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Market update: Graphic Designer demand and salaries in Australia 2022

By Academy Xi

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Are you curious about a career in Graphic Design and keen to find out what’s going on in today’s industry? We’ve put together this market update to bring you all the latest Graphic Design statistics and insights.

What is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is the process of communicating messages and ideas visually. What you create could be anything from the logo for a business, through to infographics or multi page website layout designs.

If the idea of solving a brand’s biggest problems and crafting high quality visual assets appeals to you, then perhaps a career as a Graphic Designer is worth your consideration.

What does a Graphic Designer do?

The goal of Graphic Design is to create engaging visual content that meets the requirements of the design brief. These requirements will differ depending on multiple factors, including the industry, target audience and key objectives. 

Using a combination of typography, colours, imagery, logos, icons and layouts, Graphic Designers are tasked with creating a range of visual assets, from product packaging and websites, to brochures and business logos. Going way beyond aesthetics, Graphic Designers use their skills to create visual solutions for a brand’s biggest problems. 

Generally speaking, most Graphic Design positions will include the following areas of responsibility:

  • Interpreting or taking a design brief, ensuring requirements are clear 
  • Planning and development of concepts
  • Drafting of initial concepts and layouts by hand and/or software
  • Testing designs across different devices and media
  • Presenting draft designs to client
  • Incorporating feedback into subsequent drafts
  • Delivering final designs in required file formats

Is Graphic Design a good career in Australia?

With digital transformation impacting the majority of industries globally, there is an increased demand for website development and digital marketing collateral. All this means increased demand for design, which, you guessed it, means increased opportunity for Graphic Designers. 

There’s a projected 21.7% increase of employment opportunity in Graphic Design in Australia from 2021 to 2026 (13,900 jobs), with the number of Graphic Designers likely to reach over 78,000 by the end of 2026.

At the timing of hitting ‘publish’ on this article, there are over 17,000 Graphic Design jobs available nationwide on seek.com alone. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that Graphic Designers need not be restricted by borders. If you have a strong online portfolio, there’s nothing stopping you from touting your skills far and wide, regardless of your location.

Which industries hire Graphic Designers?

Graphic Designers are hired across every industry, either in an in-house capacity full-time, part-time, on a fixed contract or freelance basis. 

Findings from the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force Survey (2021) highlight that Graphic Designers are employed across the following industries:

  • Professional, scientific and technical services 55.2%
  • Information media and telecommunications 8.3%
  • Manufacturing 7.9%
  • Arts and recreation services 6.8%
  • Other industries 21.9%

See your earning potential

Graphic Designer salary

The average salary for a Graphic Designer in Australia is $73,032 per year

Junior Graphic Designer salary

For those starting out, the average Junior Graphic Designer salary in Australia is $58,500 per year, or $30 per hour.

Senior Graphic Designer salary 

On the more experienced end of the scale, Senior Graphic Designers in Australia are being paid between $98k-$115k on average, per year.

Can you start a freelance Graphic Design business?

Absolutely. Many Graphic Designers start out by training part-time while working another job. Once training is completed, you can begin scouting for work as a freelancer and in the process build your bank of experience and the strength of your portfolio. This may lead to transitioning into full-time freelance Graphic Design, or a combination of part-time freelance and part-time in-house contract work. There are no rules – you can truly design your own work lifestyle.

How much can a freelance Graphic Designer make in Australia?

Rates charged by freelance Graphic Designers will vary greatly based on training, experience and self-confidence. As you gain more experience you can increase your rates. It is important to keep in mind that rate setting isn’t purely based on time, but the value you and the marketplace place on what it is you are creating, as well as the potential impact it will have on your client’s brand and/or business. 

As a starting point, here are some guideline rates for Australian freelance Graphic Designers:

  • Junior $25-35 per hour
  • Mid-level experience $45-55 per hour
  • Senior level experience $65-90+ per hour

Another way to investigate potential rates as a freelancer is by using a rate calculator. There are a few free online calculators that you use to establish market rates, depending on your skills and experience. See our guide to becoming a successful freelancer in Australia.

What skills are needed for Graphic Design?

If you want to give yourself a competitive edge in the industry, a combination of soft and digital tech skills is a must. While there’s a broad range of soft and tech skills, we’ve rounded up the top three in both areas to give you some guidance on a starting point.

Top three soft skills for Graphic Designers

Communication

All design jobs require communication – this could be direct to the client, via members of an agency or with team mates you may be working with (for example, content writers or UX/UI designers). Effective communication is important so you know what is expected of your design work and that you are also able to clearly share any detail, whether that be in person, in an online meeting or via email. 

Active listening

This is a biggie, particularly if you’re taking the creative brief. It is vital that you are truly hearing what the client is needing and able to distil their project requirements clearly. Active listening is also important when it comes to design feedback.

Time management

The reality of many Graphic Design roles, in-house or freelance, is that you’ll be juggling multiple projects at once. Your time management skills need to be up to scratch so that you can ensure you’re delivering to deadlines. Goal posts will inevitably change on some projects and there may be shifts in the direction of concepts. It’s vital that you’re able to clearly communicate if any requested changes are going to impact on your ability to deliver to the deadline, so that expectations are always kept realistic. 

As with all skills, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. 

Top three tech skills for graphic designers

Adobe Creative Cloud software

Having a firm grip on the latest industry software is a must, particularly if you’re just starting out. Plus, it’s wise to keep up with the latest changes and additions to software once you’re in the game. Industry standards are Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, but there are always new apps being released.

Image manipulation

Knowing how to confidently alter images is a critical skill for every Graphic Designer, but not just static photographs. Up your game by learning how to manipulate motion graphics and you’ll be supercharging your toolkit. 

Basic coding

Don’t break out in a sweat, we’re not suggesting that you need to get a degree in computer programming. However, if you’re across some basic coding speak and application, it could really help you out when working on web and application design jobs. Learning the fundamentals is totally do-able and will give you a competitive edge.

How to start a career in graphic design in Australia

In as little as 12 weeks you could learn the fundamentals of Graphic Design and have the beginnings of a professional portfolio. 

At Academy Xi our graphic design courses are delivered in two online formats to ensure you can flexibly accommodate study with your existing work and life commitments, within a supportive learning environment including classmates and an industry experienced mentor. 

After a practical course to complement your existing skill-set?

Graphic Design: Elevate will expand your expertise in a social and supported environment.

Looking for a total career change?
Graphic Design: Transform will equip you with the latest industry skills and have you graduating job-ready. 

Want to discuss your transferable skills and short course options? Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your Graphic Design journey. 

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