graphic design salaries

Discussion in 'Community' started by gernb, Jul 9, 2002.

  1. gernb macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2002
    #1
    i'm a newbie so don't jump on me if this has been covered recently...just give me a link.

    But here's what I'm wondering...since there must be a ton of designers who pass through these forums...

    How are you finding the job market lately and what do you expect to earn annually given your level of experience?

    I guess what's prompting me to ask the question is that I'm considering a job search, but I wonder what's realistic in terms of pay and benefits these days. I suppose this is directed more at those of you who work in house and aren't exclusively self employed...but feel free to chime in whoever you are.

    What's a designer make these days...when it seems like every hack kid thinks they know how to make photoshop and quark sing?

    I'll start us off...I'm more or less an art director / creative services director for a non profit...I make just over 50,000. Should I be thrilled or pissed at my employer?
     
  2. MacAztec macrumors 68040

    MacAztec

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2001
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    #2
    Yea...

    You should talk to "eyelikeart"

    I believe he is a graphic design guy
     
  3. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus

    eyelikeart

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Location:
    Metairie, LA
    #3
    Well...in my opinion...the market is honestly becoming saturated. With computers becoming so cheap (peecees) that anyone can buy them, more & more people are trying to "design" their own work. It makes my life a living hell at work sometimes. There are a lot of talented people out there I grant u, but it really becomes frustrating when u spend a lot of money on an education and end up fixing these people's work instead of creating your own.

    I work for a printing company, hired as a graphic artist but am more of a production artist. I won't go into detail, but I don't make bad money....but significantly less then u are making as an art director. I just put in for a raise, as it's been a year since my last. I was looking around for other jobs locally for a while, and there never seems to be much available on a high scale unless u want to work for an ad agency of some sort...which doesn't appeal to me since they have such a high turnover. Other jobs I've encountered are offering less than I make right now.

    So my plan, as I'm currently working on, is to get out on my own. I just reserved my domain today, and am currently working with someone to setup my own corporation. I've decided that I have other areas of creativity in which I can make money along with design (ie. amateur photography), so I'm going in the direction of a creative services bureau. I'm suddenly realizing that I'll probably only be happy eventually working for myself, which I'm hoping starts to formulate.

    I didn't read where u are located, but if u are making just over $50k...u could probably make more as an art director for a larger company than a non-profit (ie. ad agency). But also to consider, how long have u been there and how stable is your current position?
     
  4. gernb thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2002
    #4
    eyelikeart...big thanks for the comments.

    i agree that the most satisfaction and probably better income are to be had by working on your own. But, being totally self-employed is not for the faint of heart. takes a little more balls than i have at the moment. good luck to you, though. hope you make a successful run at.

    i work in detroit. printing companies here are going out of business at the rate of a few a week...a lot of good shops but absolutely blood thirsty competition. alot of shops are doing work at cost or slightly below just to keep their presses running.

    funny, but you can always find some job that's worse than your own. i would not want to be selling print in this town.

    hope new orleans is better off.
     
  5. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus

    eyelikeart

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Location:
    Metairie, LA
    #5
    hmm...now that's interesting. Why exactly do u want to seek out a different job? If the market is becoming thin near u, I'd honestly consider keeping what's stable or looking elsewhere. But in all honesty, I think all markets are suffering a bit these days. One of the reasons I'm sticking with my current job is because it's very flexible to my life. I can take off when needed, pretty much make my own hours, etc, etc. It works out very well for me since I've decided to go back to school so I can get my graduate degree...along with everything else in which I'm currently involved. ;)
     
  6. MacAztec macrumors 68040

    MacAztec

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2001
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    #6
    Eye...

    I got a job for you....

    Check out apple, they have lots of open jobs i believe.

    Then, move out to Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Huntington, Longbeach, Laguna, or DelMar and you could be a sales distributor for apple, in southern cali.

    Or move somewhere near San Fran, and work for em as a graphics guy!!!
     
  7. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus

    eyelikeart

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Location:
    Metairie, LA
    #7
    Re: Eye...

    he he he...I knew I liked u for a reason aztec! ;)

    I have a job searcher on Apple's site already...so I get emails whenever there's something new posted. They are usually sales type jobs or Mac Genius jobs...but I still get them. When I was looking to move out to San Jose last year, I was targeting Apple Corporate...but as u guys can tell...I didn't make the move...
     
  8. MacAztec macrumors 68040

    MacAztec

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2001
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
  9. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus

    eyelikeart

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Location:
    Metairie, LA
    #9
    Re: Eye!

    he he he...great minds think alike ;)
     
  10. D0ct0rteeth macrumors 65816

    D0ct0rteeth

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2002
    Location:
    Franklin, TN
    #10
    sallary really depends where you are who you work for. Most ad agencies and creative shops pay 15 - 25 an hour while high tech company with lots of beauracracy will usually pay 40 - 65 an hour.

    Design jobs tend to be very saturated markets and can be competitive. In Boston I know people who work 60 hour weeks for 40k (and I know people who play pool all day for 130k) but the point remains that if you feel you are doing good work and you can pay for the roof over your head you are better off than some. Keep your resume out there but don't be in a hurry to leave.

    It sounds to me that you have it good dude. If you want some extra coin freelance and you can always meet some potential clients/employers through communications orginizations.

    Keep your portfolio sharp and professional and you will always have work.

    Good Times.

    C-
     
  11. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #11
    as a former human resources person, i saw a lot of salaries in and out of the private and public sectors

    as a computer graphic designer, you are an artist, and as far as artists go, you are doing very well

    i have seen people who made more money doing other things to become artists making almost nothing and they were better people for it

    i knew a graphic designer who made 160k during the dot.com year in the valley only to see it all disappear when it all went bust

    big money in any field comes with big risks and short term jobs and assignments

    american ceos make great money in big companies, but the tenure is usually just a year so they make the most of it

    it is better to take a safer job for less than go for the big money on a undetermined job/short term job
     
  12. drastik macrumors 6502a

    drastik

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2002
    Location:
    Nashvegas
    #12
    I've been thinking about going out on my own to do Video production. Well actually, it would be with a friend of mine here in town. I alreadywork with him doing post production stuff, which is flexible since helets me make myown time. On the other hand I work for the state of TN helping the disabled. This job is fullfilling, sort of, but I could live with out it. That said, I made just a little less from the video stuff last year than I did from my regular gig. I could live on the video alone, but it would be like a fifty percent cut in income, which is hard to readjust. I might make a little more on the video side by freeing up more time, but its a big decision, and I'm trying to work up the cajones.
     
  13. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus

    eyelikeart

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Location:
    Metairie, LA
    #13
    I'm basically getting myself involved in quite a few projects which will give me lots of potential for making money....aside from having a regular day job...

    hopefully things will start & continue to make progress...and eventually I'll be able to get away from this 9-5 gig and do something (or a few things) which will not only be more fulfilling...but likely make much more money in the long run... ;)
     
  14. iH8Quark macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Location:
    Big Shoulders
    #14
    Re: graphic design salaries

    It depends on what market you're in. If you're in a major metropolitan area, you could double your current salary at any medium to large size firm. But in a smaller market I'm not sure.

    But just over $50k for a NPO sounds about right. If you're going for cash, get a job with an agency in a major metro area.
     
  15. iH8Quark macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Location:
    Big Shoulders
    #15
    :rolleyes:

    This is a typical HR bullsh*t excuse to pay extremely talented people a miserably low salary. By the time you get to an art director or creative director level, you have to have just as much marketing wisdom (more, actually) as any branded Marketing Director out there. Plus you have to have great design, management, and communication skills. And designers are BY FAR the most lobored and productive people in the "office job" grouping.

    So don't let excuses like above hold you down. Know what you're worth, and be confident about it.

    ;)
     
  16. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #16
    Re: Re: graphic design salaries

    los angeles is a major metro area (number 3 in us) known for its computer related design work for brick and mortars and the entertainment industy

    san jose and san francisco are medium sized markets, though not anywhere as big as detroit, but there is some work in the bay area

    the only problem with california is that we are the most prolific state when it comes to artists...and much of that talent comes from other states and nations

    ...not to mention that one does not easily get raised on surfing, volleball, hanging with baywatch chicks, and then deciding, "hey, i want to be an accountant or shoe box manufacturer more than being an artist"

    art goes with fun, sun, and california...so competition is stiff
     
  17. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #17
    i totally agree in theory

    but the world, this planet we call earth, has always undervalued artists when it comes to salary unless you are spielberg...and even then a spielberg is a recent phenomenon in the world of artistic expression

    i have been a guitarist, singer, bassist, and drummer since the 1970s and played many times in public and worked my ass off as an artist and made very little money

    but with relatively very little training in college and trade school, certainly not 25 years, i have made much more money as an engineer, computer analyst, computer fix-it man and it has never required the dedication that it takes to be a good musician

    that is the world we live in and frankly, i think it sucks

    why should a mba make six digits while an mfa makes less than half of that? the world is not fair

    fyi - mba is one year of grad school with one year of undergrad brushup and after it all you are still not a specialist in anything

    an mfa has to go thru two year of grad school and has to be a specialist as well as spend extra unrecorded time in the studio

    yet the mba makes more in almost every case!?!

    i hear you 100 percent
     
  18. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #18
    Re: graphic design salaries

    50k for an Art Director sounds alittle low to me......... (and that's US dollars which really doesn't translate that well either) although it is a non-profit organisation so in some respects it's not that bad........

    With repects to the current design job market..... I've seen it better...... seems like there is a real shortage of creative positions out there.... although tonnes of corporate branding designers for corporate business magazines are currently needed in London (IMHO the most boring, least creative form of design)

    At the moment in London the design industry is way over subscribed with far too many people going for the few jobs that are on offer...... those that are seem to be either junior/graduate positions or Art director/creative driector levels.......

    I'm currently freelancing and doing alright for myself....... I've found that there are many pro's and con's of freelancing....... the big con is the hours I work on projects..... you wouldn't believe... I make doctors look like slackers in the hour stakes some weeks....... the pro's though far out weigh the con's...... you are your own creative director.... (always a good thing), can take time off when you want..... you gain experience far outside of what can be achieved in a consultancy and the best thing is that I've atleast doubled what I'd be earning if I was in a consultancy.....

    The days of the big design and new media gold rush are most definitely over......... so benefits aren't as great as they once were........ expect the usual though, private health (UK), personal pension, company PowerBook, and I've even seen a couple of positions recently with company car (Golf GTI's) but no where near what was going around in the late 90's......... i.e. huge bonues, use of company villa's etc etc....
     
  19. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #19
    the corporate villas thing in london must have been when the torch was passed from multimedia gulch in the soma in san francisco to london uk as i read about in magazines

    and for california multimedia "movie" companies to be letting the art part of our most american of institutions being done in england (lucas and dreamworks among others)

    heck, with movie graphics being done more in london and the british invasion of the last two generations, you guys really won the revolutionary war!

    what next?

    steve getting a british passport and apple moving to england?:p ;) :D

    ensign paris would be happy;)
     
  20. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #20
    The mid to late 90's were off the scale in London..... the salaries that were going around, along with staff being poached by other companies by offering to double wages etc etc....... it really was a wild... if unsustainable period... and now we're paying for it........ the job market has crashed through the floor and solid opportunities are getting harder and harder to come by.......

    The big boom industry at the moment in London seems to be the post houses.... the likes of the Mill and Framestore......... they're really beginning to take on the special effects companies of california.......... I just found out that the former company I worked for has just done on screen graphics for resident evil.......... so that's seems to be showing signs that even former digital interactive studios and agencies are beginning to move to other mediia now.........
     
  21. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #21
    and 200 high tech companies have already moved out of multimedia gulch in california!

    hollywood will still at least film in the studios here...there is just too much of an infrastructure of warehouses and heavy equipment

    but graphics for movies can be done anywhere there is an electrical outlet and billions in trucks, cameras, and lighting equipment are not needed to run photoshop..he he

    and the public schools in california have long cut out funding for the arts..schools are turning to dells and maybe bill gates will require ms office for all calif hs students and have all artists run photodraw and frontpage:p
     
  22. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #22
    and the funny thing is, when i think of europe and art/artistic endeavors...italy and france come to mind...never london

    but in the age of computer art, i believe the historians will say something like this

    old art - china, mesopotamia, africa, and the caves of the neanderthals

    renaissance - italy

    impressionism - france

    multimedia - london
     
  23. richierich macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2002
    Location:
    london
    #23
    multimedia - london

    too bloody right for once - i like Jef

    There is a phenomenal amount of creativity in London, I think the English don't shout about it enough. Especially not like the Italians who will tell you how good they are! That said, one of my best friends is from Milan and he is mr style but still prefers London over anywhere else (he is in LA at the moment.......)

    Anyway I am an architect / designer who is now doing it on my own, having been made redundant 3 times in 4 years from permanent jobs. My tip to stay in it is have a smart portfolio, be confident in what you can do and cover all opportunities. You can't go wrong if you do that...... although as everyone is saying the job market in the design world in general seems to be pretty bad at the moment.

    Thats why I am sat here as a freelancer, on the web looking at Macrumors on a crappy NT4 system, which is bloody awful.

    ciao
     
  24. ArtMan617 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2002
    Location:
    Princeton, NJ
    #24
    I'm 15 years old and an aspiring graphic designer/cinematographer (thanks to Photoshop and Final Cut Pro 2). Anyway, my Photoshop skills are certainly not up to par with any professionals, but I still have a good amount of experience and skill with the program (I'm running version 6.0.1). Does anyone have any ideas on how I could benefit from my current hobby (possibly future career) despite my young age? Also, I'm currently working on a video game based web comic, titled Insert Coin (you can also get to it through my sig) and while the web site isn't up yet, you can view the first two comics. I'm always looking for feedback about the comic, so if anyone is interested, please check it out and tell me what you think at ArtMan617@mac.com . On a related note, I'm also accepting any donations anyone is willing to donate...just contact me (I realize that was pretty desperate, but I figured I'd try). Anyway, thank you all in advance for your help.

    -ArtMan617
     
  25. iH8Quark macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Location:
    Big Shoulders
    #25
    The key to being a good designer is typography. It's not Photoshop. Solid typography sets apart great designers from the hacks.

    Read "The Elements of Typographic Style" by Robert Bringhurst. It's a trifle boring, but worth its weight in gold.
     

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