A few years back, graphic design degrees were the rising star of the collegiate world. The internet was expanding so rapidly that there was far more work than people to do it. These days you can’t throw a Wacom tablet without hitting someone who has a background in graphic design. This can make it a little difficult for a person with a passion for pursuits both technical and creative to find a job, especially in a recession economy (when the unemployment lines are long and graphic designers are a dime a dozen). But there are still cities where you find graphic design work, although some are going to pay better than others. Here are few of the best places to start your job search if your heart is set on a career in graphic design.
- San Francisco. With tech companies galore in town and in nearby locales like Redwood Shores and Emeryville (ever heard of a little company called Pixar?), this is often listed as the best city for graphic designers looking to earn a living. Of course, it’s somewhat debatable whether or not you can bring home a livable wage in this high-rent city, even though they pay graphic designers some of the best salaries around ($70K+, on average). But it’s definitely a place to start!
- London. Like San Francisco, this city affords a lot of opportunities to graphic designers looking for a stable gig. But it also boasts a similarly high cost of living. So if you’re willing to commute (or you are allowed to telecommute) from less expensive outlying areas, it may be worth it. At the very least, you’ll get to spend a little time across the pond and enjoy easy access to other European cities.
- Washington, D.C. Nearby NYC may have the market cornered on creative pursuits in other arts, like theater, music, and fashion design, but when it comes to graphic design, the profession is in high demand in this U.S. capital city. And with average wages over $60K and at least a modicum of affordable housing, this locale could offer one of the best income-to-expenditure ratios on the list.
- Austin. You might not think that the Live Music Capital of the World is the place to be unless you’re a musician, but they are currently enjoying something of a tech boom and the cost of living is moderate. Can’t find a job there? Look in nearby San Antonio, which is even more affordable (and has experienced some of the lowest unemployment in the country).
- Your city! No matter where you live, from Minnesota to Mississippi or California to Connecticut, you enjoy the ability to practice your trade from the comfort of your own home thanks to abundant freelance work for graphic designers. While you may have to hustle for jobs initially and take work piecemeal (at least until you build up a reputation and a client list), you stand to make even more money as a freelancer than you ever could working for a firm. Even better, you’ll be working for yourself.