Web designer salary: How much do web designers make?

The average yearly salary for a web designer in the US is around $54k, but there's more nuance to this salary.

The web designer career is a very exciting one. The Internet has become an essential part of people’s lives, especially in the last decade.

There is a world of possibilities for talented professionals in this industry. Especially for those dedicated to web design and development.

Nowadays, every business needs a website. From a small-town shop to a global corporation.

This creates a demand for web designers and developers. Business owners need a functioning site, not just for online presence but as a pivotal part of their marketing strategy, to help them reach their goals.

However, a web designer faces many challenges. While the market provides many possibilities, it is not as regulated as other fields such as law or medicine, making the web design job market somewhat volatile.

The following questions arise: How much do web designers make? Is it possible to make a living working as a web designer?

What salary can someone expect to earn? The answers to these questions depend on many factors.

When estimating a web design compensation, it is important to consider the designer’s experience level and where they work. The average web designer pay also varies whether someone is working as a freelancer, possibly setting their own freelance web designer rates, or as an in-house web designer for an agency.

This article presents a useful web designer salary guide.

First, an analysis of the average salary for web design services. Second, a review of the factors that may increase or decrease the average salary, such as location-based web designer salary differences, web design industry trends, and the impact of web design certifications.

How much do web designers make?

Average salaries

A web designer’s salary varies according to the following factors:

  • location
  • responsibilities
  • experience
  • skills
  • specialization

Some professional designers specialize in UX/UI design, while others focus on the more technical aspects of web development. The niche that the designer chooses not only determines their duties and responsibilities but also influences their web design compensation.

Thanks to a variety of online tools, it is possible to find out how much web designers earn. The numbers vary according to the source, reflecting the web design pay scale diversity.

Average web designer salary in the United States:

Glassdoor: $83k/year average salary, ranging from $63k to $109k.

Payscale: $55k/year average salary, ranging from $35k to $84k.

Indeed.com: $50k/year average salary for entry-level web designers.

Considering this data, the average yearly salary for a web designer in the US is around $54k.

These statistics include designers with no programming skills who can manage HTML, JavaScript, and CSS for front-end design. They also encompass designers that don’t have a specific area of expertise, unlike those who may command higher salaries due to a focus on web design industry trends or web design certifications.

Web designer salary based on experience level

Experience is a key factor in establishing a designer’s salary. By displaying their work in a portfolio, designers can attract more clients and showcase their web design experience level.

Experienced web designers get better payments and also make better use of their time. They’ve honed their skills, understand web design industry trends, and know how to approach certain issues efficiently.

They have the necessary resources and know exactly how much time it takes to fulfill a task, which is crucial in managing freelance web designer rates if they’re not working in-house.

Web designer experience breaks down into three levels: entry-level, junior, and senior designers.

Entry-level web designers

Designers with no previous experience fall into this category. This is a great opportunity to gain experience, learn from more advanced designers, and understand how the market works.

Usually, entry-level designers know how to structure a website. But they might not yet be adept at implementing advanced web design services.

At this stage, they are still enhancing their web development abilities.

Entry-level designers earn less than the average base salary. They receive an income of approximately 34k per year, which is below the average web designer pay.

Junior web designers

As in other similar professions, junior designers form the largest group. This is because it doesn’t take long for entry-level designers to advance their web design career outlook to become junior professionals.

On the contrary, it takes years and a significant increase in web design experience level for a junior designer to become a senior.

Junior designers’ abilities vary considerably, hence it becomes difficult to estimate their salary. In general, a junior designer’s salary amounts to $44k per year.

They earn less than the average salary for web design services, reflecting their intermediate position in the web design pay scale.

Senior web designers

These are usually professionals that have worked in the same company for a long time. Although this is not a mandatory rule.

They have more responsibilities and usually take charge of the most challenging tasks.

These designers can be responsible for creating an impressive banner or a landing page. Or they may work on other tasks that require a high level of expertise.

Moreover, they are usually responsible for training junior and entry-level designers.

Professionals working in senior positions have many duties and responsibilities. They thus earn a higher salary.

They earn more than the average: $92,874 a year.

Web design salaries: specialization

Web design can be divided into a variety of subfields. The designer’s specialization also influences the salary earned, often reflecting their web design industry trends knowledge and web design certifications.

Here is a list of the most common specialization areas in this industry:

UX researcher

UX researchers are adept at analyzing results and coding. They delve into understanding user behavior, research competitors, create prototypes, and strategize the site’s development, which is crucial in web design services.

These specialists are instrumental in enhancing the site to achieve long-term results. Their average yearly salary is $84,327, indicating their high value in the web design job market.

UX and UI designers

The UX designers are primarily focused on user experience, a key aspect of web design compensation. They craft responsive user interfaces and analyze user behavior to ensure the site meets its intended goals.

They are also tasked with wireframing, prototyping, and coding, skills that are specifically oriented to the projects they handle.

Acquiring this type of expertise requires time and training, which is why UX designers command some of the highest salaries in the field.

The national average salary is $101,455 a year, reflecting their critical role in web design services and their impact on the user experience.

Interaction designer

These professionals are similar to UX and UI designers but with a stronger focus on innovation and creativity.

An interaction designer’s main task is to improve communication with users, often through creating innovative services and products.

Their average yearly salary is approximately $79,223, showcasing the value of their specialized skills in the web design pay scale.

Web designer

Web designers per se are the ones in charge of the website’s appearance. They need to be skillful in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

Web designers implement the rest of the team’s ideas into the platform used by the customers.

Their salary amounts to $65,159 a year.

Web design salaries: geography

Source: Salary.com

Metropolises such as New York or Silicon Valley, known for their high cost of living, usually attract more tech companies. Thus, it is easier for web designers to find a job with a competitive web designer salary in these cities.

However, remote work is gaining popularity, which can influence the location-based web designer salary. This means that one could be working at a big company without living nearby.

Thus, it is possible to enjoy the advantages of both worlds. Designers can work with their dream company while living in a quiet place, potentially earning a senior web designer income without the metropolitan price tag.

It is easier to find higher salaries in big cities than in small towns. Yet the cost of living is also higher, which can affect the overall web design compensation.

Some of the best places for website designers to develop a career are San Francisco and Seattle. Other excellent, less-known tech hubs include Atlanta, Dallas, and Minneapolis, reflecting the diverse web design job market.

The following is an average of the yearly salary variations from the East to the West Coast, showing the web designer pay scale fluctuations:

The web designer job description

When discussing the average web designer salary, it is important to establish what this entails.

Many think that they know the tasks and responsibilities of a web designer. But they don’t quite grasp the full scope of this profession, which can include UX/UI design and front-end development.

With different responsibilities and tasks come different salaries, reflecting the web design pay scale.

It is worth noting that there is a difference between web designers and web developers. Many employers don’t understand this, which can lead to confusion and misunderstanding, especially when it comes to web design compensation.

Website designers should check the job description and skill requirements before applying for a position, ensuring it matches their web design services expertise.

Web designers create a site’s layout. They choose the color palette and font settings and establish visual themes, all part of the web design career outlook.

These features are then implemented by a web developer, who may have a different web design pay scale.

A web designer’s job is to inspire customers or followers of a website, a crucial aspect of the web design industry trends.

What skills do web designers need?

When estimating an average salary, consider the designer’s competence. What skills does a web designer need to make a living?

There is no simple answer to this question. The web design market is always growing and changing, influenced by web design industry trends.

Therefore, there are different paths to become a successful expert in this field.

Some start as general designers, then later specialize in web design and user experience, becoming adept in UX/UI design.

Others move into management positions where they run designer teams. In this case, they need team management, recruiting, and leadership skills, which can lead to a higher web design compensation.

Designers and developers work hand in hand to design websites. For this reason, many web designers choose to become developers or at least study the field, enhancing their web development abilities.

It is very helpful for designers to have coding experience. Some designers form partnerships with developers to offer customers comprehensive services, which can increase their freelance web designer rates.

Website designer basic skills

Education

Employers usually hire web designers based on their experience and not their degrees, looking at their web design services portfolio and abilities rather than just their educational background.

It also helps to have a college education. Designers should have at least an associate’s degree in design or computer technology, which can impact the web designer pay scale.

The most traditional path is to acquire a Computer Science degree. Students get a clear understanding of applicable systems, coding, and programming languages, which are essential skills in the web design job market.

It also provides a solid background in theory, application, and career management. But a college degree is not the only way to become a professional web designer, as the web design career outlook often values practical experience and a robust portfolio.

HTML/CSS

These programming languages are the bread and butter for customizing the site’s appearance. A strong background in HTML and CSS is crucial for any web designer looking to effectively structure a website and is a fundamental part of the web development abilities that can impact web design compensation.

UX Design

In the highly competitive website market, the “user experience” has become a vital success factor, making UX design skills highly sought after in the web design job market.

UX designers leverage color psychology and type hierarchy, along with design elements such as grid systems, to craft websites that not only look good but feel intuitive to use. This expertise is a key part of what can increase a web designer’s pay scale.

JavaScript

Proficiency in JavaScript is essential for web designers who want to create interactive websites. This programming language adds a layer of functionality that can transform a static site into a dynamic and engaging user experience, often leading to better web design services and higher freelance web designer rates.

Time management

Effective time management is a non-negotiable skill, particularly in the field of web design where project timelines can be tight.

Good time management allows for better scheduling and deadline setting, which is pivotal in maximizing web design compensation and ensuring a designer can balance multiple projects or clients.

Communication

Clear communication is the cornerstone of successful web design projects. It’s essential for web designers to articulate their ideas to employers, collaborate with coworkers, and guide subordinates.

Establishing clear instructions and setting realistic goals are part of the soft skills that contribute to a web designer’s professional reputation and can influence the average web designer’s pay.

The ability to create an impressive portfolio

A portfolio is the best and most direct way for a designer to showcase their web design services expertise. A robust portfolio can often trump other qualifications when it comes to landing a job.

It’s beneficial if it reflects the tangible value of someone’s work.

The average web design compensation is estimated based on these factors, with education, whether formal or informal, being a significant one. There are affordable web design certifications and courses available. Additionally, prospective designers can pursue formal education at community colleges, which can influence the web designer pay scale.

It’s also feasible to learn on the job, gaining web development abilities through practical experience. In any case, it is vital to constantly learn new skills to remain competitive in the web design job market.

Web designers operate in a very competitive and ever-evolving market. Acquiring expertise not only increases the chances of being hired but also can lead to a higher average web designer pay.

A portfolio is the designer’s most crucial asset, reflecting their abilities and the value of their work, which is central to the web design career outlook.

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As noted, a web designer and a web developer are two distinct roles within the web design industry. While designers focus on the appearance and user experience, developers tackle more technical tasks like back-end processes.

Developers often command higher salaries due to the technical nature of their work, but passion and fit for the role should guide one’s career choice, not just the potential for a higher web developer salary.

Designers and developers have different tasks and responsibilities. It’s crucial to discern which role aligns better with one’s skills and interests.

There are various strategies a designer can employ to advance their career and increase revenue, whether by joining an agency or navigating the freelance web designer market.

Factors that can help designers boost their income include:

Certifications: Engaging in continued education and obtaining formal certifications can significantly enhance a designer’s credibility. This is particularly true for those backed by college degrees in web or graphic design, which can elevate one’s position on the web design pay scale.

Know the trends: Staying abreast of the latest tendencies in web design is crucial. This involves keeping up with industry news, following influential design blogs, and observing the innovations from leading companies, which can inform vital decisions and ensure designers offer cutting-edge web design services.

Develop soft skills: While not directly related to the technical aspects of web design, soft skills are invaluable for career progression. These encompass effective communication with colleagues and clients, presentation skills, and the ability to negotiate — all of which contribute to a positive reputation and can impact a designer’s average web designer pay.

Ultimately, the best way to increase one’s salary in the web design job market is to acquire and refine a diverse set of specific skills. Keeping up with the market’s latest trends is also essential.

The broader one’s skill set, the more expansive the job opportunities available, and the higher the likelihood of securing substantial projects that can lead to a lucrative web design compensation package.

FAQ on web designer salaries

What’s the average web designer pay?

Well, you’re looking at a range that swings based on experience and location, right? Fresh out of the gate, a newbie might pull in somewhere around $50,000 a year. But if you’ve been in the game for a while, that number can hit upwards of $80,000 or more. And hey, if you’re freelancing, it’s a whole different ballgame with rates that can vary wildly.

How does a freelance web designer set their rates?

Freelance web designers have this tricky task of balancing their skill level with market rates. Most start by calculating their expenses, the time needed for a project, and then they add a bit for profit. Some go by an hourly rate, others prefer a project-based fee. It’s a bit of a dance, and rates can range from $30 an hour to $100 or more for the pros.

Is there a difference in salary for web designers based on location?

Absolutely, location’s a huge factor. Designers in big tech cities like San Francisco or New York can command hefty salaries, think six figures even. But move away from the coasts, and the salary can dip, sometimes significantly. It’s all about the cost of living and the demand for designers in the area.

What kind of salary growth can web designers expect?

Starting out, the numbers might seem modest, but give it time. With a few years under your belt, you could see a pretty decent jump in your salary. It’s not just about time though; upgrading your skills, specializing in high-demand areas like UX/UI, and staying on top of industry trends can really boost that earning potential.

Do web designer salaries differ in agencies versus in-house positions?

They can, for sure. In-house positions often come with a bit more stability and benefits, which can be reflected in the salary. Agencies might offer a bit less in terms of salary but sometimes make up for it with bonuses or other perks. It’s a toss-up and really depends on where you land and what you’re looking for in a job.

What impact do education and certifications have on a web designer’s salary?

Education and certifications can be your ticket to a higher salary bracket. They’re like proof that you’ve got the skills and knowledge that employers are looking for. But remember, in the web design world, your portfolio and experience often speak louder than a diploma. So, while they do help, they’re part of a bigger picture that includes your hands-on experience.

How does experience level affect a web designer’s income?

Experience is money, literally. When you’re just starting, you might feel like you’re scraping by. But as you rack up those years, your salary should climb too. Senior designers or those with a specialized skill set can earn a pretty penny more than their junior counterparts. It’s all about the value you bring to the table.

What are the typical benefits and bonuses for web designers?

Besides the salary, web designers often get some sweet extras. We’re talking health insurance, retirement plans, sometimes even stock options if you’re with a startup. Bonuses can come into play too, especially if you’re killing it with your designs or bringing in new business. These perks can really add up and make a difference in your overall compensation package.

Can web designers earn more by specializing in certain areas?

Oh, for sure. If you’ve got a knack for UX/UI design or you’re a wizard with user experience, you can command a higher fee. Specializing means you can offer something extra, something not just anyone can do. Businesses are willing to pay top dollar for designers who can not only make things look good but also improve how customers interact with their products.

What’s the salary outlook for web designers in the next few years?

The future’s looking bright. With everything moving online, good web designers are in high demand. Expect salaries to reflect that, especially as you keep learning and staying ahead of the curve. Specialize, adapt, and you could be looking at a pretty comfortable income. Just remember, it’s a fast-paced field, and staying stagnant isn’t an option if you want to keep earning more.

Ending thoughts on web designer salaries

According to the factors described above, it is possible to make a living as a website designer. Moreover, it is possible to make huge profits out of this career.

The earnings of a web designer vary according to experience, specialization, region, and other factors. It is important to understand the market and know its niches.

Designers make higher profits specializing in UX and UI design.

Right now, the tech industry is thriving and there is a clear tendency towards a virtual world. In this context, the need for website and mobile app design is increasing.

This also increases competition and challenges become harder. New tools and gadgets are released every month.

Designers need to recognize the strongest tendencies. They should learn to use the new tools to remain competitive in the market.

To succeed as a designer, it is vital to consider the following:

  • Get proper education (traditional education or in-the-field training, preferably both)
  • Choose where to live (or a company that allows for remote work)
  • Choose a profitable specialization (the best-rewarded fields are UX and UI design)
  • Acquire coding knowledge (at least HTML, JavaScript, and CSS)
  • Manage time effectively
  • Take courses
  • Be aware of the market’s trends
  • Prepare an impressive portfolio
  • Work on communication skills

The website design market offers limitless possibilities for talented people. It enables them to make a career and succeed in the age of technology.

This article contains a guide to help website designers achieve their professional goals.

If you liked this article about how much web designers make, you should check out this article about unique website designs.

There are also similar articles discussing food website design, best nonprofit websites, WebGL examples, and how to start a web design business.

And let’s not forget about articles on how to get more web design clients, contact us pages, horizontal scrolling websites, and website headers.

Web designer salary: How much do web designers make?

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Moritz Prätorius

To construct is the essence of vision. Dispense with
construction and you dispense with vision. Everything you experience by sight is your construction.

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