Let’s take a trip to the Beaver State. Oregon is home to gorgeous scenery and artistic culture. Despite its association with rain and cloudy skies, it fosters creative people. If you want to be a graphic designer and live or move to Oregon, you won’t be sorry. The average graphic designer salary in Oregon might also entice you if you’re feeling indecisive. Learn more about the ins and outs of the state and its visual design scene.
How Much Is a Graphic Designer Salary in Oregon?
You might be surprised by the average graphic designer salary in Oregon. It averages to around $62,962 annually or approximately $23.34 per hour. The low end is still decent, hovering around $39,232 annually or $101,047 on the high end. If you’re going the traditional route of getting hired by an employer, what they offer you will vary based on numerous factors. For example, living in Beaverton has a higher average than the state’s capital of Portland.
You will not make the average amount immediately — it would be even rarer to get six figures just moving there unless you have excellent experience and top-tier connections. However, here are some other things to consider before developing expectations about your salary:
- Business type or niche
- Where you live
- Willingness to relocate
- Benefits packages
- Your negotiation skills
- The breadth of your portfolio
- Program proficiencies
- Graphic design specialties, like UX
Your resume will make or break your potential salary, especially if it is your first foray into the field. No matter how long you were at other jobs irrelevant to the profession, make graphic design skills and expertise the highlight of the page — even if it was for volunteering or unpaid work. Talk about your skills as if they were your job. It will increase your chances of getting offered the average or higher.
What Is the Cost of Living?
Oregon has a higher-than-average cost of living score. The United States average score is 100, and Oregon has a rating of 114.3. What categories are rising just slightly above the average, and are there areas where you can save to compensate for them?
Oregon has slightly more affordable health care on average than other states and cheaper utilities. Saving a few dollars from these expenses can go toward higher-cost expenses, such as housing. The median home cost is around $468,400 compared to the average $338,100. Areas like transportation, groceries, and miscellaneous expenses are right at the average or not too much above it.
However, you do not have to buy a home as a graphic designer in Oregon. Rent costs are only a smidge higher than the average for the rest of the country, so you could save money there until you can afford a home if that is on your wishlist.
Another factor in living costs is lifestyle. If you like gardens and beaches, Oregon is the place to be with its massive coast. If you’re content with saving money on cross-country or international travel to do these activities, your graphic design salary will be even more meaningful.
How Do You Land a Job With a Good Employer?
It is up to you to build the hard and soft skills you need to thrive in your career, though a quality employer will not expect you to be perfect at first. Instead, they will find growth opportunities and guide you along your career to improve every day. But, it is essential to know the basic tips for landing a graphic design job so that starting pay motivates you to keep earning more and working hard.
First, consider a formal education or internship. These are not required, but they give you excellent leverage. Volunteering in-person or online communities are other great avenues to explore. The point of all these is to build connections and fill out your portfolio with diverse and high-quality projects that align with the graphic design gig you want. Creating an expansive portfolio is essential for finding your style if you have yet to discover it, which increases your chances even more.
Another way to set a good impression is by being curious. Research the agency beforehand and see how they use graphic designers.
For example, if you want to design for websites but their graphic design team works more with video advertisements, it will confuse interviewers and suggest you are not the right fit. You may go into marketing the wrong skills or prove you need to learn more about what you are applying for. Additionally, you can be curious by asking employers thoughtful questions, such as:
- What has a graphic designer done in the past to make a lasting impact on the company?
- Can you describe your graphic design team and how that reflects the company’s mission in three words?
- Is there an area of graphic design you want to develop or explore in the coming years?
By asking these questions, you can respond with how your experience aligns with them, reinforcing why you are the choice for the team.
How Can You Keep Improving as a Graphic Designer?
You must keep growing once you stun an employer with excellent interview responses and a glowing portfolio. They offered you an excellent starting graphic design salary for the Oregon area. Now, it is time to increase it every year. How can you keep soaring upwards without plateauing, questioning where you should go next?
The best way to improve is to align your priorities with your agency. This matters so much because your projects become infused with their mission and values. The more the company sees that in your projects, the more likely you will impress them. For example, if the business went through a rebrand to try and feel more tech-forward, and you incorporate details inspired by technology or use new fonts. You could even work with the copywriting team to make ideas more cohesive.
You will also want to expand your software proficiencies. What stops you if you are great at Photoshop but not InDesign? You may need to explore more animation or web design software. Make time. There are plenty of free and online resources to catch you up. Or, you could ask your employer to sponsor learning opportunities. They may appreciate the enthusiasm and be happy to help you grow because it benefits them directly.
Finally, staying up to date with the industry will keep you relevant in your company. Knowing how graphic design updates with social media algorithms or what competition is doing that works will allow you to contribute thoughtfully to meetings to make a financial impact.
Plus, impressing your superiors will likely get you promotions and more money.
Graphic Designer Salary in Oregon
You do not have to feel stuck in your graphic design career if you choose Oregon. No matter where you live, there is a chance to create a prolific and creative professional trajectory. There are enough opportunities to direct designers in countless directions, whether you want to eventually make your own business or climb up a ladder to a senior position. The path is yours to forge, and Oregon is a great place to do it.