While Massachusetts is home to a lot of history, it also holds great potential for graphic designers. The Bay State has thriving cities and quaint small towns that will satisfy the office or remote worker. Boston might be the only place that comes to mind before living in the state, but Worcester, Holyoke, Lowell and the Cape offer different experiences for those who want to try something new. But before moving, you need to know what to expect from a graphic designer salary in Massachusetts.
What Is the Average Graphic Designer Salary in Massachusetts?
Across all years of experience and industries, the average graphic designer salary in Massachusetts is $54,817, according to Glassdoor. Newcomers to the industry will make around $47,000 annually and those with more than 10 years of experience can earn nearly $70,000 a year. As is the case with almost every job, more experience equates to a higher wage.
Additionally, choosing different fields will adjust that salary by quite a lot. For example, an entry-level position for a graphic designer working in the financial services industry could earn $57,609 as their base salary with nearly $4,000 in possible bonuses. Meanwhile, those working for a nonprofit organization will get about $46,000 in base pay and over $1,800 in additional income. The niche a graphic designer carves will be one of the most significant factors in how much they make.
But what can freelancers expect to earn? Glassdoor research shows the average freelancer salary for a graphic designer in Massachusetts is $77,019, but they can earn over $7,000 in bonuses or tips. A senior graphic designer in Boston could make as much as $147,000 in Boston, while someone in Salem with one to three years of experience could earn up to $57,000. However, freelance salaries vary widely, as one person could take on several clients simultaneously.
Graphic Designer Salary in Massachusetts by Job Title
The graphic design field is not a one-size-fits-all profession — there are various career paths one could take. Here is a snapshot of a few of those jobs and what they could earn in Massachusetts.
Graphic Design Intern
Graphic design interns are there to learn the ropes of the industry they’re entering, receive mentorship from higher-ups and start branching out into their own projects. In Massachusetts, these employees will get just over $40,000 for their work — one of the highest wages for interns in the United States.
A visual designer will design platforms like websites, movies, games and wearables. Professionals in this sector likely need to flex some coding knowledge to land the job of their dreams. They can expect to make around $70,000 in Massachusetts.
Social Media Graphic Designer
These experts focus on crafting the perfect design for social media feeds. While that may sound similar to any other advertiser, there are specific techniques that go into generating conversions on apps like Instagram versus Twitter. A social media graphic designer will earn around $54,429 annually in Massachusetts, which is about $4,000 higher than the rest of the nation.
Communications designers take graphic design a step further and identify helpful metrics for a marketing campaign. They will work with marketers from start to finish, decide what information to include, and create visuals for advertisements or product design. A communications designer in Massachusetts can make $83,554 a year.
As the name sounds, multimedia designers are responsible for creating eye-catching visuals for print and digital media. There are plenty of niches to choose from, with available positions in gaming, advertising or television. Massachusetts is the second-best state to be a multimedia designer in, with workers making an average of $71,564.
Is Graphic Design in Demand in Massachusetts?
While Massachusetts makes the top five regarding states that pay their graphic designers the most, it does not do the same for employment. That indicates people in the state are willing to pay more to attract graphic designers to the area. So yes, graphic design is definitely an in-demand job in Massachusetts.
Cost of Living in Massachusetts
If all the previous information sounds enticing enough to inspire a move, the next step is to check the cost of living. Massachusetts isn’t known for being the cheapest state in the union, so it’s essential to take how much one spends living there into consideration along with the wage.
A lot of graphic designer jobs will be available in Boston, but the city might not be the best place to live. The average rent in the city proper will be close to $4,000 — and that’s just for a one bedroom. Two bedrooms bring that total closer to $5,000. However, the nearby neighborhoods of Allston and Brighton often have rents in the $2,000 range, which is a bit more affordable for entry-level employees. Getting familiar with The T might be the best best for transportation.
Massachusetts has plenty of wonderful cities and towns outside of Boston, so try exploring those locations if a graphic designer role has a work-from-home option. In the rest of the state, rent and utilities hover around $1,400 — or $2,400 for a family of four. Internet costs about $70 and a nice cup of coffee will be $4.60. That also helps avoid hopping on the Pike and dealing with infamous Massachusetts drivers.
Overall, Massachusetts’s living cost is rather high, but it can be manageable with the right tactics. Finding the cheapest grocery stores, internet plans and apartments help to make the most of a graphic designer salary in Massachusetts.
Should You Move to Massachusetts?
With all that in mind, is it a good idea to move to Massachusetts? What does the state offer? Here are some pros and cons to consider before breaking out the cardboard boxes and packaging tape.
- Massachusetts is full of history, making for fun weekend outings
- The state also ranks second in the nation for quality health care
- Parents might like to know their kids will attend the best public schools in the U.S.
- Massachusetts is the fourth safest state to live
- Graphic designer salaries are quite competitive
- Those that need to commute have public transportation options available
- Sustainability is a priority in Massachusetts and it ranks seventh regarding the greenest states
- Because Massachusetts has the highest median income, it also pays the most taxes for individual and joint filers
- The cost of living is rather high, so those looking for entry-level jobs may have a harder time affording the state
- Commuters often have trouble with the traffic
- The winters can be harsh, so get ready to shovel
Find the Best Graphic Designer Salary in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has a wealth of opportunities for emerging and established graphic designers. There are various branches of the career someone could access there and the pay they receive isn’t too shabby. Even though the cost of living is high, there are ways to make that amount manageable for those either just starting or who work in lower-paying industries. Earning a graphic designer salary in Massachusetts enables working in a fun and caring environment.
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.