Graphic Designer Salary in Michigan

Posted on May 23, 2023 | Updated on October 27, 2023

As a graphic designer, you know how the field is ever-changing. Decision-makers are always asking for something new. Nowadays, that could include automation or better access to customer data. Yet, you play an essential role in today’s visually-driven world. Graphic design influences how the world perceives brands and their messaging.

This makes skilled graphic designers indispensable in today’s market. Excellent visuals will almost always be a part of any good marketing strategy. Yet, what does that mean for those contemplating a career in graphic design in Michigan? The state’s economy has become diverse, leading to rising demand for graphic designers.

As a result, Michigan may be an attractive destination for creative professionals. Do you think you could start your career in the Great Lakes State? Here’s everything you need to know about a graphic designer’s salary in Michigan.

The Average Graphic Designer Salary in Michigan

The annual salary for graphic designers in Michigan is $54,080, lower than the national average of $57,990. Despite this difference, Michigan still offers competitive compensation for graphic design professionals. It has a diverse job market, lower cost of living and strong creative community.

Across income levels, higher-end graphic designer salaries in Michigan can average $94,700. This range is often due to experience, skills and ability to manage complex projects. Of course, the more you know, the more people will like to pay you.

Entry-level graphic designers in Michigan can expect to earn less per year. This lower starting salary is typical for professionals beginning their careers. While this means you may start out not earning what you want, experience will get you there. You’re getting the ball rolling when you get your first job or client.

The average graphic designer salary in Michigan is below other states. But, the state still offers opportunities for professionals at different career stages. Experts expect the demand for graphic designers in Michigan to grow. Thus, these salary figures should increase.

The Top Industries For Graphic Designers to Work in Michigan

In Michigan, various industries offer excellent graphic design opportunities. You can either work throughout these sectors or develop a niche in one. Here are the top sectors to consider when working as a graphic designer in Michigan.


Michigan is the automotive capital of the United States. Major companies like General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have a significant presence. Graphic designers in this industry work on diverse projects. They may create marketing materials to designing user interfaces for in-car entertainment systems. Additionally, graphic design is essential for vehicle campaigns.


Michigan has a growing tech sector. Many companies there focus on software development, mobile applications and e-commerce. Graphic designers in this industry create user-friendly interfaces and develop engaging websites. They also design digital marketing materials to showcase the latest innovations. 

Marketing and Advertising

As businesses in Michigan grow, so does the need for marketing and advertising. Graphic designers in this industry develop eye-catching visuals. These typically include print, digital and social media campaigns. With graphic design being essential to marketing and advertising, creative professionals are crucial. 

Health Care

Michigan is home to several renowned health care organizations. These include the University of Michigan Health System and Spectrum Health. Graphic designers here create patient education materials and design marketing for hospitals. Plus, they help develop visually appealing user interfaces for health-care-related software applications. 


With many colleges and universities, Michigan has a strong education sector. Graphic designers work on projects such as designing promotional materials for educational institutions. They also create engaging visuals for e-learning platforms. You’ll also develop informative graphics to support research and academic initiatives.

What Is the Cost of Living in Michigan?

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

For instance, the average cost of living is 3% lower than the national average. The housing costs are 14% lower, with more affordable home and rental rates. Graphic designers can comfortable housing without using much of their income. The state’s lower utility costs and affordable grocery prices also contribute.

The graphic designer salary in Michigan and the lower cost of living allow professionals to thrive. This state’s average wage may be lower than elsewhere, but the reduced living expenses can help. Thus, graphic design professionals can enjoy a great career and quality of life here. 

Networking and Professional Development Opportunities in Michigan

As a graphic designer, networking is essential when looking to grow your career. Michigan offers many resources and events to help designers. They 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 can provide networking opportunities. Try visiting the American Institute of Graphic Arts Detroit chapter. These organizations often host workshops, seminars and conferences. The offerings enable designers to learn from industry experts and share experiences.
  • Networking events: Design meetups and local gallery openings allow designers to connect with others. These are a great way to build relationships. Those connections can lead to collaborations, job opportunities and valuable advice.
  • Conferences and workshops: Michigan hosts various design conferences and seminars. These include the annual Detroit Design Festival and the West Michigan Design Week. The events allow designers to learn new trends and tools. They can also connectƒ with other design professionals.

Should You Move to Michigan?

Michigan presents a compelling option for graphic designers considering a move. It has a diverse economy, lower cost of living and strong creative community. The state offers a unique blend of urban and rural living, and abundant natural beauty. Michigan also boasts rich cultural history, ample outdoor recreation and a welcoming atmosphere.

Some of the top cities in Michigan include Detroit, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Detroit is developing a growing arts scene, dining options and affordable housing. Grand Rapids — often called “Beer City USA” — is home arts, museums and craft breweries.

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

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

How to Earn More as a Professional Graphic Designer

Your starting salary in Michigan might be lower than you would like. Though it works with the state’s cost of living, moving elsewhere may be challenging. You’ll have to build up your skills to get a great-paying job in Michigan and beyond. Here are a few ideas for doing so.

Carve Your Niche

Knowing as much as possible about your industry can help you stand out. You’ll already know how best to communicate information and what viewers respond to. You can also point out potential issues with your client’s idea. For example, you may know an audience doesn’t enjoy particular fonts or color palettes. Working in a niche gives you practice, attracting leads who want someone who knows the ropes.

Additionally, you may have something about your style that makes it unique. Do you enjoy playing with geometry? Are your designs reminiscent of earlier decades? Is playing with colors part of your typical creative process? Being unique can draw more eyes, leading to more clients for you.

Branch Out

When you think of graphic design, you may imagine print advertisements and drawings. While that’s true, you can expand what you do to draw in more clients. For example, user interface (UI) design is a natural next step for digital artists. You’ll move from crafting ads to picking the colors, fonts and buttons for a website. If you know how to draw the eye through a print, you can do it online.

UI designers often work on the artistic side of things, but you may need some coding knowledge. You may find you love coding and can expand your offerings to user experience (UX). Adding UX and UI to your portfolio can help you find more leads, make more money and keep doing what you love. Try finding fields next to yours and develop the skills to perform them well.

Find Passive Income

Some people believe everyone needs to have a side hustle. Grind culture is real, but its effects can harm your mental health. You may feel like you have to burn the candle at both ends to get anywhere. But, that’s not true. You can find ways to have passive income on the side that pulls in funds without burning you out.

You could create tutorials while you do your main job to teach people new techniques. Then, all you need to do is edit the footage and upload it. You may end up building a following and making passive income from those videos. Additionally, you could mock up a few templates and sell them on platforms like Etsy. You have many opportunities to earn a passive income to supplement your main salary.

The Potential for Earning a Graphic Designer Salary in Michigan

The graphic designer salary in Michigan presents an attractive opportunity for professionals. The low cost of living and diverse job market make up for the lower average salary. There’s a world of opportunities for graphic designers to take on in Michigan, which is why it is attractive. Consider starting your career here or heading to the Great Lakes State for new opportunities.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on May 23, 2023 and was updated July 26, 2023 to provide readers with more information.

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