Ohio is an expansive state with a total population of 11.8 million people. It’s in the top 10 of highest density in population thanks to large cities such as Cincinnati and Columbus. Home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, rural countryside in Loudonville and thriving sports franchises in Cincinnati. A graphic designer salary in Ohio is comparable to other midwestern cities but the state has a lot to offer.
Much of the state is still rural. The northeast-central part of Ohio is home to the largest Amish community in the world. Holmes County has around 48% Amish among its citizens. From small towns that scream American tradition to big cities with trendy music and impressive museums, you can find whatever pace of life you want in this state.
The thing you probably want to know is whether you can make a decent living if you move to Ohio and how the cost of living compares to other places you might consider.
How Much Is a Graphic Designer Salary in Ohio?
Although actual offers vary by your experience level and location, most graphic designers make around $50,710 per year. Those with years of experience and specializations might make upwards of the low six figures.
How does a graphic designer salary in Ohio compare to the rest of the nation? According to Salary.com, the median salary for graphic designers in the Buckeye state is around $52,314 as of August, 2023. However, they also note the range varies significantly, depending on location and experience. Various factors impact how much a company offers.
Those with more than 10 years of experience make closer to $75,000. Those just graduating and entering the workforce may make around $45,000 per year.
Ohio is known for a slightly lower cost of living compared to coastal regions. However, you’ll find housing and other costs in large cities to be quite a bit higher than their rural counterparts. One option is to work in a city such as Cincinnati, where you can commute to either Kentucky or Indiana and live in one of the small border towns nearby. You’ll have to add some commute costs unless you mainly work remotely.
Average Cost of Living in Ohio
To figure out how the cost of living compares to other areas, we look at a range of sources. For example, RentCafe lists Ohio as having 11% lower cost of living than the U.S. average. We also looked at sites that track by city, such as LivingCost.org and referred back to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center’s Cost of Living Data series. While the figures might be slightly different for each source, they are close enough that we feel comfortable choosing the most likely one or averaging them together. We also consulted staff who live within a two-hour radius of some of the cities mentioned in this article.
How Much You’ll Make
As with most careers, you can tap into specializations to make even more. For example, you can ramp up your skills to include user experience (UX) knowledge and become a UX director of graphic design. By managing a team of others and taking on more responsibilities, you’ll also earn more money.
MIT’s Living Wage calculator estimates an adult with no children must make $15.33 per hour to have a livable wage. The minimum wage in Ohio is $10.10 per hour. However, you can expect more than that as a graphic designer unless interning or serving a temporary role to gain experience. You can use the calculator to dig down into what you need based on the county where you plan to live and how many children and adults are in the home. You can even compare a one-income household with a two-income one.
Housing Costs and Daily Living
The cost of housing is a bit lower in Ohio, at around 74% of the national average, but groceries run higher at 101.8%. Most categories fall into the 90th percentile. While you won’t see levels as high as New York or Los Angeles, there are also less expensive places to live in the midwest. However, there may also be fewer opportunities as Ohio has a number of large cities, including Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.
The MIT chart lists housing at around $7,786 per month for an adult with no children. To make ends meet, people need to make around $32,752 per year before taxes.
How Much Is an Average Graphic Designer Salary in Ohio–Cincinnati
Costs to live in Cincinnati vary from urban to suburban areas, stretching all the way to Newport, Kentucky and Florence areas. Glassdoor estimates the average graphic designer salary for the Cincinnati area is between $42,000 and $63,000 per year. Your experience and the organization for which you work makes a difference in how much they’ll offer for your services.
For example, if you go with a large corporation, you’ll likely make more and receive better benefits but you might also find it more stressful. On the other hand, a nonprofit may give you a slower pace but have fewer funds to throw toward your salary.
Homes in the nicer suburbs of Cincinnati can run quite a bit more so you may want to rent at first until you get to know the city and where you want to live. Cost of housing is still less than in some states, but higher than one might expect for the midwestern region.
To figure out if an offered salary is livable, calculate both the hourly wage and perks of the job. If you have excellent health benefits or can save money by working from home, it may be worth taking a slightly lower paying job. Factor in everything before choosing which offer to take.
You’ll enjoy some of the perks of living in a bigger city like Cincinnati, such as attending Big Reds games and visiting their massive zoo. There are museums, nightlife and beautiful architecture. Cincinnati rests on the banks of the Ohio River, giving you opportunities for boating and beautiful dining views. The music scene is rich and varied. Nearby attractions include Kings Island amusement park and The Ark and Creation Museum.
What Do Graphic Designers Make in Columbus, Ohio?
Columbus is the state capital and runs along either side of the Scioto River. You’ll find a science center, massive museum of art and nearby Ohio State University. As a college town, competition for entry-level positions is fierce. Where graphic designers can shine in this city is when they already have a few years of experience under their belts and want to find a new position in the midwest.
Indeed estimates a base salary of $75,359 for a graphic designer in Columbus. Of course, the range can go as low as $47,861 and as high as $118,657. A lot depends on your experience, specializations and which corporation you work for.
A perusal of sites such as Realtor.com and Zillow show that houses are fairly reasonable in price and massive in space. For example, a four bedroom four bathroom house with nearly 3,000 square feet recently received an offer of $425,000 in a desirable neighborhood with good quality schools.
Those who are single or have smaller families can find something well under $300,000 to buy or something reasonably priced to rent. Your salary will stretch fairly well in the housing market, but you may pay more for groceries.
At the same time, you can make a trip to more rural areas and buy directly from farmers, giving you quality food at a good price.
Should You Live in Ohio?
Whether you spend time along Lake Erie in awe of the massiveness of the water, drive through Amish farm country or make your way to rolling hills and large metropolises, Ohio has a ton to offer to the average person.
Not many states offer both small town, country living alongside the benefits of large cities and all the amenities they offer. As with every state on this list of places you might want to live and work as a graphic designer, Ohio has both advantages and disadvantages.
- Theme parks and entertainment venues
- Low cost of living
- Ample opportunities for new jobs and promotions
- Low housing cost
- Midwestern mindset
- Sports teams
- Excellent music and food
- Hot summers and cold winters
- Areas of extreme poverty and food deserts
- High crime in some cities, such as Cleveland and Whitehall
- Lack of public transportation
- High food costs
- Competing with influx of recent college graduates
If you’re looking for a good place to live and raise a family, Ohio offers a lot of benefits. However, you might be limited in the number of nature-based activities in some areas and knowing which communities are safe is a challenge. Be sure to do your research.
Should Graphic Designers Apply to Jobs in Ohio?
Ohio offers a good, central location. No matter where your family and friends live, you can likely fly to them in a matter of hours from the center of the country. The lower cost of living paired with decent wages means you’ll meet and exceed the base level income you need to live comfortably.
From Amish buggies rambling along the side of the road to thriving cities filled with big corporations and fun events, Ohio has something for everyone. The Buckeye state is definitely one worth looking at when sending resumes to potential employers.