work for specialized graphic design firms often work as part of a design team. Many graphic designers collaborate with colleagues or work with clients on projects.

Work Schedules

Most graphic designers work full time, but schedules can vary depending on workloads and deadlines.

In 2014, about 1 in 5 graphic designers were self-employed. Graphic designers who are self-employed may need to adjust their workday to meet with clients in the evenings or on weekends. In addition, they may spend some of their time looking for new projects or competing with other designers for contracts.

States and areas with the highest published employment, location quotients, and wages for this occupation are provided. For a list of all areas with employment in this occupation, see the Create Customized Tables function.

Even if you love statistics and research, the next series of charts and comparison statistics will probably give you more information about the state of graphic design within the state of California and the United States than you ever wanted or needed to know.

States with the highest employment level in this occupation:

State Employment (1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2)
California  27,180 1.80 1.23 $28.34 $58,940
New York  18,460 2.10 1.43 $29.11 $60,560
Texas  11,780 1.05 0.72 $21.89 $45,530
Florida  11,430 1.49 1.02 $21.37 $44,450
Illinois  9,390 1.63 1.11 $24.58 $51,120

States with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in this occupation:

State Employment (1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2)
New York  18,460 2.10 1.43 $29.11 $60,560
Minnesota  5,420 1.99 1.36 $24.49 $50,940
Utah  2,540 1.98 1.36 $22.76 $47,340
District of Columbia  1,270 1.88 1.29 $35.01 $72,820
California  27,180 1.80 1.23 $28.34 $58,940

Top paying States for this occupation:

State Employment (1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2)
District of Columbia  1,270 1.88 1.29 $35.01 $72,820
New York  18,460 2.10 1.43 $29.11 $60,560
Connecticut  2,290 1.39 0.95 $28.34 $58,940
California  27,180 1.80 1.23 $28.34 $58,940
Maryland  3,650 1.43 0.98 $28.09 $58,440

Metropolitan areas with the highest employment level in this occupation:

Metropolitan area Employment (1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2)
New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division  14,620 2.71 1.85 $31.46 $65,430
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division  9,600 2.37 1.62 $27.64 $57,500
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL Metropolitan Division  7,130 1.90 1.30 $25.57 $53,190
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA  4,930 2.07 1.41 $25.43 $52,890
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division  4,450 1.87 1.28 $30.98 $64,430
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI  4,270 2.34 1.60 $25.86 $53,800
Philadelphia, PA Metropolitan Division  3,820 2.05 1.40 $26.72 $55,580
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA Metropolitan Division  3,290 2.22 1.52 $25.42 $52,880
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA NECTA Division  3,100 1.73 1.18 $26.60 $55,320
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX  3,040 1.07 0.73 $21.66 $45,050

Metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in this occupation:

Metropolitan area Employment (1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2)
Boulder, CO  630 3.74 2.56 $25.53 $53,100
Mankato-North Mankato, MN  160 3.15 2.16 $19.69 $40,970
Oshkosh-Neenah, WI  280 3.11 2.13 $18.98 $39,480
Provo-Orem, UT  580 2.95 2.02 $24.17 $50,270
San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan Division  3,030 2.79 1.91 $37.47 $77,940
New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division  14,620 2.71 1.85 $31.46 $65,430
Framingham, MA NECTA Division  420 2.57 1.76 $33.12 $68,900
Bismarck, ND  170 2.53 1.73 $15.38 $31,990
Madison, WI  870 2.50 1.71 $22.91 $47,650
Racine, WI  180 2.44 1.67 $22.94 $47,720

Top paying metropolitan areas for this occupation:

Metropolitan area Employment (1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2)
San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan Division  3,030 2.79 1.91 $37.47 $77,940
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA  1,890 1.94 1.33 $35.27 $73,360
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT  1,000 2.36 1.62 $33.53 $69,750
Framingham, MA NECTA Division  420 2.57 1.76 $33.12 $68,900
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA Metropolitan Division  1,780 1.73 1.19 $32.90 $68,430
Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, MD Metropolitan Division  1,010 1.78 1.22 $31.97 $66,490
New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division  14,620 2.71 1.85 $31.46 $65,430
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division  4,450 1.87 1.28 $30.98 $64,430
Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ  90 0.65 0.44 $29.53 $61,430
Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA  290 1.56 1.07 $29.17 $60,680

 


About May 2014 National, State, Metropolitan, and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

These estimates are calculated with data collected from employers in all industry sectors, all metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas, and all states and the District of Columbia. The top employment and wage figures are provided above. The complete list is available in the downloadable XLS files.

Last Modified Date: March 25, 2015

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