Design Career: 7 of the Highest Paid Jobs in the Industry (2023)

There’s no place quite like the design industry. It’s where creativity and technology meet, and where innovation thrives. Design is absolutely everywhere—from the clothes we wear to the apps we use, from the cars we drive to the chairs we sit on. As a designer, you have the power to shape the world in which we live.

So you’re the only designer at your company

Not only that: design-driven businesses significantly outperform their competitors, so skilled designers are increasingly sought after. Design itself is an extremely broad umbrella, and there are many different routes you can take.

Design is one of the most challenging, fast-moving, and visionary fields to work in—and it can be financially rewarding, too. Here are seven of the of the highest-paid fields within the design industry.

1. UX design

UX design tops the list as the most lucrative field, with an average yearly salary of $96,505.

UX designers are in high demand—87 percent of hiring managers consider recruiting more UX designers to be their number-one priority.

User experience (UX) designers are ultimately responsible for enhancing customer satisfaction, making them absolutely crucial to branding and business. They conduct extensive research into the customer’s needs and use these findings to make smart design decisions. Whether the product is an app, a website, or a tangible device, the UX designer makes sure that it’s as user-friendly as possible.

“The average salary of a UX designer is $96,505.”

Design Career: 7 of the Highest Paid Jobs in the Industry (1)

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A job in UX incorporates elements of interaction design, visual design, information architecture and user research—and therefore calls for a very diverse skill set. On a day-to-day basis, you may find yourself devising user personas, sketching wireframes, creating prototypes, or conducting usability testing. Essentially, UX encompasses anything that impacts how the user feels when they engage with a product. Discover how to become a UX designer here.

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2. Product design

Product designers also rank highly in the salary stakes, enjoying an average yearly income of $89,224.

Just about every object you encounter in daily life is the work of a product designer—from staplers and dining chairs to pens and electronics. Much like UX designers, product designers are concerned with both the aesthetics and functionality of a product, and there are many similarities in the way they work. Product designers also carry out extensive user research before sketching their ideas and blueprints using CAD software. Together with graphic designers and engineers, they then turn these sketches into prototypes, ready for testing.

When designing or redesigning an object, product designers will consider things like shape, ergonomics, size, color, and weight. They are also responsible for finding the most cost-efficient production methods, so an understanding of different materials is essential.

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Product design is crucial to every industryDesign Career: 7 of the Highest Paid Jobs in the Industry (2), so there’s plenty of scope for variety. New entrants to the field usually need a degree in product design, industrial design, or engineering. Soft skills also play a major role, as communication and teamwork are key.

One of the most rewarding aspects of product design is the opportunity to innovate, which may be why it was recently voted the most appealing job for Generation Z. To find out more about this career path, read this day-in-the-life account from a product designer at Dyson.

3. UI design

UI designers rake in around $88,434 per year on average, putting them hot on the heels of their friends in UX. User interface design is, in fact, a crucial subset of UX—but it’s important to recognize that they are two separate roles.

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UI design focuses on the user’s visual experience, determining how they interact with the product interface. The job of a UI designer is to design all the screens through which a user moves, and to create all the visual touchpoints and interactions that facilitate this movement. Consider a dating app where you swipe left and right, or the act of scrolling down a website—some classic UI elements.

Related: 5 ways to upgrade your UI design portfolio

A role in UI design offers plenty of variety, with tasks ranging from creating animations, establishing style guides, choosing the right colors and typeface, prototyping and testing. UI designers might work on apps, websites, video games and software; anything with an interface! To land a job in this highly rewarding field, consider a mentored online course in UI design.

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4. Video game design

Good news for gamers with a creative flair: Video game design is the fourth highest-paid field in the industry. The average yearly salary for video game designers is $86,510, and with it comes an extremely varied and interesting workload.

Video game designers are storytellers, programmers, and visual artists all rolled into one. They are responsible for drawing up video game concepts based on the target audience, and then bringing this concept to life. This may involve developing plots and characters, creating the user interface and inputting script to generate interactive gameplay elements.

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Becoming a video game designer generally requires a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer engineering, as well as some programming knowledge. Creativity and problem-solving skills are also key. Read a day in the life of a video game designer to see if this is the job for you.

5. Multimedia art and animation

Multimedia artists and animators earn $63,800 per year on average. Aside from the financial reward, this is an extremely varied field with countless potential career paths.

Multimedia artists and animators are responsible for creating the cool visual effects you see on TV, in movies, and in video games. Depending on their exact specialization, they might work on developing storyboards, creating drawings and computer graphics, and designing 3D figures and characters.

The most common route into multimedia art is a degree in 3D animation or computer graphics—but there are no hard-and-fast requirements. Above all, you need to feel at home using computer animation software, conducting project research, and presenting your ideas to key stakeholders.

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If you do go down the multimedia route, you could find yourself working in TV, film, advertising, PR, or the video game industry. With a projected employment growth rate of eight percent through to 2026, this is both an interesting and steady career path.

6. Web design

Often described as the graphic designers of the digital world, web designers pocket an average $59,633 per year. They are responsible for planning, designing, and building websites, calling on a mixture of both technical and creative skills.

For a web designer, the art lies in understanding the client’s vision and turning it into a visually compelling, fully functional website. This covers a vast range of tasks, from planning the site architecture to choosing colors, layout, typography, and graphics. The web designer may also oversee the written copy and set up the domain name.

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To excel in this field, you need a highly diverse skill set. One day you might be working on visual design, and the next you may be tweaking code and running tests. An understanding of content management systems, basic programming languages, visual design principles, and SEO will all come in handy.

While it’s possible to study web design, this isn’t the only way in. Employers are largely focused on practical experience and an impressive portfolio, and many web designers come from a fine art, graphic design, or software engineering background.

7. Exhibit design

Perhaps one of the lesser known professions on the list, but a well-paid one nonetheless: A career in exhibit design could see you earning an average yearly salary of $57,600. Exhibit designers are the creative geniuses behind the displays and fixtures you see at museums, galleries, conferences, and trade shows. For those who like to combine computer-based design work with off-screen application, this role provides the best of both.

The designer takes ownership of the exhibit from start to finish. After working with the client to establish a vision, they will sketch out ideas and create computer-generated models. These are then turned into prototypes which are reiterated until the final design is approved. Exhibit designers may also be involved in constructing the display onsite.

Exhibit designers have many skills. Not only are they experts in layout and design; they are also able to work within very specific spatial limitations. To become an exhibit designer, it helps to study a design-related degree such as 3D or interior design. Outstanding communication skills, solid drawing ability, and knowledge of computer-based design programs are also essential.

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If you’re curious about a career in design, start by learning the fundamentals of user experience. Once you truly understand the relationship between product and user, the design industry is your oyster.

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Design Career: 7 of the Highest Paid Jobs in the Industry? ›

Lead Designer is the highest-paid type of graphic designer with an average salary of $110,001 and an average hourly rate of $52.89. The second highest-paying type of graphic designer is interactive designer, with an average salary of $97,929.

Which 5 careers are the highest paid? ›

What are the highest paying jobs?
  • Patent attorney. ...
  • Certified nurse anesthetist. ...
  • Physician. ...
  • Dentist. ...
  • Psychiatrist. National average salary: $220,525 per year. ...
  • Surgeon. National average salary: $229,948 per year. ...
  • Orthodontist. National average salary: $240,599 per year. ...
  • Anesthesiologist. National average salary: $353,162 per year.
Mar 10, 2023

Which company pays designers most? ›

Top 10 Highest-Paying Graphic Design Companies
CompanySalary for {Professions}
Adobe Systems, Inc.$70,262
6 more rows
Feb 28, 2022

What is the highest paid graphic designer? ›

Lead Designer is the highest-paid type of graphic designer with an average salary of $110,001 and an average hourly rate of $52.89. The second highest-paying type of graphic designer is interactive designer, with an average salary of $97,929.

How can a Designer make a lot of money? ›

Create and Sell Templates

This is arguably one of the most profitable ways to get passive income for graphic designers. With this approach, all you have to do is make templates of any kind, which could be for ebooks, posters, invitations, or Pinterest graphics. Then, sell the templates online.

What is the highest paid design engineer? ›

Highest salary that a Design Engineer can earn is ₹7.4 Lakhs per year (₹61.7k per month).
These are the top skills of a Design Engineer based on 13275 jobs posted by employers.
  • Design Engineering.
  • AutoCAD.
  • Solid Works.
  • CATIA.
  • CAD.

Which careers are the top 3 higher paid? ›

Get Matched!
  • Anesthesiologist. #1 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. #2 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Obstetrician and Gynecologist. #3 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Surgeon. #4 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Orthodontist. #5 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Physician. #6 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Psychiatrist. #7 in Best Paying Jobs. ...
  • Nurse Anesthetist.

What is the best career in the world? ›

What Is The Best Job In The World?
  • Information security analyst. ...
  • Veterinarian. ...
  • Corporate controller. ...
  • Finance manager. ...
  • Data scientist. ...
  • Professor. National average salary: ₹8,52,064 per year. ...
  • Psychiatrist. National average salary: ₹9,47,757 per year. ...
  • Anaesthesiologist. National average salary: ₹11,74,715 per year.
Mar 18, 2023

What is the top 10 salary? ›

Landing in the top 10% is a fairly attainable goal for upwardly mobile Americans. A study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that the average earnings of those in the top 10% were roughly $173,000 in 2020.

Can a designer be a millionaire? ›

To answer this question, we should evaluate in a generous view and as a graphic designer, you can definitely gain a million dollars. Many do. But it's challenging. Yes, you can.

Where do most designers work? ›

Graphic designers generally work in studios, where they have access to equipment such as drafting tables, computers, and software. Although many graphic designers work independently, those who work for specialized graphic design firms are often part of a design team.

Is design a good career path? ›

Graphic design is a great career for people who are creative thinkers and enjoy art, technology, and communication. There are design needs across every industry, so Graphic Designers have many opportunities to take on a range of new and exciting projects.

Can graphic designers make 6 figures? ›

Many graphic designers don't think making six figures on your own is possible. Most graphic designers don't make that, and salaries are quite less than that, so why should they think that it's possible? Well, it is. But you have to get yourself into the right mindset.

How much do designers earn? ›

Average ₹15,183 per month.

What is a lead designer? ›

The Lead Designer manages all aspects of the design process, from research and ideation, to creative conceptualisation and design.

How do you succeed as a designer? ›

Use these tips to improve your skills and become a better graphic design professional:
  1. Earn an education in design. ...
  2. Take online design courses. ...
  3. Specialize your work. ...
  4. Determine your signature style. ...
  5. Find a mentor. ...
  6. Seek feedback from other designers. ...
  7. Join online design groups. ...
  8. Collaborate with skilled designers.
Nov 28, 2022

Is designer a stressful job? ›

Graphic design is no more stressful than any other field,” says graphic designer Ryan Mungia. “A lot of the stress depends on what kind of job you have and who you are doing it for.” That said, there are a few common sources of stress for graphic designers: Keeping up with deadlines.

Can designers make 6 figures? ›

Many graphic designers don't think making six figures on your own is possible. Most graphic designers don't make that, and salaries are quite less than that, so why should they think that it's possible? Well, it is. But you have to get yourself into the right mindset.

What are 5 design careers? ›

Here is a list of 5 creative careers in design that can put you on an artistic career path in tech.
  • Web Designer. Web designers plan, create, and design websites according to what a customer or client wants. ...
  • Graphic Designer. ...
  • Interactive Designer. ...
  • User Experience Designer. ...
  • User Interface Designer.

Can graphic designers make 100k? ›

You can make $100k+ anually as a graphic designer by not only being a graphic designer, but by being the creative director of a well established design or ad agency. Or by being an awesome freelance Senior UX/UI designer. Or possibly by working for Adobe, Apple, Google or Microsoft…. It's definitely possible.


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