Knowing how much a Graphic Designer makes in the United Kingdom is essential before embarking on a career in Graphic Design. It can also be very useful if you want to work as a designer in this country, but are not sure what salary you would receive. For this I have consulted multiple sources such as TotalJobs, PayScale, Glassdoor, Indeed or Salary Explorer.
The average salary for a graphic designer in the UK is between £2,389 and £2,882/month, for someone starting an internship between £1,140 and £2,171/month and for a good senior designer between £3,264 and £3,693/month.
Salaries may differ depending on the industry, sector or project in which the graphic designer is integrated. To this we must add other variables such as the region in which you work, the years of professional experience, the quality of your portfolio or if you work for a company or are freelance.
How much do graphic designers make per year and per month in the UK?
As a graphic designer goes from the traineeship to be hired in the United Kingdom, his first salary is considerably higher than the national minimum wage (UK national minimum wage), which is £9.50 per hour based on the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations. If you take into account that the workday in the UK is 40 hours per week, it would be equivalent to about £1,140 / month.
n any case, you should know that the minimum wage varies depending on experience and age range. Thus, an apprentice can earn only £4.81/hour at 16-17 years old, but can earn a few pounds more if he/she is between 18-20 years old (£6.83/hour) or between 21 and 22 (£9.18/hour).
The following table shows an estimate of the monthly and annual salary -in 14 pays- that a graphic designer can expect in London, based on their experience.
|Experience||Salary per month|
|Experience||Salary per year|
Are there salary differences between genders?
In the UK, graphic designers earn 5% more than women, according to surveys conducted by SalaryExplorer.
Is a UK graphic designer’s salary a good salary?
Although the starting salary of a British graphic designer may seem much higher than in other European countries or even Canada, the truth is that during the first years being economically independent is difficult in some cities like London, where the cost of living is very high.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the average annual spending per household in the United Kingdom stands at £26,374 per year. But it is an average and the truth is that some regions like North East England are lower (£23,888/year), but there are also areas such as the London area, where it reaches £34,803/year.
This means that junior designers with less than 1 or 2 years of experience have to really tighten their belts in some cities, since they usually do not earn more than £30,400/year.
As a solution, many British graphic designers often share an apartment and supplement their salary with freelance work or winning prizes in competitions, as almost all of us have done. But don’t worry, the situation improves in the following years.
A graphic designer’s salary can increase approximately 34% in just 24 months.
The average salary increase in the United Kingdom is 9% every 15 months, in contrast, graphic designers typically see an increase of 11% in the same period of time.
After the first two years, a professional graphic designer already earns 62% more than the national minimum wage and 15% of the average annual expenditure per household. This means that if you split expenses with another person 50/50, you already start to have a 7.5% profit margin. In the following years, things get even better.
How much do junior graphic designers make?
Junior graphic designers with 1 to 5 years of experience typically make between £22,800 and £30,400 per year, depending on their experience. This salary is typically supplemented with food checks, other comforts, and bonuses.
With 5 to 10 years of experience, a graphic designer’s salary can increase up to 48%, reaching £45,000 per year or up to £5,280 per month. Bonuses and extras such as health insurance, gym subscriptions, daycare discounts, and company stock may also be included during this period.
After 10 years of experience, your salary should be more than double the salary at which you started working.
How much do good senior graphic designers make?
Senior graphic designers, with 10 years or more of experience, typically make up to 25% more. With 10 to 15 years of experience, salaries can range from £45,000 to £54,800 per year and with more than 15 years of experience, salaries can range from £59,800 to £64,700 per year. Senior graphic designers may also receive bonuses, commissions, and other extras, in addition to their salary.
How much do freelance graphic designers make
Freelance graphic designers can be paid in different ways. They may bill by the hour, by the piece, or by the project. They may also be paid for a week or a month of work, such as when they work from a client’s office or design studio for a long time.
If you choose to work as a freelancer, make sure to account for all your expenses and desired profit when setting your rates.
Charging by the hour
Charging by the hour is becoming less popular with clients. This is because they don’t know how long a graphic designer will take to complete a job and don’t want to risk the costs of the project increasing. To get an idea of how much to charge per hour, you can calculate it from the salary of a graphic designer with the same amount of experience as you.
For example, a designer with 4 years of experience could start with the £30.40/hr salary that corresponds to someone with their experience, and then add for any expenses, desired profit, and the fact that they don’t receive 14 payments a year.
Charging for periods of time
To charge for periods of time, it is practical to take as a starting point the monthly salary of a graphic designer with the same level of experience and determine a price for the days contracted.
For example, if we have 9 years of experience, and we are asked to go to work in a studio for 16 days, we would calculate the salary for a month of a designer with this experience (£3,914 / month) and we would divide it by the working days of the month (20) and then multiply the result (£195,7) by the number of days we are going to work (16).
The result would be £3,131 for 16 days, but to this value we should also apply the calculation of benefits, activity expenses, etc. This type of billing is usually more convenient for the client, since he knows how much each job will cost him, regardless of how long it takes the designer to execute it.
It is also more profitable for the design professional as it is easier to charge more for certain jobs if they require more effort, for example a website design versus a simple logo design.
Charging by the piece or by the project
You can also determine your rates for pieces or projects in different ways. You can choose to base them on how long it will take to complete the project or part, and on any associated costs, or you can choose to set a price based on the value the project holds for the client.
In the first case, it’s easy to do the calculations, as we’ve done in previous examples. However, it’s not always easy to estimate how long a project will take, so consider adding a margin of error to your calculations of 15% or even 30%, if the cost to the customer does not increase too much.
If you charge for the value the project holds for the client, you can make greater profits, but you must also make sure that this value covers all your expenses and the time you’ll be investing in the project.
The prices you set on your pieces will always be judged by the client based on your portfolio, experience, and the trust they have in you. So the same price can be expensive or cheap for a client, depending on who presents the quote.