The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Career Salary Progression
Our infographic shows how experience is linked to salary progression. Highlighting the average salaries from junior to executive, it is easy to see the differences and the gains to be made the more experience you have in graphic design.
Portfolio building is undoubtedly a major factor in landing the right job, especially for freelancers, but you must be prepared to put in the hours to get the rewards and benefits offered. It is also suggested that you undertake some in-house positions to gain experience and build a respected portfolio.
Other key factors include whereabouts in the UK you live, with London and the South East typically offering the top salaries. You also need to have the right knowledge base, which includes all current and emerging trends within graphic design.
Launching yourself into a competitive market requires dedication, commitment and a willingness to keep learning if you want to stand out from the crowd. Fifteen are offering free portfolio reviews to help you position yourself favourably within the world of graphic design.
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Graphic Design: Salary & Progression
Average 37 hours a week
Generally some flexibility on start/finish times. Extra hours should be expected when deadlines are due.
Mostly studio/office/home-based – generally working as part of a team – travel to meet clients may be required
Available in most major cities with focus on:
- South East
There is a demand for British designers internationally, but industry experience is necessary
- Few health benefits on offer
- Pay bonuses are definitely a possibility
- High job satisfaction due to create nature of work
Common Career Paths
Mid-Weight – Senior
Studio Manager – Art Director – Creative Director
Junior – £17,000 (44% male, 56% female)
Mid-Weight – £21,000 (55% male, 45% female)
Senior – £29,000 (62% male, 38% female)
Studio Manager – £30,000 (63% male, 37% female)
Art Director – £35,000 (57% male, 43% female)
Creative Director – £49,000 (83% male, 17% female)
Junior – 0-4 years
Mid-Weight – 1-9 years
Senior – 5 – 19 years
Studio Manager – 5 – 19 years
Art Director – 1 – 19 years
Creative Director – 10 – 19 years
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe InDesign
- Graphic Design
- Web Design
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Marketing Communications
- Marketing Communications
- Graphic Design Manager
- Art Director
- Desktop Publishing
- Creative Director
- Art Direction
- User Interface Design
- People Management
- Project Management
Freelance work can get you around £200-£400 a day if you are experienced
Tip: Do your research into other Freelancers’ prices
Tip: Try charging hourly
- Allows for flexibility in changing scope of project
- Prevents you from under-selling your services
Tip: Try 3-Tier packages
- Prevents the itemization of your services
Salary Progression Advice
Experience in the industry will lead to higher salaries and better job progression, so keep learning!
If seeking to do Freelance work, try gaining experience in an in-house or agency team to build up a respected portfolio.
Ensure knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite, Graphic Design, Web Design, Photography, Branding, Art Direction, People Management, Project Management, HTML
London has the highest average salaries, but work is available in most large cities to search out the location and salary that works best for you!