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HOW MUCH? - Graphic design salary in the UK?

Becoming a successful Freelance graphic designer is not an easy process. The main prerequisites are a passion for art and design as well as talent. It is useful to be competent in many different mediums and techniques and understand how designs complement each other. Most graphic designers have studied at university and the type and quality of degree you achieve can drastically affect the salary you can command. Beginning a career as a graphic designer without a degree is even more difficult, and will probably involve a lot of pro bono work to build up your portfolio. 


The starting graphic design salary UK can vary from £12k to £21k depending on the sector and region. It is easier to earn a larger graphic design salary uk in London and the surrounding areas than in the northern parts of the country. Many junior graphic designers in the South East can earn around £25k which will increase according to experience. Designers with a few years of work and a good portfolio may earn up to the industry average of £30k if not more. Design directors can earn over £50k. 

Many graphic designers do not work for one particular company, they freelance. This can provide a satisfying variety of projects and can help to hone a larger range of skills and knowledge than would usually be found by remaining with the same firm. Freelance graphic designers are responsible for setting their own rates and these can vary depending on the complexity and scope of the project. A freelance junior graphic designer can expect to charge roughly £100 per day, while a freelance design director can charge nearly £300 per day. Being a freelance however, means that you are responsible for paying tax and national insurance, unless you are working for a temp agency or a design agency, in which case they will usually calculate and deduct these for you.


Freelance graphic designers often take on small ad-hoc projects for firms which do not require a lot of design work but may wish to create a new brand or marketing theme. Such projects are usually sourced through a design agency. These projects may only take a few days to complete or may require months of planning and complex design work. Industry prices vary but a graphic design agency working on a corporate branding project can usually charge out at over one hundred pounds per hour. This does include various members of staff and is not just the designer's fee.


Freelance Graphic design is a rapidly becoming a very crowded sector, with the number of newly qualified graphic designers increasing year by year. Design is now one of the most popular career choices after finance and marketing. This may be due to the emergence of digital design, which is rapidly overtaking traditional design as the medium of choice. Digital design does not rely so completely on artistic talent, but more on using design software. 

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