Graphic Designer Salary in Rhode Island

Posted on November 21, 2023 | Updated on November 21, 2023

Rhode Island might be the smallest in mileage in the United States, but Little Rhodie has just as many opportunities for graphic designers as surrounding states. A graphic designer salary in Rhode Island depends, just like anywhere else in the nation. However, living here provides a unique lifestyle and connection to nearby states that other states cannot obtain. 

Learn more about what chances you have to grow your career as a graphic designer in this understated, coastal state.

How Much Is a Graphic Designer Salary in Rhode Island?

The average graphic designer salary in Rhode Island is around $62,301, or around $30 hourly. Numerous factors determine how far your salary may stray from the average. The high end could exceed $38 per hour or around $79,304 yearly. The other side of the coin sits around $24 per hour or approximately $49,310 annually. Discrepancies to these numbers depend on location, employer, experience, and countless other influences.

The nuances continue when reviewing company offer packages. These salaries may or may not include benefits, such as company 401k matching or travel stipends. Data may vary depending on submissions, including these outliers, which is essential to consider. Some companies offer more robust benefits, which could make the graphic designer salary in Rhode Island feel more or less impactful on your life.

Graphic designers have a lot of freedom and malleability. They can work remotely or in-office with a physical building in Rhode Island or remotely within the state. If the salary needs to sound more enticing, you could side hustle graphic design jobs by putting yourself out there online. It is another job in and of itself because it requires self-advertising and networking. However, there are countless resources to help budding or tenured designers looking to make a little extra cash.

What Is Living in Rhode Island Like?

The value behind your salary must be measured against the cost of living and lifestyle. If you vacation a lot and live in a small home with low bills, that will feel different in your pocket versus someone paying a lot in rent with minimal flexibility. Whether or not you live in Rhode Island already, the pace of your life or day-to-day may change when entering graphic design professionally.

Comparing the cost of living in Rhode Island to the United States average shows generally higher numbers. The United States average is 100, and Rhode Island’s score is 112.5 compared to the nation. 

Almost everything, including housing, utilities, and transportation, is more expensive in this deceptively small state. Thankfully, health care is lower on average, which is excellent compared to more rural and Midwestern states with the opposite situation. Groceries may also be cheaper, but it depends on the area and what stores and chains you have access to.

However, many graphic design employers should consider the cost of living when making an initial offer. Many even offer cost of living raises as they pay attention to national inflation trends. 

Knowing this information makes it easier to determine if the average graphic design salary in Rhode Island is enough to cover the expenses of how you live now or if it will account for how you wish to live. 

Where Is the Best Place to Be a Designer in Rhode Island?

The average annual salary varies from city to city in Rhode Island. The state’s capital, Providence, offers the highest average for entry-level positions alongside Woonsocket. Here are other cities you may want to consider, though the discrepancy between these is almost $9,000:

  • Warwick
  • Newport
  • Pawtucket
  • Valley Falls
  • Cranston
  • Central Falls

It is crucial to consider potential employers alongside physical location when considering where. Who is available to hire you in the area you want to live? In Providence, everyone from startups, the toy giant Hasbro, and ethical business card company MOO is hiring in 2023. You may want to choose your industry first and then seek ideal employers from there — it depends on how picky you want to be.

Another aspect of this is your personal preference. If city centers bring you anxiety, perhaps a rural part of Rhode Island is best — but it may not provide as many graphic design positions in a range you would be willing to commute. Every decision regarding location and employment is a constant cost-benefit analysis of how much certain life aspects are worth more or less money. Each time you face one of these decisions, you can ask yourself if the graphic design salary is worth it.

Does Rhode Island Have Quality Graphic Design Education?

You may want to know the average graphic designer salary in Rhode Island because you are about to head to school. Whether you’re commuting from home or coming from out of state, you can take several options and degree routes from well-regarded universities. They will outfit a resume with the educational experience to impress during interviews. 

  • Roger Williams University, Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design Communication
  • Rhode Island School of Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design
  • Johnson & Wales University, Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design and Digital Media
  • Rhode Island College, Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with a Graphic Design Concentration
  • Salve Regina University, Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with a concentration
  • New England Institute of Technology, Bachelor of Science in Multimedia and Web Design

There are fewer options for post-graduate degrees. However, Rhode Island School of Design has one for a Master of Fine Arts in Digital and Media Graphic Design you may pursue if you want to explore even higher education options. Another benefit of the Ocean State is its size. It means you can live near the border and reasonably access nearby schools in other states like Massachusetts for more educational options if you want to look further. 

What Does a Quality Graphic Design Employee Look Like?

To stand out among the competition, even if you graduate from one of the schools above, you’ll need more than a diploma. You need a perfect blend of soft skills to inspire prospective employers to offer you the highest starting salary possible for your experience level.

You’re holding out your impressive portfolio and well-designed resume. Now, you must defend it with professionalism and why it is better than the unknowns competing against you. The best way to do so is with curiosity and research. Know the company you are walking into, because it will give you insight into their priorities and tone. Here are a few excellent places to start when curating your interview responses and portfolio when looking into companies:

  • Mission statements
  • Client accolades
  • Origin and business growth stories
  • References in the press
  • Company values

Finding ways to reference these highlights in your answers and art will convince them you were tailor-made for their organization.

Making a Living in Rhode Island in Graphic Design

The Ocean State is homey yet buzzing with potential. Enough determination is possible to achieve your dream graphic design salary in Rhode Island. It does not matter if you want to work for an agency or freelance, pursue higher education, seek professional development from an employer, or do a mix of these options. Rhode Island has everything you need, including a reasonable cost of living for what you get out of it.

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 exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at

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