Top 5 Cities for Graphic Designers

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jul 3, 2018

Jul 3, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

You can be one of the greatest graphic designers in the country, but if there are no jobs available in your area, you may still be struggling for success.

Approximately 35% of graphic designers are self-employed, which means working harder to get clients and have a steady and reliable income.

Even though many try to conduct all business remotely, there are many advantages to being in one of the best cities for graphic designers and being able to meet clients, businesses, and organizations in person.

Check out our list of the 5 best cities for graphic designers and why you may want to consider relocating to take your career and life to the next level.

Let's get started!

1. San Francisco, California: #1 of Best Cities for Graphic Designers

Whether you are freelance, contract, or looking for the perfect full-time graphic designer position, you will want to consider San Francisco as an option.

Boasting one of the highest pay rates in the country makes San Francisco one of the best cities for graphic designers. The average pay rate sitting at over $67,700 is a great incentive for any graphic designer.

Some of the top web design companies in the US call the San Francisco Bay area home. They pay well for top talent, and some even offer incentives and moving expenses to attract the best of the best.

There's more to life than a paycheck though. San Francisco has a lot to offer in your personal life too.

There's tons of great stuff to see, do and experience here, from the impressive Golden Gate Bridge and beautiful Golden Gate Park to a stroll down Fisherman's Wharf to grab some fresh local seafood and enjoy some of the most unique attractions on the west coast.

2. Washington DC

Washington DC is a lucrative area for more than just politicians. It makes our list of best cities for graphic designers for a couple reasons not the least of which is the money you can make.

In the nation's capital, you can make 20% above the average pay for graphic designers across the country. There are always hundreds of companies looking for graphic designers here so you shouldn't have any trouble finding a position.

If you're willing to put in the time to build a client base, going freelance in Washington can be a great option. It'll give you a wide variety of clients and topics to cover. You'll never get bored and can build up a diverse portfolio if you're just starting out or want to expand your expertise.

If you're lucky enough to nab a couple government contracts or interests you'll often make more than the average bear because as we all know politicians aren't spending their own money and are more than happy to spend ours. Keep that in mind when setting your rates or bidding on a job.

As you do search for graphic design work in Washington, or anywhere for that matter, make sure you're honest about your skills and what you can deliver. Word of mouth and client reviews can be your greatest resource when searching for your next gig.

3. Seattle, Washington

Many would rather be close to fresh air and mountains than surrounded by politics and over 7 million people that live in Washington D.C. If this is true for you, maybe Seattle, Washington will be more to your liking.

Seattle has approximately 725,000 residents, giving you the convenience of a big city without the struggles of overpopulation.

You can earn 23% more as a graphic designer in Seattle than most places in the country. But that's not the only reason to consider living here.

You can spend your off time hiking in the mountains, visiting the space needle or taking photos at the incredible Chihuly Gardens and Glass Exhibit at the Seattle Center.

4. San Jose, California

If you want to be at the heart of innovation then San Jose is the perfect place to network with other technology lovers.

In San Jose, the average salary for experienced graphics designers is over $80,000. This is more than 30% above the national average, making it definitely one of the best cities for graphic designers.

Second only to New York City for the best place in the country to start a small business, San Jose is the perfect place to set up shop.

Every time a new business opens a graphic designer get's their wings. Each one needs a website, business marketing and educational materials, and logos.

Many graphic designers in the Silicon Valley spend the majority of their time creating logos for new companies or those looking for a new image.

Find out more about logos before you head there so you can dive right in and be able to pitch some ideas at a moment's notice.

5. New York, New York

If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere.

New York is the best city in the US for starting a small business. And with a population of more than 8.6 million, there's no shortage of clients waiting for your expertise.

The average salary here is approximately $57,000 a year, making it one of the top cities to work in.

The odds are in your favor in NYC too because there are approximately 8,000 professional graphics designers working here. That may seem like a lot for one city, but it does give you great odds at finding work with such a huge population base.

There's no denying if you like the nightlife, theatre, great food and the excitement of the big city than New York City should be near the top of your list.

You'll have a chance to work and play in some of the most iconic and diverse arts and business hubs of the world and may even see a few celebrities as you do.

Dare to Dream and Make It a Reality

From East coast to West, we live in one of the greatest, most incredible countries in the world where dreams come true and opportunities abound.

Don't limit your dreams because of your current zip code. There are thousands of jobs waiting for you if you know where to look. Now that you know the best cities for graphic designers, there's no limit to where you can go and what you can do in your career.

For tips on how to land your dream job, the best way to choose which job is right for you or other career advice check out our careers blog and make your dreams a reality today.