Graphic Designer Salary in Iowa

Posted on April 12, 2023 | Updated on October 27, 2023

Graphic designers have a unique skill set in demand across various industries. Yet, when getting started in the field or looking to make a career move — it’s essential to have the salary information on hand to plan your next steps. If you’re located in Iowa, you’re most likely wondering how much a graphic designer makes in this state.

The good news is that Iowa has a thriving job market for graphic designers, with plenty of opportunities to make a higher salary. Get a breakdown of the average graphic designer’s salary in Iowa. The latest information helps make informed decisions about your career and salary expectations.

Average Graphic Designer Salary in Iowa

The average graphic designer’s salary in Iowa is an important factor in evaluating your career. That’s because it gives you the opportunity to achieve financial stability. Salary is one of the primary sources of income, and a good one ensures you can pay your bills, save for your future and support your lifestyle.

Another reason to know this information is because it’s relevant to how happy you are with your job. When you earn a salary that uses your skills and experience, your motivation increases. In turn, this reflects your work ethic, leading you to more opportunities and achieving your career goals.

With this in mind, the average salary for graphic designers in Iowa is $44,450 annually. While this salary expectation is slightly lower than the national average, the state offers designers a high quality of life. With the right skills and experience, you can still earn a competitive salary and enjoy a fulfilling career as a graphic designer in Iowa.

Salary Comparison With Other States

When considering a career as a graphic designer in Iowa, reviewing the average salary with other states may be helpful. According to research, the national average salary for graphic designers is $50,710 yearly. Even with the national average being higher, the cost of living is generally lower in this state, offsetting the difference in pay.

States with higher salaries include California, New York, Massachusetts and Washington. California has one of the highest average salaries for designers in the country at $70,090 annually. Meanwhile, New York and Massachusetts offer average salaries of $63,770 and $71,770, respectively.

Although, these states also have a higher cost of living, which impacts the overall value of the salary. Therefore, it’s important to consider the living costs and salary when comparing jobs in different states.

Local Salary Data

When looking at career information for graphic designers in Iowa, consider the local salary data. That way, you get a good understanding of what to expect to earn in your region. Local salary data can provide a deeper view of the job market and help you make better decisions.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for graphic designers in Des Moines is $44,002, while Cedar Rapids is $42,909. Though the average salary in Des Moines is higher, the cost of living could contribute to this.

Another factor that can impact a salary is the local job market and industry size. For example, Des Moines has a larger advertising and marketing industry. This tends to offer higher salaries for graphic designers than other industries. On the other hand, Cedar Rapids has a large publishing and printing industry, offering lower wages in comparison.

Top-Paying Companies For Graphic Designers in Iowa

In addition to comparing salary data, it’s important to consider companies that offer the highest salaries. According to data from Glassdoor,companies that pay designers well are larger corporations. Or, they can be agencies with a national or global presence. Here are a few examples:

Principal Financial Group

  • Based in Des Moines, Principal Financial Group is a global financial services company. It offers retirement, investment and insurance solutions.
  • Research shows the average salary for a graphic designer at Principal Financial Group is $48,772.
  • The company’s other benefits include health insurance, retirement plans and paid time off.

University of Iowa

  • Based in Iowa City, The University of Iowa is a public research university. It offers various undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Glassdoor’s data shows the average salary for graphic designers at the University of Iowa is $60,500.
  • Additionally, the university may offer chances for professional development and collaboration.

Dupaco Community Credit Union

  • Based in Dubuque, Dupaco Community Credit Union is a non-profit financial cooperative. It offers members banking services.
  • According to Glassdoor, the average salary for graphic designers at Dupaco Community Credit Union is $60,480.
  • Working at a credit union like Dupaco may offer work with diverse clients and to gain skills in branding and marketing.

Salary data can vary on job title, experience level and location within the company. Additionally, smaller companies or startups may offer graphic designers other work, even if the salary is lower.

Future Outlook for Graphic Designer Salary in Iowa

According to Projections Central, employment of graphic designers in Iowa is expected to increase by 10.2% between 2020 and 2030. The projected increase for graphic design jobs in Iowa may show the need for more visual content. These include industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care and finance. 

Iowa’s economy is diverse, and the need for skilled graphic designers has increased because of changes in the market. For instance, branding is essential because companies need to differentiate themselves. Whether it’s a logo or marketing campaign, businesses in Iowa need graphic designers to stand out and attract customers.

Another factor for needing more graphic designers is e-commerce. The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled consumers to shop online. Therefore, businesses need compelling product images and web designs to drive sales.

Also, social media and other platforms force companies to create content that captures attention. As with any piece of content, graphic designers are critical in this space.

Graphic designers are essential to many industries in Iowa. Their skills are highly needed in various areas of specialties. Yet, as the economy continues to change, the demand for graphic designers will likely remain strong.

Earning More Money as a Graphic Designer in Iowa

If you’re ready to earn more as a graphic designer in Iowa, consider these tips.

1. Know Your Worth

First, learn what you’re worth. Find out the usual pay for graphic designers in your area. Use the information mentioned here and gather additional research from websites that share salary information. Then, compare it with your skills and experience.

2. Boost Your Skills

Always keep learning new skills. The more you know, the more valuable you are. Take online courses and learn about different design programs. It also helps to stay updated on new trends in graphic design.

You could also go deeper with your skillset and improve your knowledge of specialized design skills. For instance, you might have skills in 2D design. Yet, what if you could also offer your company 3D or animation?

3. Build Your Portfolio

A strong portfolio is key to showing off what you can do. Yet, remember that quality is better than quantity. Be sure to include your best work and keep updating it with your latest projects.

4. Practice Your Negotiation Skills

Many people are afraid to ask for a raise because it seems rude. However, this is one of the most obvious ways to increase your income. Raise your confidence by practicing negotiating. Be clear about why you deserve more money, and use data to back up your insights.

Finally, you could also mention to your boss that you’d be glad to take on more responsibility if it means that you’ll get a raise. You can even discuss how this will benefit the company’s growth in the long run. That way, your request sounds less like you’re asking for a handout.

5. Take On Freelance Work

Freelancing can be a great addition to a full-time job. It’s a good way to earn extra money while gaining more skills and experience. Start building connections with potential clients on LinkedIn and ask if they’re looking for a graphic designer. You can also look for work on freelancing sites like Upwork or Fiverr to connect you with immediate opportunities.

Promising Opportunities for Graphic Designers in Iowa

It’s true the average salary for graphic designers in Iowa is lower than the national average. Yet, the demand for skilled designers remains high. With the job growth of 10% over the next decade, Iowa provides much room for designers to build their careers.

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 exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at

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