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How Much Do Web Designers Make by Experience and Specialty?

Ever wonder how much entry-level or senior web designers make? Check out our review of average annual salaries with up-to-date numbers

11 min read

Gone are days when talented folks were left only with illustrator or painter jobs. Today's digital reality offers the creative crowd numerous job opportunities. Starting with an animator and ending with a remote art therapist, there is certainly a lot to choose from. However, among this variety web designer stands out from the crowd.

The deal is, even though this niche has been with us for decades, it stills expands because demands immensely exceed the supplies. In 2021, everyone wants to establish themselves online, from single entrepreneurs to small startups to large, well-established companies—businesses from all niches and of every scale transition to the digital World.

Add to this increasing popularity of mobile applications, e-commerce, and the digital marketing sector that do A/B tests with landing pages every day, and it comes as no surprise that the employment of web designers is forecasted to grow faster than ever, reaching new heights.

The statistics provided by the US Bureau of Labor backs this up: web designer job growth is 13%. Indeed already lists over 15,000 positions. And with the website design cost around $3,000 (if you want to hire web designer with experience or a digital agency, the price may reach a staggering $15,000 and even $30,000), the average salary of a website designer sees a constant rise.

If you are one of those who muse about switching your current job to pursue a career as a website designer, or you doubt whether it is a good choice for your future, check out our overview of average annual salaries with up-to-date numbers. Let us find out how much web designers make and what it takes to get such a paycheck to see whether it fits your living expenses and life expectations.

Although you cannot tell exactly how much web designers make because salary depends on numerous factors such as knowledge base, experience, skills, platform, individual qualities, clients, company, and even location. Nevertheless, we can give you an idea of the average salary by comparing and contrasting data collected by popular, trustworthy review websites that gather self-reported salaries from designers and companies around the World:

The review platforms are seeing annual salaries as low as $30,500 and as high as $120,500. Most web designer salaries currently range between $49,500 and $60,500, with top earners making as much as $75,000 annually across the United States. As a result, the average salary for web designers is 54k/year or $24/hour.

Note, depending on the location, these numbers may vary drastically because the city's living cost dictates its own rules. For instance, a web designer in South Dakota enjoys an annual salary of $43k/year, whereas a web designer in San Francisco expects to get nearly $60k/year.

In addition, it is essential to understand that the average salary for an entry-level web designer starts at $35k/year. In contrast, the senior web designer can secure $90k/year or even $115k/year.

So, how much do web designers make depending on their level and experience? Let us find out.

Entry-Level and Junior Web Designer Salary

If you have less than 3 years of experience, you are considered a junior web designer. As a rule, you need a supervisor who will control the quality of your work, and you are usually assigned small tasks rather than the whole project.

Depending on your knowledge, skills, and even your alma mater, your salary may vary. However, according to review websites like Glassdoor or ZipRecruiter, you can expect to get a median annual salary ranges from as low as $33k/year to decent-enough-for-one-person $43k/year.

Mid-Level Web Designer Salary

Those who have already gained experience and worked for several years in the company secure a mid-level position. It means you can complete the whole project yourself, supervise and train others and manage several projects simultaneously.

Depending on your experience and company, you can expect a salary between $52k/year to $65K/year. You can even earn more if you choose international companies or states with high-cost living.

Senior Web Designer Salary

To estimate the average annual salary for a senior web designer is a challenging task since this job position is interpreted differently. Some companies believe that senior web designers should work in this field for at least 10 years, whereas others prioritize experience and projects done during the career. Therefore, even the web designer with 5 years of experience whose portfolio boasts of top-notch projects can fetch a senior position.

As a rule, senior web designers can handle everything: organizing the entire working flow for junior and mid-level teammates, taking care of urgent or highly demanding projects single-handedly and of course, creating mind-blowing concepts.

Depending on location, company, clients, additional skills, and accolades, a senior web designer can fetch as much as $120k/year. However, according to review websites, the average annual salary ranges from $80k/year to $110k/year.

With all that said, it is essential to remember that the average salary for web designers sees constant growth. According to a survey conducted by Robert Half Technology, the average salary for a mid-level web designer was $49k/year in 2012, whereas, in 2016, it was nearly $52k/year. Today it ranges from $54k/year to $60k/year.

In addition, the web designer's job offers two crucial perks: flexibility in the work and scalability. Web designers are not committed to only a single company. As a rule, many creatives work online or take side projects to earn extra money and gain experience faster. Therefore, even as an entry-level web designer, you can expect to make more money than an average annual salary if you fetch a better deal or land a big company or international project.

How Much Do Web Designers Make by Specialty?

A web designer is a general term covering three primary niche fields: UI designer, UX designer, Interaction designer. Moreover, thanks to CMS popularization, you can find job titles that say WordPress Web designers. Let us consider each one closer since their salaries vary.

UI Designer

UI designer, also known as a user interface or website designer, is responsible for creating the website's appearance. This involves designing the interface for both the front-end and back-end of the project, focusing mainly on the look and functionality. They quite often have extra skills in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

According to review platforms, the mid-level UI designer's salary ranges from $50k/year to $62k/year, with an average annual salary of around $55k/year.

UX Designer

UX designer, also known as a user experience designer, is responsible for creating a comfortable user experience that benefits both visitors and the company from the marketing point of view.

Artists in this niche often conduct wireframing, prototyping, and analysis and do numerous research and tests. In addition, this field requires thorough knowledge in color psychology, type hierarchy, grid systems, responsive design, mobile-friendliness, and accessibility. Therefore, generally, UX designers are paid better.

According to review platforms, the UX designer's salary ranges from $65k/year to $90k/year; on average, they could make $75k/year.

Interaction Designer

Interaction designer combines the skills of UI designer and UX designer to develop reliable web-based platforms or web applications that comfortably interact with the users. He or she is responsible for designing complex projects and interactions dealing with the platform on the fundamental level.

Moreover, in this job position, designers conduct researches to understand user's needs and expectations, plan and manage complex projects, and create wireframes and prototypes to test usability, accessibility, and interactivity to resonate with the crowd and attain the marketing goals.

According to review platforms, the interaction designer's salary ranges from $80k/year to $110k/year, the average annual pay for this position is $90k/year.

WordPress Web Designer

WordPress web designer, and any other CMS-specific web designer position, is not a separate field; it is a subfield. However, as WordPress gains popularity each year, powering already more than 25% of all websites in the World, this job sees a constant growth in popularity.

As befits, this job requires knowledge and experience in WordPress to create a website design that can be easily turned into a working version.

According to ZipRecruiter, WordPress web designers may fetch an average annual salary of around $55k/year.

How Much Do Freelance Web Designers Make?

The rise of the gig economy has opened a wealth of opportunities for web designers. They can earn decent money sitting at home and working at their own pace. With the Covid pandemic, this direction has got an even more significant boost.

Freelance lets web designers work with companies around the World, take part in unique projects and collaborate with international and multitalented teams, thereby expanding their experience, improving skills, and acquiring new knowledge.

However, it does not come without sacrifices. Working remotely does not suit everybody: you need to be well organized and well versed in finances to pursue your career online successfully. In addition, your revenue constantly depends on whether you have clients or not or how well you can convince them to choose you as an executor.

Achieving stability in this matter can be very difficult, even for senior web designers. However, if you manage to find good clients or an international company to work remotely, then you can expect around $79k/year for a mid-level position, according to Glassdoor, or $56k/year for the entry-level position by ZipRecruiter.

How Much Do Web Designers Charge per Website?

As a rule, freelance web designers charge between $500 to over $5,000 per website. They may charge even more if they use Upwork or similar freelancing platforms with thousands of international companies and clients on board.

The rate also depends on the scope of the project, complexity of the job, niche for which the project should be done, skills and experience of the web designer, and even cost of living and any business expenses.

How Web Designers Make Money?

It would be a mistake to think that a web designer's job only implies drawing the website's design in Adobe XD, InDesign, Sketch, or any other UI design tool. This occupation oversees a variety of tasks.

Depending on the specialty, web designers may perform various roles. For example, a UI designer should translate requirements into style guides and prototypes, create design systems and patterns, design graphic user interface elements, and build the final version of the interface.

Whereas UX designers should conduct researches, perform usability tests, develop personas and usage scenarios, etc.

On top of that, it is crucial to understand that every new level requires new responsibilities. For instance, while the junior web designer is assigned to do small tasks, the senior web designer is responsible for completing the project, coordinating the whole team, and meeting clients' requirements, expectations and deadlines.

Therefore, the average annual salary for web designers from various levels and with different scopes of responsibilities vary. Thus, mid-level web designers with lots on their plate may easily earn as much as $70k/year.

Last but not least, the great thing about web designer as a profession is that it is flexible and scalable. You are welcome to work with different clients, companies, and projects outside your work, thereby raising your revenue dramatically. Many web designers try side-hustling on the evenings and weekends.

On top of that, apart from competitive salaries, companies offer extra benefits, like flexible works schedules, the opportunity to work from home, generous paid vacation, full health and dental coverage, and most importantly, commission and bonuses. The latter can be substantial money rewards.

Conclusion

This may not be the highest salary in technology; for example, the programming counterparts, web developers, fetch an average annual salary between $60k/year to $70k/year. However, this income level should be enough for single workers or those who live in states with low-cost living expenses.

In addition, web designer salary depends on several crucial factors: location, skills, experience, and individual qualities. Although it is true that the better skills, experience, and qualities you have, the higher salary you get, still location always puts its two cents in, affecting the annual salary.

Finally, the most significant advantage of being a web designer is that you can generate extra income by taking outside projects because this job is increasingly flexible and comes without strings attached.