Designers make good money

How much do designers earn?

It's nice that so many have complied with the request in such a short time and taken part in the small survey regarding the salaries of designers. 1,401 responses were recorded. So here's the result.

It will hardly come as a surprise to any designer that the figure published by Stern at the beginning of the year and determined by the Hamburg Institute Statista in terms of the salary of a designer is clearly not correct. In the 2010 Stern Salary Report, graphic artists and designers top the table with the highest salary increase (the data was recorded including 2008). According to this, the average gross earnings of a designer should be 4,690 euros. After the report, many people reported in the font blog who objected, including Johannes Erler from Factor Design who wrote a fairly detailed counter-speech and is of the opinion: graphic designers earn less than ever before! So let's look at the result of the dt survey.

Framework conditions of the survey

Designers and design interns from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and South Tyrol were invited to participate. In contrast to previous surveys carried out by third parties, this time the designers were interviewed directly, in an anonymised form. A distinction was made between designers WITH and WITHOUT professional experience. The respective gross earnings were asked. The income of self-employed designers is not recorded. This should be made up for at a later date. The form editor from GoogleDocs was used as an auxiliary program, in which all responses are recorded and also prepared visually. I determined the individual percentages (right side) myself afterwards.

Unfortunately, exact average values ​​cannot be determined due to the question. A distribution according to federal states, as some dt readers had wished, must also be disregarded in this survey. Nevertheless, the result shows that the average monthly salary of a designer is not sustainable, they are simply wrong.

The result


76 people - and thus the largest group within the interns - stated that they received an income of 300 - 400 euros. If you look at the numbers in the diagram, you can name an approximate average of 400 euros. The survey also shows that almost every fifth intern works without a fixed salary.

Permanent designer with less than 4 years of professional experience

Most permanent designers (58%) with less than 4 years of professional experience earn between 1,500 and 2,500 euros. 167 respondents - and thus the largest number of people within this group - put their salary at 2,000 - 2,500 euros. 44% of all “young designers” earn less than 2,000 euros. Very few designers (4%) manage to earn more than 3,500 euros in their first 4 years of work. A good average value in this group should be around 2,100 euros. A short survey by Prof. Robert Paulmann recently came to a similar result. It shows 25,580 euros as an average annual gross starting salary for graduates from design colleges, which corresponds to a monthly amount of 2,131 euros.

Permanent designer with more than 4 years of professional experience

According to the dt survey, the (simple) majority of permanent designers with more than 4 years of professional experience earn between 2,000 and 3,000 euros. Due to the fairly balanced distribution within the survey data, the average earnings here should be in the range of € 2,750. Looking at the diagram, it can also be said that only every seventhDesigner over a salary of has more than 4,000 euros a month. This is precisely how you can see how impractical the data collected by Statista is in relation to the salaries of designers.

Finally, if you calculate the mean value from the two average values ​​- once again the indication that the average values ​​are pi-times-the-thumb sums - the monthly average salary of a designer is 2,425 euros, whereby its informative value is of course questioned may and should.

The basis for this value is the information obtained in the survey. However, factors such as the degree of qualification, the length of employment, the quality of the work or, for example, how stressful the job is, are decisive for the actual salary. In addition, it is of course also decisive how the employer is positioned himself. Large and well-known agencies that are firmly in the saddle are able - at least in principle - to pay their designers higher salaries. In any case, the survey makes it clear that there is no clear mean, just a guideline that can be used as a guide. It is not surprising that this guideline hangs much lower than you could recently read in the Stern salary report and in WELT KOMPAKT.

Now the numbers in detail:

Note: GoogleDocs was used to determine the numbers.