Let's talk about Salaries

almost 2 years ago from , Designer

So I know this is usually a taboo subject to talk about within our industry, but I think if we're all a little more transparent about how much we earn / charge we can all benefit by not undercharging / undervaluing ourselves.

So designernews. What do you Earn?

Post your Location, Job Title, Salary & Job Description

I'll kick things off:

Manchester, UKMiddle Weight Creative Designer£28,000 PA Salaried, £45 per hour freelance rate

I work as a creative designer for a design agency. Essentially working across anything from Web-design, print-design, motion graphics and everything inbetween.

A bit of everything really!

120 comments

  • Xavier BertelsXavier Bertels, almost 2 years ago

    I see the good intentions, but without proper context, I actually think this thread helps overvaluing / undervaluing ourselves.

    Things like the type of social security system you are in, the type and amount of taxes you have to pay yourself (vs what your company might pay for you). The amount of experience you have. How much impact you have on the business (lead UI designer at Apple vs lead UI designer at small startup number n) etc are things that have a HUGE impact on pay.

    Just sharing the numbers and a location will only lead to more confusion and misunderstanding, because there is no way you can compare a $120k/yr salary in Silicon Valley with a $50k/yr salary in Belgium if the mean price of an apartment is $3000/m vs $1000/m and you don’t have proper healthcare or a pension vs every possible risk is taken care of and paid by your employer.

    I’m not saying either one is better, just that context has a huge impact on salary. A thread like this only leads to more confusion. $120k/yr vs $50k/yr a year might seem crazy, but if you have to deduct $36k vs $12k for renting your apartment and in one system you are supposed to take care of your own pension vs you will definitely have a proper state-provided pension, you can begin to put things into perspective a whole lot more . . . And that is just the tip of the iceberg :-).

    41 points
    • Edwin de JonghEdwin de Jongh, almost 2 years ago

      I totally agree. Just to put it in perspective from my side as well: In the Netherlands (where I'm from) I would get paid roughly 40-50k at my level, and that's fairly competitive. However, my rent there was only about $500 a month, and that was for a 1br 800sq ft apartment as well.

      Now that I'm working here in San Francisco, I make almost triple what I would make in the Netherlands, but (especially now during the summer) my rent is $3500 a month for a 1br of about 640 sq ft. There's also a lot of taxes.

      And for people outside the USA: Keep in mind that education in the USA is crazy expensive, so generally the pay across the USA is higher as well to allow people to pay their 80-90k education debts in a reasonable amount of time + everyone buys stuff here on credit.

      4 points
    • , almost 2 years ago

      Whilst I agree with what you're saying. I saw this more as a chance to see what people in a similar position to yourself are earning. For example whilst for me to compare my salary with someone in a similar position in Silicon Valley would be unrealistic, if I compared it to someone in a similar position in the UK (or which ever your respective country is) it's a nice comparison and something which quite frankly is never spoken about normally.

      4 points
      • Philip WeberPhilip Weber, almost 2 years ago

        I've known a lot of designers who simply have no idea what to expect as far as salary. They just assume designers don't get paid very much.

        I think it's good for designers to see that if a high salary is something they are after, it is attainable (given the right skill set and/or location).

        1 point
    • Csongor BartusCsongor Bartus, almost 2 years ago

      Yes the system is screwed. There are salaries in this thread between 20-200k. And on the Expat Cost of Living Index the cheapest city has 60 points where the most expensive has 300.

      But our thinking is also screwed. This forum seems populated by employees not employers. We offer value not location based services.

      200k is ok for somebody who pushes the industry forward whatever the location. And 60k would be normal as entry level, again, indifferent from location.

      Years ago I've managed an international team. We've been hiring for Dubai, Germany, China, Hungary and Romania. On a board meeting we set up salaries based on the basket model. Each country has to have mandatory items in their specific basket. In Romania it contains just basic items. In Germany twice a month dining out. In Dubai more extras.

      Once each basket was set up to meet local standards we have added the same amount of savings to define the salary.

      Finally if someone went working in Dubai had the same savings at the month end like the others working in Romania. And felt like being part of the same middle class whatever the location.

      This is the old school model, pre-internet, called slavery.

      With working remotely catching up only the value you produce will matter not where you live.

      2 points
  • Stephen GraceStephen Grace, almost 2 years ago

    This is when we need throwaway accounts on DN.

    23 points
  • Throwaway Account, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    Throwaway account here.

    Staff Designer, Google. ~12 years experience. Largely UI/visual design. Bay Area

    Salary: $195k

    Equity: About $550k worth per year

    15 points
  • Spencer HaizelSpencer Haizel, almost 2 years ago

    The difference in some of these salaries is painfully depressing.

    9 points
  • Hunter Hammonds, almost 2 years ago

    Chicago & Remote. Creative Director/Head of Product, ~$140k/annually, $100hr freelance.

    8 points
  • Some DesignerSome Designer, almost 2 years ago

    Istanbul, UX Designer at Global Agency with 7yrs of experience, $15k / year

    shit country, shit pays, shit treatment.

    8 points
    • Cihad TurhanCihad Turhan, almost 2 years ago

      How can you be paid so low w/ 7yrs of experience? I have 3 years of experinece slightly higher than yours.

      1 point
      • Some DesignerSome Designer, almost 2 years ago

        designers always get paid horrible. interns won't get paid anything at all. (I'm not even talking about the social security tax)

        0 points
    • Roman HorokhovatskyyRoman Horokhovatskyy, almost 2 years ago

      WTF man just go away from Istanbul…

      0 points
    • Alex HeetonAlex Heeton, almost 2 years ago

      Would you like to do some freelance? Much better pay, and I'm looking for a good UX designer who wants to do a few hours here and there on the side.

      6 points
    • Nick Sloggett, almost 2 years ago

      Time to get out.

      0 points
    • Helen VlingHelen Vling, almost 2 years ago

      Dude, I didn't even charge that when I first started out. DEMAND MOAR.

      1 point
      • Some DesignerSome Designer, almost 2 years ago

        Heh, there's a huge line of people are waiting outside for an empty seat. Why would the managers care if I demand more money? They've easily fix my table for a newer cheaper person. Yeah, that happens.

        1 point
        • Helen VlingHelen Vling, almost 2 years ago

          Lol, I can understand that mentality, but it all comes down to knowing that you're worth so much more than what you're being paid, and taking your fine expertise elsewhere that appreciates you. Try looking for a new job?

          0 points
          • Some DesignerSome Designer, almost 2 years ago

            It's my 2nd month on this company right now. Changed recently. So you get the deal :)

            Actually main problem is, I'm living in a place where design is not actually needed. If you'd dump a pile of rocks, people would start to bonk them on their own head. That's why designers get paid so low in here. It's not because of the "managers"

            For example let me summarise my last meeting.

            So we're in the client's office to present finished design (which they've previously confirmed on wireframes in a flash and asked instantly for the "coloured" version). At the meeting they just did a quick glimpse at the first visual and they've told us to open another page for an example. When the page is loaded we've noticed they want the exact copy of their rival's website. Even the colours which they are not close to their branding. After a two hour meeting I've gave up and just stepped back defending common sense. PM agreed to copy the other website and no more UX needed. After that they've noticed they've noticed their briefing was wrong and they actually said "did you really needed a brief at all".

            I worked and talked to them on the brief that gave for a full fucking month. Randomly they've decided to copycat their previous rival. that's it. No design needed.

            I'm not thinking about a change. I'm just thinking, Why do I even bother.

            1 point
            • Helen VlingHelen Vling, almost 2 years ago

              Ahh, so you have those type of clients.. That sucks, sorry to hear that. I've had times when I had to interact and work for clients like that too.

              Perhaps you could try looking for work elsewhere, or even working remotely? That's what I do with my full-time job. Things tend to get a little boring when you're always working on one product during the day, that's why I take on freelance for the extra cash and extra creative-juice moments :)

              0 points
              • Some DesignerSome Designer, almost 2 years ago

                Actually that's what I've decided yesterday. But since it's a very immature decision I don't even know where to start :)

                I'm not going to work with local clients that's for sure.

                0 points
                • Helen VlingHelen Vling, almost 2 years ago

                  First and foremost, have a strong website/portfolio and then just begin checking out websites and stuff for open jobs that allows remote/are looking for contract/freelance designers.

                  I get most of my freelance projects from word of mouth.

                  0 points
  • Edwin de JonghEdwin de Jongh, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    Location: San Francisco & Remote Title: Lead Designer Employer: Startup Salary: 140k Freelancer: $80/hr

    5 points
  • Cihad TurhanCihad Turhan, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )
    • Location: Ankara - Turkey
    • Title: Web Designer & Developer
    • Employer: IT Company
    • Salary: $23k / year (I added taxes and insurance which company pays for us)

    Possible new job in US

    • Location: LA
    • Title: Web Designer & Developer
    • Employer: Startup
    • Salary: $120k / year + 0.5%

    Freelance

    • 50 dollars in US, 40 Euros in Europe. It's low for US but pretty good for Turkey.
    4 points
    • Shane CShane C, almost 2 years ago

      Sorry but I really don’t understand how salaries in the US can be so high… are the taxes over there really high? How is that salary broken down (i.e. how much would that be after tax?)

      0 points
      • Robbert EsserRobbert Esser, almost 2 years ago

        Cost of living in cities like SF, NYC and LA are very high.

        4 points
      • Louis-André LabadieLouis-André Labadie, almost 2 years ago

        The cost of living in large cities is very high. A job that pays you ~$25k in Turkey may leave you with more room for personal expenses and savings than a job that pays you ~$100k but requires you to live near San Francisco, for example.

        0 points
      • Cihad TurhanCihad Turhan, almost 2 years ago

        This is fairly high salary but I can assure that 1/3 would be spent for taxes. Then I think about rental which I think about 3-4k monthly.

        0 points
      • Nick Sloggett, almost 2 years ago

        33% for anyone over 100k COL is also high. SF Rent comes in around 2500/month USD

        0 points
        • Cihad TurhanCihad Turhan, almost 2 years ago

          I'd like to learn more accurate one. How much tax do you estimate for a 26 yo single foreigner?

          0 points
          • Michael AleoMichael Aleo, almost 2 years ago

            Depends on if you're going to be a W2 full employee, a contractor, or what. Over $100k will probably be around 40% in my experience.

            0 points
      • Brendan McDonaldBrendan McDonald, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

        The cost of living comments don't come close to answering it. I think the far more important reasons for the huge variance are:

        -Design has become far more valued in the last few years in Silicon Valley and become seen as a critical strategy for attracting and retaining customers. This is still pretty rare in tier-two US cities and outside the US.

        -Companies in the US operate at a bigger scale than elsewhere, in general. If you do great work for Google, a billion people will see your work. For companies at this scale, or that seriously aspire to operating at this scale, it makes a lot of sense to pay to attract and retain the best. Most of the companies like this are based in SF/Seattle. This is, on a bigger scale, the same reason why an excellent community theatre actor will get paid less than a b-list Hollywood actor: they may be better at what they do, but they simply entertain fewer people. They have no leverage in delivering their art.

        -Turnover is quite high in US tech hubs, which pushes salaries higher since frequently revolving employees are aware of the market value for their labor. Generally low turnover means low salary growth in white collar work.

        -Salaries are high across the board for positions at tech companies, especially on the product team (PM, Design, Engineering), and to some extent Sales and Marketing. Most startups have plans to be very high margin businesses that will dominate lucrative segments of major national/global markets. While few may actually succeed, enough have that there is a lot of funding for those who want to try. In general the gap between startup salaries and established business salaries has been narrowing in top tier tech cities because the funding environment is so good, so startups are effectively behaving like established companies in terms of base compensation. High margin businesses generally treat their employees well, regardless of the industry. (Another way of understanding the NYT article exploring Amazon's work culture. Most of their businesses are low margin; hence they're not going to give out a free lunch or other high-margin-business perks.)

        2 points
  • Throwing Away, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    Also a throwaway account

    Los Angeles, Creative Director (Web, App, Mobile, UX Design)

    Salary: $200k

    Freelance: +$50-$80k yr avg

    This isn't going to last forever. If you're very well paid or not, save.

    4 points
  • youlanda kuoyoulanda kuo, almost 2 years ago
    • location: Taipei, Taiwan
    • Title: UI/UX designer
    • Employer: Startup
    • Salary: $24k/annually (NTD 720k)

    Most work is UI, but also a bit of everything, too.

    4 points
    • Zethus SuenZethus Suen, almost 2 years ago

      How is the startup/tech scene in Taiwan? Is it an up-and-coming market?

      0 points
      • Alex ChanAlex Chan, almost 2 years ago

        I don't have any first-hand experience, but I know people who do business in Asia and they all say that China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc... are all hotbeds for tech/start ups. I don't really know if the design portion is as well-respected as it is in the states though.

        0 points
      • youlanda kuoyoulanda kuo, almost 2 years ago

        Yes It is in recent years. Although still not as good as China or Singapore. And people in Taiwan doesn't care a lot about design. Anyway..It's getting better!

        0 points
  • Frad Lee, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )
    • Location: Beijing
    • Title: Interaction designer
    • Salary: $32k/annually, $30/hr freelance
    4 points
  • Jon DarkeJon Darke, almost 2 years ago

    We're firm believers in paying people what they are worth to the business. Our designers could be a relatively inexperienced but extremely talented, or a more experienced with less diverse skill set. We don't put people in boxes or give them job titles or labels to justify salaries. They do more of what they're best at and want to do, and we try to balance the team so there's enough diversity and spectrum of skills to achieve what we need to deliver. Salaries in our small London agency as such range from £25k - £50k+.

    'I am in this box so I must earn this amount of money' is a bad way to structure salaries and doesn't lead to a very healthy employee. All it does is take away the conversations of personal value & objectives.

    2 points
  • Conor McAfeeConor McAfee, almost 2 years ago

    Job Title: Designer & Front-End Developer

    Based In: Northern Ireland

    Graduated 2 years ago

    £22k

    2 points
  • John KarlssonJohn Karlsson, almost 2 years ago

    glassdoor.com has some great salary data as well, especially for US companies.

    2 points
  • Viacheslav Trofymov, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    Location: Moscow, Russia Title: UI/UX designer Employer: Agency Salary: before winter 2014-2015 - $26k, after winter 2014-2015: $13k

    2 points
  • Benjamin LundquistBenjamin Lundquist, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    Location: NYC

    Title: Digital Director

    Employer: Agency

    Salary: decent

    2 points
  • Ashraf AliAshraf Ali, almost 2 years ago

    Location: NYC
    Title: Art Director
    Employer: Agency
    Salary: 61k

    2 points
  • Luke JonesLuke Jones, almost 2 years ago

    £140,000

    Head of Hojos

    1 point
  • Paul NevinPaul Nevin, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )
    • Location: Paris, France
    • Title: UI designer
    • Employer: In-house
    • Salary: $62k/year

    Mainly UI design and front-end

    1 point
  • Andy ShawAndy Shaw, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    London, Head of Product, £70k (up to 15k annual bonus also). I oversee a team of designers, developers, copywriter and project manager in making mobile apps. I get to do a lot of UX/UI work too. Personal projects on the side too, latest being usecontext.com

    1 point
  • Suzanne GauseSuzanne Gause, almost 2 years ago

    Location: NYC Title: Senior UX Designer Salary: $115k

    1 point
  • Drew BeckDrew Beck, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    San Francisco, UX Lead at a small SaaS startup. $60/hr

    1 point
  • Nick van der WildtNick van der Wildt, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )
    • Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    • Title: Lead UX Designer
    • Employer: Ecommerce company
    • Salary: (removed)
    • Freelance rate: (removed)
    1 point
    • Zach Grosser, almost 2 years ago

      Would you say that $62k annually is a comfortable amount to live on in Amsterdam? I'm considering moving to Amsterdam in a couple years.

      0 points
      • Nick van der WildtNick van der Wildt, almost 2 years ago

        Hey! Sorry for the late reply, but totally! Anything above $50k is extremely comfortable. I have actually been on way less and got to live in spacious places in and around Amsterdam :-)

        1 point
  • Scott ThomasScott Thomas, almost 2 years ago

    Location: Washington, DC Title: UI/UX Designer with 4 Years of Experience Employer: Agency Start-Up Salary: 50k, No benefits

    0 points
  • Santiago BaigorriaSantiago Baigorria, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )
    • Location: Remote (live in Argentina, company from Aventura, FL)
    • Title: Lead UI designer and front-end developer
    • Employer: Startup
    • Salary: $57k/year / Freelance hourly rate: $60+

    I do UX/UI design and then turn the designs into HTML/CSS so that back-end team can implement.

    0 points
  • Kyle MitchellKyle Mitchell, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )
    • location: Boston USA
    • Title: UI/UX designer
    • Employer: In-House Global Company
    • Salary: $95k annually
    0 points
  • Kamile Mieliauskaite, almost 2 years ago

    London, UK

    Middle Weight Graphic Designer £26,000, £ 30 per hour freelance rate

    0 points
  • Daniel YpsilantiDaniel Ypsilanti, almost 2 years ago

    Web/print Gainesville, FL 40k annually $65/hr freelance

    0 points
  • Matt WalkerMatt Walker, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )
    • Location: Atlanta, GA
    • Title: Product Designer
    • Employer: In-House Global Company
    • Salary: $90k annually
    0 points
  • Matt CastilloMatt Castillo, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    Product Designer in Chicago with 2 years experience: $65k annual salary, $80/hour freelance. I'm the sole designer at a fast-growing startup overseeing UI & UX of a half-dozen products.

    0 points
  • Mohamed FayazMohamed Fayaz, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    Location: Malé, Maldives Title: UI/Motiographics Designer Salary: $12k/annually Freelance: $90 hr

    This is just embarrassing. To be fair, our clients are shit.

    0 points
  • Tomas Martinez, almost 2 years ago

    Location: Spain Title: UI / UX Designer Employer: Agency Salary: € 12k / 30€/h freelance (i'm doing almost 1 or 2 jobs monthly)

    I studied a law degree and then i change my life to be a self-taught designer. I'm only 1 year of experience so i'm happy for now :)

    0 points
  • Dan DiGangiDan DiGangi, almost 2 years ago

    I've only worked as a developer for a salaried job where I ranged from as low as $50k and up to $115k.

    With my freelance work, I usually charge somewhere around $30-50 an hour for design work. I charge lower comparatively to my development work because I always end up sinking more hours with a client with all the back & forth.

    0 points
  • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, almost 2 years ago

    it's hugely dependent on location.

    0 points
  • Throw Away, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )
    • Location: Madison, WI
    • Title: Lead Product Designer
    • Age: 24
    • Employer: Startup
    • Salary: $66k

    I'm entirely self taught so I'm very happy with my current salary.

    0 points
    • Jeff ShinJeff Shin, almost 2 years ago

      However you became good at what you do, whether it be through school or the internet, it should have nothing to do with your compensation.

      0 points
  • Brian FryerBrian Fryer, almost 2 years ago

    Austin, TX. UX Developer at a SaaS startup. Salary: $80,000 + options / Freelance: N/A.

    I'm employee #1 as a designer. I built/manage our WordPress site, design marketing collateral (e.g. flyers, tshirts, banner ads), wireframe design concepts for our web app, develop functional (static) HTML/CSS/JS prototypes for user testing, and work with a small team of engineers to implement the designs in production.

    0 points
  • ポール ウェッブポール ウェッブ, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    I am now considered a "Solutions Architect". My previous position was "UX Developer". I design and code pretty things for the web, currently of the IoT-style.

    • Boston, MA
    • Front-End Design/Development
    • $65k salary
    • Quarterly bonuses aren't in effect, but they will be soon. That's an extra $5k per quarter (per person) if the team reaches company milestones.

    Idk about freelance rate, I'm just now getting into it, coincidentally. I collaborated with a graphic designer on a project about a week ago and I expect my profit from that to only go up.

    0 points
  • Throw Away, almost 2 years ago
    • Location: Austin, TX
    • Title: Designer (only designer employed; in-house)
    • Workweek: 40-50hrs
    • Experience: 3 yr during high school, 2yr university w/o design degree, current student)
    • Employer: Late stage startup
    • Salary: $73k/annually
    0 points
  • Pedro DuartePedro Duarte, almost 2 years ago

    I remember there was a huge twitter trend about this! Which, btw, I contributed to :)

    0 points
  • Hyungtak JunHyungtak Jun, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    Location: Melbourne, Title: Digital Designer, Salary: $80k

    0 points
  • Josué Gutiérrez Valenciano, almost 2 years ago

    Well, I live in Costa Rica, one of the most expensive countries in Latinamerica. Earning $1200 per month here and excluding social security and taxes only can get you $1000 per month. $12.000 per year. Really bad compared to others here. 25 years old, I can live alone but choose not to. Advertising Designer with a Bachelor Degree.

    0 points
  • Danny Zabolotny, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )
    • Location: Phoenix, AZ
    • Title: Frontend Web Developer
    • Salary: $42k per year + benefits

    I'm self taught and I have about two years of agency experience, so I'm sure the pay will go up in time. I'm quite happy with where I am at this point– I love my job and my coworkers are great. My salary goes pretty far because the cost of living here in Phoenix is so low, and I don't have any college loans to pay off.

    I don't understand the whole stigma around revealing salaries, it's not some scary secret. If somebody is going to be bitter about how much somebody else makes, that's their problem.

    0 points
  • Russell Heimlich, almost 2 years ago

    Fullstack WordPress developer. For freelance I charge between $60 - $125/hour. Live in Washington, DC area. Currently in between fulltime jobs and looking for my next gig.

    http://linkedin.com/in/kingkool68

    0 points
  • Robby TorresRobby Torres, almost 2 years ago

    I got depressed reading this thread. :-(

    0 points
  • wang douglaswang douglas, almost 2 years ago

    location: Shanghai China

    Title: Senior Product Designer

    Employer: More than 1000

    Salary: $2.6k/Month with 2 yrs experience

    Attached URL for looking new job: http://wldouglas.com

    0 points
  • Jon HollambyJon Hollamby, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    Location: Sydney, Australia

    Title: Creative Manager/Head of Creative

    Employer: In-house

    Salary: $100,000AUD+super/year

    I manage a team that works cross functionally across the business, taking care of Product Design, Brand, Advertising/Marketing, Sales support and anything else that requires creative.

    0 points
  • Ayana P., over 1 year ago (edited over 1 year ago )

    Loc: Philippines

    Job Title: UI/UX Designer (Though recently I mostly work UI-related projects)

    Salary $33k/year

    My salary is x5 bigger than normal ones here on our country but I work remotely for a US based company.., but after reading all the comments here, I feel I am underpaid. lol. Hey USA, I'm coming for you next year!!

    0 points
  • UX Consultant (NYC), over 1 year ago (edited over 1 year ago )

    Location: New York City Title: Senior UX Consultant Salary: $115-125 hr freelance (can vary by project/client) Experience: 8+ years of visual design and user experience design Workweek: 40-60hrs Typical Clients: Ad agencies, start-ups

    *UX skills are in VERY high demand in NYC currently and companies are willing to pay for solid talent.

    0 points
  • Theus FalcãoTheus Falcão, almost 2 years ago (edited almost 2 years ago )

    Location: Aracaju, SE, Brazil. Title: Front-End Developer (Internship). Salary: 1,7k/year

    I work 4 hours by day and I do updates in various sites, fix some bugs, layouts slice and, sometimes, create hot sites and new layouts.

    0 points
  • Art VandelayArt Vandelay, almost 2 years ago

    Location: NYC Title: Associate Web Dev (front end) Employer: Agency Salary: 65k

    0 points