Graphic Designer Salary in Wisconsin

Posted on December 14, 2023 | Updated on December 14, 2023

The leading dairy producers in the States could also be the next home of your graphic design career. Do you want to work in tech or create for an innovative startup? How can you foster growth, no matter where you would be in Wisconsin? The graphic designer salary in Wisconsin is worth researching if you want to explore new job horizons in the U.S. or love the Green Bay Packers. Learn tips and tricks on how to get the most bang for your buck while keeping it ever-increasing.

What Is the Graphic Designer Salary in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has an extensive range of graphic designer salaries. The low end sits at a pretty low $13.45 per hour, but it could go as high as $29.40 hourly — we know that sounds much more exciting. However, the average is around $19.89 per hour, which translates to $53,643 annually. Just because these numbers represent the median does not mean you cannot exceed it or influence it creatively in your favor.

If you want to swing the odds in your favor, you can look at some of the highest-paying cities in Wisconsin. Kenosha, Milwaukee, Madison, and Oshkosh are a few to begin your search. There are many companies to choose from that would be more than happy to have experienced designers in their ranks.

Another factor in the average salary is benefits packages. A hefty benefits list can make any compensation feel even more potent. Incredible benefits like 401k matching or tuition reimbursement feel like earning additional income even though it does not appear on your paycheck. Here are a few other benefits you will want to keep your eye out for when agreeing to a graphic designer salary:

  • Insurance, such as health, vision, dental, and life
  • Health spending accounts
  • Paid time off and sick leave
  • Parental leave
  • Bonuses
  • Learning and professional development opportunities

Additionally, you could freelance graphic design until you make a salary that achieves your goals.

How Much Does it Cost to Live in Wisconsin?

Fantastic news for anyone wanting to move to Wisconsin — it has a lower cost of living than the United States average. If the average score is 100, Wisconsin has an 89.9, so you can save money while working there as a graphic designer. Almost every spending category in Wisconsin is at or below average. 

The best category is housing — where most people spend most of their salaries anyway. With the average cost of a home in the U.S. hitting over $338,000, seeing a median home cost of $244,100 feels pretty empowering. It makes the graphic design paycheck feel like it goes a long way. Even rent is much cheaper on average, whether a studio or a four-bedroom apartment. 

The only category that is higher on average is miscellaneous and lifestyle expenses. This might be the case for numerous reasons, such as residents traveling out of the state or country — especially closer to Canada — instead of staying home. Being near a couple of the Great Lakes does make it enticing to buy or rent a boat or lake house, which is a costly expense.

Are There Good Graphic Design Schools in Wisconsin?

There are plenty of schools in Wisconsin, regardless if you did your undergrad in another state and want a postgraduate degree or some certification. Here are some schools that offer Bachelors, Masters, and community college or technical degree programs:

  • University of Wisconsin
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Western Technical College
  • Concordia University
  • Moraine Park Technical College
  • Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
  • Northland College

Some offer standard graphic design degrees, while others provide specialized concentrations like typography or communications.

What Qualities Will Impress Graphic Design Employers?

Making a great first impression on a potential employer will increase your chances of being offered a higher salary. Let’s start with a few hard skills and move on to more subtle, soft skills that shine.

Hard Skills

Graphic design employers want software proficiencies. They want to know how you can use the Adobe suite, make basic animations, and navigate basic website design templates. Though Canva is an excellent resource for creators, it is not traditional graphic design. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and other programs have far more complex interfaces and advanced capabilities that employers need to know you can work. You don’t need to go to school to learn them, but they have a higher learning curve.

Additionally, they will want to see your sketching and research skills. If you work for a marketing firm with countless clients with different brands, styles, and industries, you must be moldable and versatile. How good are you at determining brand voice and translating that to graphics, whether it is a website, billboard, or Instagram post? How do paper ideas manifest on a computer, and can you convey concepts convincingly?

Soft Skills

Though you spend a lot of time on the computer, graphic design is more than knowing color theory and how to navigate a program. Often, you will work with a team of creators. Sometimes, a client needs a suite of projects that must be cohesive. Other projects take months and are by yourself, but you must convey progress updates to the client and superiors through presentations and timelines. Teamwork and communication are critical.

Attention to detail is another huge one. You will need to apply this to a few realms. First is your projects, especially when it comes to revisions. You must be able to notice the little details that spark clients to ask for changes and how those details will impact future projects. 

Relatedly, graphic designs need to pay attention to the industry. Things are constantly changing. The software receives updates. Trends circle social media. Clients get inspired by what they see, which inevitably changes how the sector works. You will be ahead of the game if you stay on top of these details.

What Is it Like to Freelance Graphic Design in Wisconsin?

Freelancing in Wisconsin is much like freelancing graphic design work anywhere, but it depends on how you work. Do you imagine yourself working primarily at home or traveling days at a time to do working vacations? Do you like being in coffee shops or on the lakeside?

Depending on your lifestyle, freelancing could be just like any other state. It could look wildly different if your laptop is set up overlooking the Great Lakes or in one of Wisconsin’s many charming indie cafes.

However, success in freelance is entirely up to you, your connections, and how well you can promote yourself online and in your community. You design the life you want, and Wisconsin offers everything for the ideal setup for the right person.

Graphic Design Salary in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has a lot of potential for a unique graphic design lifestyle. The northern part of the nation has a lot to offer in rural life and urban activities. It is often overlooked but provides a great starting point for budding graphic designers and their salaries. 

If you want to keep learning and expanding your skills, it is also ideal for that journey. No matter where you go in the state and your goals related to graphic design, you can find it in Wisconsin.

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