Results: DN Survey of Design Salaries 2014

5 years ago from , Founder at Authentic Jobs

(Re: https://news.layervault.com/stories/28790-dn-survey-of-design-salaries-2014 )

More than 1,000 responses from 58 countries were submitted. Here are the results: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NnAAgwen1SoxkdyuLB0TyTNP0FwfSsF6D3nDaFzpnpA/edit?usp=sharing

I was hoping to display results with some visual wizardry. Alas, my schedule hasn't been as kind as I had hoped. Please feel free to visualize the data if your schedule allows.


– Highest annual compensation reported: $950,000 for Developer (Mid) in Palo Alto, California.

– Lowest reported: $200 for Freelancer (self-employed) in Tunisia.

– $115,500 median compensation reported for Creative/Design Director, compared to $75,000–$100,000 in AIGA's survey (http://designsalaries.aiga.org).

– $85,716 median compensation for Sr. Designer, compared to $62,500 for the same in AIGA's.

– Some median figures were lower than AIGA's. However, keep in mind that AIGA is comprised primarily of members in the United States, whereas the DN survey included responses from 58 countries. Also keep in mind that total responses for AIGA's survey were higher (sometimes significantly) than in this survey.


  • Nicholas BurroughsNicholas Burroughs, 5 years ago

    I'm the Omaha designer who accidentally typed $320,000 instead of $32,00.

    21 points
  • Matt LindleyMatt Lindley, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

    Quick Graph:

    graph 1

    Graph with >200k removed:

    graph 2

    14 points
  • Emily Campbell, 5 years ago

    I guess it's time to negotiate a raise...

    11 points
  • Grant GoldGrant Gold, 5 years ago

    *Also keep in mind that the largest group of members of the AIGA are students and recent grads.

    8 points
  • Cameron Moll, almost 5 years ago

    I should also add: It's entirely possible an extra 0 may have been entered accidentally by the submitter, including for the highest figure reported.

    7 points
  • Colm TuiteColm Tuite, 5 years ago

    They should make a ninja unicorn section for those two dudes earning close to a million.

    5 points
    • Derryl CarterDerryl Carter, 5 years ago

      Hehe, most of those look like typos.

      UX Engineer = $850k?? ...or more likely $85k

      7 points
      • Colm TuiteColm Tuite, 5 years ago

        Dude, stop crushing my dreams.

        12 points
      • Cameron MollCameron Moll, 5 years ago

        I had to restrain myself from editing submissions.

        There were some from countries with currencies other than USD that may have been entered in their native currency, rather than USD per the instructions. (I.e. the figures looked to be too low as if entered in pounds sterling.) But again, I had to leave them as-is.

        We'll format the entry fields better next time around.

        1 point
        • John HowardJohn Howard, 5 years ago

          Just say 'are you sure you make over a million as a jr. graphic designer' and if they say 'yes' then say 'nah man' and close the browser on them.

          4 points
  • Martijn Otter, 5 years ago

    Art Directors with 30k? For real? I mean, are you really an Art Director? Maybe at a small firm, but man that's not much at all.

    4 points
    • Anna NiessAnna Niess, 5 years ago

      At some companies, particularly more traditional ad firms, designers are called "junior art directors." Its weird.

      The design school I went to us choose a concentration our senior year: graphic design or art direction. The kids who went the art direction route created an ad-focused portfolio. It was strange, though, to have kids fresh out of school labeling themselves as art directors on their resumes.

      3 points
    • Peter MüllerPeter Müller, 5 years ago

      For a lot of agency focused companies the postgrad junior AD really starts at 30-35k. It's crazy but usually with gaining experience you reach comfy salary levels fast.

      0 points
    • Adam Brace, 5 years ago

      Definitely a traditional Ad agency thing. I know junior designers that work at agencies that label them Art Directors.

      0 points
  • Adria JimenezAdria Jimenez, 5 years ago

    After reading the results I still don't get wtf I'm doing in Spain and why there is so many people that wants to come here...

    4 points
  • Ryan MurphyRyan Murphy, 5 years ago

    Would be cool to get this into an interactive site. Pretty crazy pay for some people.

    4 points
  • Ivana McConnellIvana McConnell, almost 5 years ago

    Hello! I've attempted to visualise this in a way that makes sense to me, located here. Feedback welcome!

    3 points
  • Account deleted 5 years ago

    Ha, I never even saw the original thread! I can't be the only one... 6 days isn't a lot of time to gather results. Any thoughts about keeping it open a week or two longer and seeing if you can pull in more data?

    3 points
  • Michael AleoMichael Aleo, 5 years ago

    Looks like it pays to be a founder or on contract.

    1 point
  • Sarper Erel, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

    An annual $20.000 for an Art Director in Sweden is definitely wrong.

    Living costs and the market for that position aside, I am not even sure if it is legal to work with such annual salary for full-time job in Sweden.

    1 point
    • Desmond A.Desmond A., almost 5 years ago

      Yes that would be illegal as it would be below minimum wage for a full-time employee. But you never know, it could be an lucky intern that get's paid (usually never happens)

      0 points
  • Jay WycheJay Wyche, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

    After reading through this list I think I need to move to California.

    1 point
    • Matthew R. MillerMatthew R. Miller, 5 years ago

      No! Stay out! More money for me ;)

      1 point
    • Ryan Hicks, 5 years ago

      Maybe if you like paying for the extremely high cost of living and putting up with the horrible politics.

      1 point
    • Deny Khoung, 5 years ago

      Demand for designers is constant in SF. Depending on your skill level, I'm looking for designers for my apprenticeship program (whitespacecrew.com) or for placement in a Formation 8 startup.

      0 points
  • Luca Candela, almost 5 years ago (edited almost 5 years ago )

    If you provide me with a CSV version of the data I can plot a few graphs to show the information trapped inside. The way you shared the sheet makes it taking that data to a data analysis tool somewhat challenging.

    UPDATE: thanks!

    0 points
  • Aaron MichaelAaron Michael, 5 years ago

    Who's the Art Director from Beaumont? I'd love to chat with you!

    0 points
  • Catalin CimpanuCatalin Cimpanu, 5 years ago

    Nice work Cameron !!!

    0 points
  • Yunus TunakYunus Tunak, 5 years ago

    Great work, interesting results.

    I think the people who entered $1000 or so were writing monthly salaries as there is no yearly basis for some countries. (eg. Turkey) But its only a very small group as far as i can tell.

    0 points
  • MaCherie EdwardsMaCherie Edwards, 5 years ago

    Does the Mobile UI Designer in OKC feel like identifying him/herself? If so, we should start a design meet up! I'm also curious to know where you work...

    0 points
  • Jahed MomandJahed Momand, 5 years ago


    0 points
  • Todd BenningsTodd Bennings, 5 years ago

    Thanks for doing this. Sure it needs a little more refinement, but it's a good start. I hope I'll be able to contribute next time. Maybe set up a tiny letter to notify people. Or send me a Yo!

    0 points
  • Jonathan YapJonathan Yap, 5 years ago

    So this just sums out, if you are not from EU/US, your pay is shit. Not too much context but an interesting survey nonetheless. MAKES ME FEEL SO MUCH BETTER.

    Now let me cry alone in the corner.

    0 points
  • Dani ReuvenDani Reuven, 5 years ago

    Great job !

    0 points
  • Yoeri HokkenYoeri Hokken, 5 years ago

    Nice list, interesting insights :)

    0 points
  • Jerome Arfouche, 5 years ago

    Aren't those figures slightly inflated by SF area designers ? There's no way I can make that median figure where I live

    0 points
  • Carl FaircloughCarl Fairclough, 5 years ago

    I'm shocked at how much more US-based designers earn than their UK counterparts

    0 points
  • David BroderickDavid Broderick, 5 years ago

    Apparently I should have moved to San Francisco, where Jr Designers make six figures ;)

    0 points
  • Nicholas HendrickxNicholas Hendrickx, 5 years ago

    Are these number gross or net? Before or after tax reduction?

    In both cases, I think I need to get my ass out of Belgium!

    0 points
  • Ivana McConnellIvana McConnell, 5 years ago

    Hello! I've attempted to visualise this in a way that makes sense to me, located [here](ivanamcconnell.com/design-survey.html). Feedback welcome!

    0 points
  • Andreas DruschelAndreas Druschel, 5 years ago

    Thank you vey much!

    0 points
  • Ricardo ZeaRicardo Zea, almost 5 years ago

    Fun Fact: There are no "Web Designer" or "Front End Developer" titles in that list.

    WTF! o_O.

    0 points
  • Jenya Zaycev, almost 5 years ago

    Just added to my comment list.

    0 points