To say that the design industry is one of the best fields to have a career in is an understatement. This type of industry is where technology and creativity meet and where innovation prospers. We can see design everywhere- from the apps we use, the tables we work on, the clothes we wear, or the vehicles we drive!
But that’s not all. The design field is very competitive, with business competitors outperforming each other. This is the main reason why skilled designers are always sought after increasingly. Because design is a very broad umbrella, there are different routes you can take.
20 Highest-Paying Design Jobs
Design is undeniably one of the most fast-moving, challenging, and visionary fields to work in. Plus, this career path is financially rewarding, too. Here are 20 of the highest-paying design jobs within the design industry.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, on-the-job training, and relevant work experience; completion of relevant certificate programs is preferred.
Annual Average Salary: $116,207
UX designers are in constant high demand. 87% of hiring managers say their number-one priority in a recruitment process is to hire these professionals. User experience designers are the ones responsible for improving customer satisfaction. They play very critical roles in a business brand– doing extensive research into the needs of customers and using these findings to create smart design decisions. Whether the product is a website, a tangible device, or a mobile app in mobile devices, UX designers need to make sure that it is user-friendly.
A job in UX design usually incorporates various elements of visual design, visual concepts, interaction design, user research, and information architecture, which is why one has to be equipped with a very diverse skill set to be successful in the field. On a regular day, a digital designer creates prototypes, sketches wireframes, devises user personas, or conducts usability tests. In general, the jobs of UX designers involve anything that affects how users feel when they engage with a product.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in industrial design, product design, or engineering.
Annual Average Salary: $113,776
Any object we encounter every single day is the work of a product designer- from tables to staplers to pens and electronics. Just like UX designers, product designers focus on the functionality and aesthetics of a product. These professionals are usually associated with the tactile/visual aspects of a product.
Product designers are also the ones who conduct intensive user research before their sketch their ideas and blueprint them using CAD (computer-aided design) software. They play an important role in companies, especially during the key stages of product development. As the product grows and adds more functionality and features, product designers ensure that the user experience remains intuitive. Once the product matures, they help refine the product to make it more efficient.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in either fine arts, graphic design, or computer science; relevant training and certifications
Annual Average Salary: $104,057
UI designers are just as in-demand as their UX friends. In fact, user interface design is a critical subset of UX, although one should know that these two have separate roles.
UI design is the process a UI designer uses to build interfaces in computerized devices or software, focusing more on style and looks. The ultimate aim of UI designers is simple: to create interfaces that are pleasurable and useful. These designers focus on the visual experience of users, identifying how they consort with the product interface.
A UI designer offers a lot, with tasks ranging from establishing style guides to making creations, selecting the typeface and colors, to prototyping and testing. Professionals involved in UI typically work on apps, software, video games, websites… practically everything with an interface.
Video Game Designers
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering, Bachelor’s in Game Design, or Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science
Annual Average Salary Range: $90,270
For the gaming addicts blessed with a creative flair, good news! Video game design is one of the highest-paying design jobs today. With an annual average salary of $90,270, video game design comes with an interesting and varied workload.
Video game designers are programmers, visual artists, and storytellers rolled into one. They are the ones that draw up video game concepts based on their target audience, then bring these concepts to life. This involves creating characters and plots, developing a user interface, and putting scripts that lead to interactive gameplay elements.
A video game designer can also specialize for specific platforms, especially now that gamers play on external consoles, desktop computers, or mobile applications.
Multimedia Art and Animation
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Graphics, Bachelor’s Degree in Animation, Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, or any related field.
Average Annual Salary: $69,876
The multimedia art and animation are varied fields with a lot of possible career paths. Multimedia artists and animators are the ones responsible for making those astonishing visual effects we see in video games and on TV in movies. You can even work on being a creative director for storyboards and computer graphics or designing drawings and 3D characters and figures.
One can make its way into the multimedia field by getting a degree in computer graphics or 3D animation, although experts say there are no hard-and-fast requirements. It’s also important for would-be multimedia artists and motion designers to be comfortable using computer animation software, doing project research, and showing their ideas to company/organization stakeholders.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Web Design and Development; Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Programming, Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science
Annual Average Salary:$48,423
Often called the graphic designers of the digital world, web designers are responsible for designing, planning, and building websites on various digital platforms, requiring a combination of both creative skills and technical skills coupled with an extensive understanding of visual design principles.
For a concept artist, the art generally lies in completely understanding the vision of the client, and from there, creating a visually stimulating and fully functional website. This covers a wide range of tasks, from creating the architecture of a site to selecting the layout, colors, graphics, and typography and even overseeing the written setup and copy of the domain name.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Set Design (or Scenic Design), Postsecondary Training in college-level math, arts, and design courses.
Annual Average Salary: $75,353
Exhibit designers are not as famous as most of the design field professions, but this is also one of the highest-paying graphic design jobs. Exhibit designers are the creative brains behind fixtures and displays we see at galleries, museums, trade shows, and conferences.
The exhibit designer is responsible for an exhibit from start to finish. After talking with the client to set up a vision, the design teams will begin to sketch out ideas and make computer-generated models. These models are turned into prototypes and discussed thoroughly until a final design is established.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design; Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design; Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts
Average Annual Salary: $68,332
Furniture designers create and produce designs for different kinds of furniture pieces. They develop concepts for building furnishings like tables, chairs, and couches. A senior designer in this field usually works for big brands, but most of these creative designers work for the mass production of furniture.
There are two types of furniture designers: commercial furniture designers and independent furniture designers. Commercial furniture designers make designs based on the goals and target market of a company. Independent furniture designers, on the other hand, work commission-based and do creative projects without having to depend on clients.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree in an art or design subject, plus previous work experience.
Average Annual Salary: $140,166
Art directors manage a team of designers who work on creative projects and design elements for images and visual design in the fields of television and film, marketing, publishing, web design, product packaging, and many more. These art professionals meet with clients to discuss their creative vision and brand target and objectives.
They also collaborate with other designers in the art department in making creative visual elements, researching market trends and consumer needs, establishing timelines and budgets, and tracking campaign performance.
Interior Design Project Managers
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design; Bachelor’s Design in Architecture or equivalent
Average Annual Salary: $69,081
Interior design project managers oversee an interior design project from start to finish. They plan, budget, organize, and execute a project. Ultimately, their goal is to guarantee the welfare and safety of clients who will use the space they are working on. They are also the ones making decisions and delegating tasks to interior designers and other designers on the design team, and discussing with clients about the design process, visual style, area, and other preferences of interior spaces.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design, Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture, or Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering
Annual Average Salary: $77,030
Industrial designers work with other designers and professionals in creating and manufacturing industrial products like toys, cars, home appliances, sports equipment, supplies, and materials. They make helpful everyday products by combining art, engineering, and business.
An industrial designer usually holds regular meetings with a design team composed of a design manager, engineers, concept artists, and other designers to help them create sketches, execute plans, and assess the decision-making process.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising, or Bachelor’s Degree in Communications
Annual Average Salary: $142,540
Creative directors plan, manage, and oversee the creative process of projects. They are considered the brains behind marketing teams and advertising agencies, responsible for guiding creative teams, including designers, directors, and copywriters. Although it depends on the goal of a company, the roles of creative directors may change.
Creative directors not only create products out of their creative ideas, but they also oversee client proposals and pitches, meet with upper management and clients, review works, and give feedback to the team. This is why just like a design manager, these creative directors must have ample experience in the field spanning from five to eight years. They should also have project-management and problem-solving skills.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering; Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture; Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics; or Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design
Average Annual Salary: $107,561
Design managers organize all the needed design work in a team. They manage a team’s graphics, design, and draft departments. These graphic design jobs also entail developing design strategies, checking on technical resources, overseeing quality checking is observed, coordinating with other senior designers and various parties of design, and escalating potential problems to the upper management.
A design manager leads numerous design-related tasks, including the development of digital products, web design, advertising, or general creative roles. This front-end web developer can be employed for a design job in graphic design firms, in construction, in manufacturing films, or the entertainment industry.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture, Drafting, or Design; Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design
Annual Average Salary: $89,683
Architects design the overall appearance of buildings, houses, and other structures. They design commercial and residential buildings, together with the spaces around them. These professionals plan, design, execute, and oversee the construction. Part of their job also includes restoring or redesigning existing or old buildings to give way for new facilities.
As an architectural designer, part of your job is to keep up to date with the latest developments in the field. They also produce blueprints, develop ideas out of the specifications of the client, coordinate with contractors, ensure timelines and budgets are met, attend meetings with other professionals involved in the project, and do site visits.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design; Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising Design; Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts; Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing
Annual Average Salary: $52,096
Advertising design is one of the many high-paying design jobs that are perfect for those who have a knack for advertising and want to land a good design career. It is the voice of a brand. It is what people see through multimedia, interactive, or traditional media. It is everything from print to television advertising and mobile apps that people interact with on a daily basis.
Advertising designers come up with ideas for advertisements by creating eye-catching designs through visual concepts composed of drawings, shapes, photographs, and computer-generated objects. Some design team members might also produce up-to-date concepts; thus, interaction and coordination are crucial to this job. Just like a design technologist, this design job works to sell a product or service.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Design; must have a firm grasp of Adobe Creative Cloud (Adobe XD, Photoshop, Illustrator)
Annual Average Salary: $91,250
Visual designers are dubbed as the problem solvers of the design world. Instead of just bringing brands to life, a visual designer has a crucial role in defining what goes into a brand’s style and voice. Aside from creating aesthetic designs, these professionals are also very knowledgeable in explaining the design concepts behind their work.
When you do a job search, the term “visual design” is a relatively new one. However, this web design career implies a role involving everything from owning a visual brand to making individual designs in a more comprehensive way. Although visual designers seldom work on print products, they still need a solid understanding of identity design, branding, and graphic design.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts; Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Merchandising or Fashion Design
Annual Average Salary: $104,357
Fashion designers have a very sharp sense of balance and proportion, aesthetics, and a knack for color and detail. These professionals create and assist in the production of shoes, clothing ranges, and accessories. Some work as generalists, while others opt to specialize in specific areas like sportswear, women’s wear, high-street fashion, haute couture, men’s wear, and many more. They decide on the style, color, fabric, size, and trims to work on.
Education: Bachelor of Film and Screen Production, Bachelor of Film and Video, Bachelor of Fine Arts
Annual Average Salary: 56,648
Video producers are the ones in charge of getting things done in a video production or film. They need to have creative vision and abilities coupled with solid entrepreneurial skills. They work on a project from start to finish, starting with choosing the artistic elements for multimedia content to hiring actors, stylists, videographers, editors, and other team members of a production team.
After video producers organize the staff, they delegate dedicated tasks to each of them. They also need to ensure that the project remains on budget, expenses are actualized, location and business permits are secured, and video shoots remain on schedule. Some even design graphics or write scripts. To become successful as a video producer, one must have a long-term experience in the field.
Graphic Design Manager
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Art; Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design
Annual Average Salary: $117,071
A graphic design manager oversees the design and production of visual materials and graphic art for digital and print media. These professionals ensure that the design and layout are both alight with the production standard of a brand and that it follows the best practices.
These senior-level employees manage the development of concepts, designs, and layouts, and they need to present these projects to upper management and stakeholders for approval and support. Graphic design managers also delegate tasks to graphic designers, art designers, production designers, as well as other professionals required in the execution of a project.
Just like most managers, graphic design managers also meet with an art director and other clients to know and prepare their project preferences.
Motion Graphic Designers
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design, Animation, and Photography
Annual Average Salary: $78,275
Graphic designers develop various designs through visuals, while motion graphic designers do this with movement. Animators provide concepts through storylines, while motion designers give like to elements and ideas that don’t have one.
Motion graphic designers create stunning designs for a wide array of media, including television, the web, electronic devices, and smartphones. They also work with producers, editors, and other designers to work on projects or solve technical issues.