In creative fields like graphic design, people have many wonderful opportunities to create stunning visuals and communicate powerful messages. Yet, in any career, it’s essential for professionals to know how much their employers should be paying them to attain fair compensation.
Understanding this information is especially crucial in artistic professions, as many designers and creatives are underpaid. Typically, this is because designers don’t realize how valuable they are — and think it’s only fair to start earning a high salary once their work ethic has been proven.
However, once they realize what graphic designers can earn in their area, they can move forward and negotiate higher salaries. Here’s what a graphic designer’s salary in Illinois looks like and how they can maximize their earning potential.
Average Graphic Designer Salary in Illinois
According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average graphic designer’s salary in Illinois is $57,550 annually. This salary is much higher than the national average of $50,710 yearly. However, salaries can vary depending on certain factors such as location, industry and experience level.
In Illinois, graphic designers in the technology industry can expect to earn $59,067 annually. On the other hand, those working in the retail sector have the lowest average salary of $50,927.
It’s worth noting that entry-level graphic designers in Illinois may earn less than the statewide average, while those with more experience and skills may earn more. Additionally, freelance or self-employed graphic designers may have different earning potential than those working in traditional office settings.
Overall, the average graphic designer salary in Illinois is competitive with other states but offers room for advancement in the industry.
Cost of Living in Illinois
Understanding the cost of living in Illinois is crucial when evaluating graphic designers’ salaries, especially when considering moving there. In Illinois, living costs are generally lower than in many other states, particularly in the Midwest. Though, certain areas like Chicago can have higher living costs compared to other parts of the state.
Housing costs in Illinois are lower than the national average. The median home prices are $228,698 in this state. Though, housing prices can vary greatly depending on the location within the state.
Nevertheless, other expenses like utilities, transportation and groceries align with national averages. Yet, one thing to remember is that taxes in Illinois can be higher than in other states, specifically property taxes.
Overall, the cost of living in Illinois is reasonable if a graphic designer decides to live outside major cities.
Top-Paying Cities for Graphic Designers in Illinois
Location plays a significant role in graphic designers’ salaries. Therefore, certain cities within Illinois offer higher wages compared to others. Here are the top-paying cities for graphic designers in Illinois, according to Salary.com’s data:
- Chicago: As the largest city in the state, it’s no surprise that Chicago offers the highest salaries for graphic designers. The average salary for graphic designers in Chicago is $60,988, which is slightly higher than the statewide average.
- Springfield: The capital city of Illinois offers an average salary of $54,709 per year for graphic designers. The cost of living in Springfield is also relatively low compared to other major cities in the state.
- Champaign: Located in central Illinois, Champaign offers an average salary of $54,831. Champaign is a college town and is also home to several technology companies, which can contribute to higher wages in the area.
- Bloomington: Another centrally located city in Illinois, the average salary for graphic designers is $55,230. Bloomington has several large businesses, including State Farm Insurance and Country Financial, which can lead to higher earnings.
- Peoria: Near the heart of Illinois is Peoria, where graphic designers can expect to earn nearly $55,843. Peoria is a hub for several large employers, including Caterpillar Inc., which can give designers a good place to make more.
- Decatur: Another top-paying city, graphic designers may have the opportunity to earn $54,415. Decatur is a manufacturing hub, which could be a great industry for graphic designers to achieve higher salaries.
These cities offer competitive salaries for graphic designers and can be great options for those looking to work in Illinois.
Job Outlook for Graphic Designers in Illinois
According to Projections Central, the job outlook for graphic designers in Illinois is expected to increase by 3.1% over the next decade. The data also shows there are 12,050 graphic designers employed in Illinois.
Digital media is in high demand in Illinois. Therefore, many employers require graphic designers skilled in creating digital designs, animations and website layouts. The strongest job prospects for graphic designers should also be proficient in using design software and have experience working in various mediums.
As businesses continue to expand their online presence, graphic designers specializing in creating digital content — such as social media graphics and mobile app designs — will be in high demand. Additionally, with the rise of e-commerce, graphic designers who can create visually appealing product designs and packaging will also be sought after.
While the job market is tight overall, those with strong technical skills and diverse portfolios will be the best candidates.
Benefits and Perks Offered to Graphic Designers in Illinois
Illinois is one of the most populous states in the country. With its diverse economy, graphic designers can find many opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing and services. The state is also a leading producer of corn and soybeans and is home to many Fortune 500 companies in health care, finance and transportation.
Chicago, in particular, is a major center for business, finance, technology and transportation and many world-renowned institutions, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Illinois is known for its rich history and culture, and graphic designers can expect to work for top employers like ActiveCampaign, Grubhub and Sprout Social. Some benefits graphic designers can expect from companies like these are flexible working arrangements, such as remote work options and flexible hours.
Additionally, these companies offer other unique benefits like office events and outings, professional development and extended paid leave. Many companies also offer great perks, such as on-site fitness centers, pet-friendly offices and paid commutes.
With benefits and perks like these, graphic designers can expect to work in a positive environment with companies that foster a strong sense of community.
Tips for Maximizing Graphic Designer Salary in Illinois
Graphic designers can earn a decent salary when living in Illinois. However, there’s always room for growth and the potential to make more. Consider these top tips below for salary maximization:
- Continue learning: Keep a watchful eye on the changing design trends and principles to give employers and clients what they want. Graphic designers should be aware of the latest techniques by taking online courses, attending workshops and reading design blogs to stay relevant.
- Build a strong portfolio: A strong, diverse portfolio should also be on hand. In the interview stage, a portfolio is what sets candidates apart, but the key is to hone in on a defined style with personal interest.
- Get Certified: Certifications can impact a graphic designer’s salary in Illinois. With the job market being competitive, it’s essential for graphic designers to attain certificates that show off the various skills one can achieve.
- Negotiate your rates: Be bold and negotiate your rates with clients and employers. Research industry standards for your experience level and use the information to attain a fair rate.
By following these tips, graphic designers can increase their value and earn a higher salary.
Earn the Best Graphic Designer Salary in Illinois
Remember, a graphic designer’s salary in Illinois varies on experience, skills, education and location. While the average pay may be lower than in some other states, several industry growth opportunities remain. By improving skills and staying up-to-date with trends, graphic designers can position themselves for higher salaries and greater success.
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