Graphic Designer Salary in Michigan

Posted on May 23, 2023 | Updated on May 23, 2023

As a graphic designer, you know how the field is constantly evolving. You play an essential role in today’s visually-driven world. From websites and product packaging to social media content and advertising campaigns — graphic design influences how we perceive brands and their messaging.

This makes skilled graphic designers indispensable in today’s market. Yet, what does that mean for those contemplating a career in graphic design in Michigan? The economy in the Great Lakes State has become increasingly diverse, leading to a rising demand for graphic designers. 

As a result, Michigan may be an attractive destination for creative professionals.

If you’re considering starting your graphic design career, here’s everything you need to know about a graphic designer’s salary in Michigan.

The Average Graphic Designer Salary in Michigan

When pursuing a career in a creative field like graphic design, it’s important to consider the average salary in Michigan. This way, you can determine whether you can make a liveable wage and feel comfortable. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual salary for graphic designers in Michigan is $49,710, slightly lower than the national average of $50,710 annually. Despite this difference, Michigan still offers a competitive compensation package for graphic design professionals — thanks to its diverse job market, lower cost of living and strong creative community.

When examining salaries across various experience levels, senior-level graphic designers in Michigan earn an average of $98,070 annually. This higher salary range is due to their extensive experience, advanced skills and ability to manage complex projects.

On the other end of the spectrum, entry-level graphic designers in Michigan can expect to earn an average of $30,850 per year. This lower starting salary is typical for professionals just beginning their careers and working to establish their skills and reputation in the industry.

Although the average graphic designer salary in Michigan is slightly below the national average, the state still offers opportunities for professionals at different stages in their careers. The demand for graphic designers in Michigan is expected to grow, which may increase these salary figures over time.

The Top Industries For Graphic Designers to Work in Michigan

In Michigan, various industries offer excellent graphic design opportunities, each presenting unique challenges and benefits. Here are the top sectors to consider when working as a graphic designer in Michigan:


Michigan is renowned as the automotive capital of the United States, with major companies like General Motors, Ford and Chrysler having a significant presence. Graphic designers in this industry work on diverse projects, from creating marketing materials to designing user interfaces for in-car entertainment systems. Additionally, graphic design is essential for advertising vehicle campaigns and developing visual branding for new vehicle models.


Michigan has a growing technology sector, with numerous startups and established companies focusing on software development, mobile applications and e-commerce. Graphic designers in this industry create user-friendly interfaces and develop visually engaging websites. They also design digital marketing materials to showcase the latest innovations businesses are developing. 

Marketing and Advertising

As businesses in Michigan continue to grow, so does the need for strategic marketing and advertising campaigns. Graphic designers in this industry collaborate with agencies or in-house marketing teams to develop eye-catching visuals. These typically include print, digital and social media campaigns. 

With graphic design being an important part of the marketing and advertising world, creative professionals are needed to communicate brand messages and promote offerings effectively. 

Health Care

Michigan is home to several renowned health care organizations, such as the University of Michigan Health System and Spectrum Health. Graphic designers in this industry create patient education materials and design marketing collateral for hospitals and clinics. Plus, they help develop visually appealing user interfaces for healthcare-related software applications. 


With numerous colleges and universities, Michigan has a strong education sector. Graphic designers in this industry work on projects such as designing promotional materials for educational institutions. They also create engaging visuals for e-learning platforms. Additionally, you’ll find yourself developing informative graphics to support research and academic initiatives if you choose to go into this field.

What Is the Cost of Living in Michigan?

Michigan’s cost of living is generally lower than the national average, making it an attractive option for creative professionals. Housing, utilities, groceries and transportation expenses are typically more affordable in Michigan, allowing residents to enjoy a good quality of life without breaking the bank. 

For instance, the average cost of living is 8.4% lower than the national average. The housing costs are 17.9% lower, with more affordable home and rental rates. This allows graphic designers to secure comfortable housing without allocating much of their income to this expense. 

Additionally, the state’s relatively lower utility costs and more affordable grocery prices contribute to the overall cost of living.

The competitive graphic designer salary in Michigan and the state’s lower cost of living give these professionals a chance to make a comfortable living for themselves. While the average salary may be slightly lower than the national average, the reduced living expenses can balance it. Therefore, graphic design professionals can enjoy a fulfilling career and a good quality of life. 

Networking and Professional Development Opportunities in Michigan

As a graphic designer, networking is essential when looking to grow your career. Michigan offers numerous resources and events to help designers connect with like-minded professionals, gain new skills and enhance their career prospects. Here are the most popular opportunities that will help you excel in your career:

  • Professional organizations: Local chapters of national and regional graphic design organizations — such as the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Detroit chapter — can provide numerous networking opportunities. These organizations often host workshops, seminars and conferences, enabling designers to learn from industry experts and share experiences.
  • Networking events: Creative-focused events like Creative Mornings, design meetups and local gallery openings offer designers a chance to connect with fellow creatives. These networking events are a great way to build relationships that lead to collaborations, job opportunities and valuable advice.
  • Conferences and workshops: Michigan hosts various design conferences and seminars, such as the annual Detroit Design Festival and the West Michigan Design Week. These events allow designers to learn about new trends, techniques and tools while connecting with other design professionals.

Should You Move to Michigan?

With its diverse economy, lower cost of living and strong creative community, Michigan presents a compelling option for graphic designers considering a move. The state offers a unique blend of urban and rural living, with vibrant cities, picturesque small towns and abundant natural beauty. Michigan also boasts a rich cultural history, ample outdoor recreation and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

Some of the top cities in Michigan include Detroit, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Detroit, known as the Motor City, is undergoing a revitalization, with a growing arts and design scene, exciting dining options and affordable housing. Grand Rapids, often called “Beer City USA,” is home to a thriving arts community, museums and craft breweries.

Ann Arbor is the quintessential college town. It is home to the University of Michigan and offers a diverse, educated and creative atmosphere.

Each of these cities has something to offer for graphic designers. Whether it’s to find work, connect with fellow professionals or enjoy a high quality of life, there’s something for every graphic designer to find in Michigan. Therefore, Michigan can be an excellent place for graphic designers to live and thrive.

The Potential for Earning a Graphic Designer Salary in Michigan

The graphic designer salary in Michigan presents an attractive opportunity for professionals considering a career in this creative field. Though the average salary is slightly lower than the national average, the low cost of living and diverse job market make up for the difference. There’s a world of opportunities for graphic designers to take on in Michigan, which is why the Great Lakes States makes an attractive choice to live in. 

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