A Tough Question: How Much do Web Designers Make?

Sept 15, 2017

The first thing that must be taken into account when asking ‘how much do web designers make’ is what kind of web designer? Like most jobs, there are different levels of web designer. All these levels have different experience, but have different pay scales based on a number of factors. So the first thing to consider in answering how much do web designers make is to ask how much each type of web designer makes. 

The first ‘career level’ is that of a junior web designer. This category of web designer is defined as having three or fewer years of experience out of school. These sorts of people can only work under supervision of other higher up designers in a company setting. This means they are paid the least. But don’t let that fool you; it is still a good wage. 

The median salary is $42,000 per annum for a junior designer. This can also be expressed as $21 per hour. But once again ‘how much do web designers make’ is not a simple question. Next bonuses and commissions account for maybe another $3,000. This means that a total beginner’s salary of about $45,000 is the average for a junior designer. 

Next up is the lead designer. These are the next step up, having spent time as a junior designer and having several years of experience.  of experience are designers. This means that they are capable and experienced enough to be working on independent projects or aspects of projects with larger teams. Here the pay goes up. The average paycheck now rises to $52,000 a year or $26 per hour. And of course the bonuses and commissions still apply adding another $3000 estimated to their paycheck. A total pay comes out to about $55,000 per each year. 

Finally is the highest of the designers, the senior designer or art director and the most impressive answer to ‘how much do web designers make’. The senior designer is the most experienced of designers. This means that they have worked long enough and have an extensive enough portfolio that they can be trusted with being in charge of large teams of other web designers. This also usually means training junior designers. All this is sure to bring in the highest paycheck. The median falls in at $72,000 a year or $36 per hour. The bonuses are also higher at $5000 making a total median estimate of $77,000 a year. In addition to this other fees are estimated to add up to another $2,200, meaning that it could be said that it is as high as $79,200. 

It is also worth mentioning that it of course also depends on the company that a designer works for. Some companies will pay more highly than others. Companies that are larger will likely pay more especially to higher positions in order to keep the best designers available for important projects. 

A last consideration on ‘how much do web designers make’ is figuring out how much a freelance web designer will make. This is the most subjective, as the prices can vary wildly. A freelance web designer just starting out could be the cheapest option for many clients and thus be paid less than the usual designer in an attempt to remain competitive and build a strong portfolio. And conversely, a very experienced freelance web designer may ask for far more. It is possible that this could also be the source of the most highly paid web designer, all depending on the case. 

When considering how much do web designers make it is important to consider all the factors. It can be difficult to predict, but a general medians can be used to try and figure out how much a web designer can be expected to make and the answer is at all levels it really is quite a lucrative career.




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