If you live in or are thinking of moving, you might wonder what is a good graphic designer salary in Indiana. Right in the center of the country, Indiana stretches from the Ohio River in the south to Lake Michigan in the north. It’s bordered by Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio. The state is quite unique in its terrains. From sandy dunes and beaches on Lake Michigan to flat plains in the center to rolling hills and limestone caves in the southern part of the state.
The midwestern cost of living and lower housing prices mean a graphic designer salary in Indiana may be less than in a coastal big city such as New York or Los Angeles. However, you also won’t need as much money to achieve a higher standard of living.
How Much Is a Graphic Designer Salary in Indiana?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates around $50,710 per year as a median graphic designer salary in the United States. The bottom 10% of earners made around $31,310. Lower salaries are often entry-level wages. Graphic designers with specialized experience work their way up quickly into a median salary or above.
The capital of the state is Indianapolis. The average graphic designer salary in Indianapolis is $58,647 per year, or around $21.74 per hour. While salaries are likely highest in the biggest city in the state, there are many other cities with a population that warrants similar wages, such as Bloomington, Columbus and Evansville.
Average Cost of Living in Indiana
You’ll earn a living wage in the state just by making the average graphic designer salary in Indiana. The cost of living in Indiana, as most midwestern states, is reasonable. The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates a cost of $38,097 per year to live in Indiana. It’s the 11th lowest cost of living location in the country.
Housing costs are extremely reasonable when compared with some other locations. However, costs can vary greatly, depending on which part of the state. For example, if you live in the north in what is considered Greater Chicago, you’ll pay nearly double for the same house you can buy in rural Indiana.
Gasoline costs can also vary widely between locations. Additional taxes in some areas close to other states might impact the overall fuel rates. A graphic designer salary in Indiana isn’t equal in every location.
How Much Is a Graphic Designer Salary in Indiana–Greater Chicago?
The Greater Chicago area offers many opportunities for positions as a graphic designer. You can easily hop on the train or drive into the city for work. However, you will pay a bit more in commuting costs.
Munster, Indiana is about a 40-minute commute, depending on traffic and weather. East Chicago is also a city in Lake County that is very close to the city Billy Sunday couldn’t shut down. Unfortunately, the wages in Munster are around 13% below the national average at only $19.25 per hour.
The rate gets slightly better in East Chicago, Indiana, going up to $20.40 per hour, putting the area around 7% behind national averages. However, where you can really start to see some shifts in your favor is by getting a job in Chicago and commuting in. Many jobs allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time. You can live in Indiana and commute to Chicago for meetings and other important in-office tasks. You’ll make around $23.92 per hour in Chicago, or about 9% over the national average.
Consider the higher cost of living in the northernmost part of the state and factor in whether the added costs are worth the slightly higher wages. You may find it’s better to live in a small town and make a bit less due to the money you’ll save on groceries, housing and everyday costs.
How Much Is Graphic Designer Salary in Columbus, Indiana?
By contrast, Columbus, Indiana is just south of Indianapolis by about an hour. It’s still in the central part of the state. Not far from Bloomington, which is home to the big college campus of Indiana University. A graphic designer salary in Indiana in Columbus is going to look different than what it does in the far north of the state.
The base salary is around $20.58 per hour in Columbus. This is around 7% below the national average. However, keep in mind that many students will pick up low-paying summer internships and entry-level positions to gain experience before launching successful graphic designer careers.
The cost of living in Columbus is less than the Greater Chicago area. You could also move to one of the nearby towns, such as Seymour to further reduce your housing costs. You are competing against fresh-out-of-college graduates in this area, so if you want less competition you may want to consider another town without an art school.
Should You Move to Indiana?
Indiana has a lot to offer to the person thinking about moving there. If you love gently rolling hills, you’ll feel at home in the southern tip of the state. If you enjoy vast acres of cornfields, the areas surrounding Indianapolis are for you. Want a Great Lakes beach town? Head for Porter, Indiana and the Dunes National Park.
Indiana is filled with small towns and limestone courthouses with pretty little squares. In the state, you’ll find beautiful state parks that stretch on for miles, such as Brown County, Clark State Forest, Clifty Falls or Turkey Run.
You can spend hours exploring the natural caves formed in the southern part of the state, including Bluespring Caverns in Bedford, where you can take a boat ride through the enormous cave system.
Will a graphic designer salary in Indiana make it worth moving there or choosing to stay in Indiana over relocating to another location? Here are some pros and cons to help you decide:
- Friendly southern-like hospitality
- Plenty of rural areas for those who like space
- Excellent connectivity in big cities
- Close to Chicago, Louisville and Lake Michigan
- Lower cost of living than some coastal regions
- Lower pay than some states
- Less opportunity for advancement
- Cold and unpredictable weather part of the year
- Poor connectivity in some rural areas
- Long distances between locations, creating the need for a vehicle and the expenses included
A graphic designer salary in Indiana and the cost of living are comparable to what you’d see in areas such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky. For example, the average graphic designer salary in Pennsylvania is about $63,473 per year for someone with experience.
How to Increase Opportunities for Graphic Designer Salary in Indiana
You can increase your earning potential anywhere you live if you specialize in graphic design skills that pay more. For example, product designers make nearly $120,000 per year, while digital designers earn $90k and up.
Keep learning no matter what job you’re in or where you’re located. The more specialized skills you have, the more money you can demand. Look for ways to ramp up earning potential by adding supportive areas in web and app development and tapping into leadership opportunities.
Living and working in Indiana can be rewarding. The state is a good place to start your career or raise a family. Look at what’s available in various areas and visit to see if the position and location are right for you.
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About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.