Scheduling plays a key role in any career, and graphic design is no different. Having a healthy balance between work and home often revolves around having weekends off to spend with family, take time for yourself, and wind down. Are free weekends a luxury graphic designers can expect, or is it more common for them to work during this time instead?
Whether a graphic designer works on the weekends is entirely up to the individual. Some will work typical 9-5 jobs, Monday through Friday, while others will work whenever they feel most productive. This might include weekends. A graphic designer’s schedule varies and is determined by a series of factors.
In this article, we will discuss what you can expect in a typical work week as a graphic designer. As you read, you’ll learn the standard hours and days of the week these individuals work, their typical work environment, average salary, and more.
How Much Do Graphic Designers Work?
A factor that is often considered more important than what days of the week a graphic designer works is how many hours a week they work.
Again, the answer to this is relatively subjective, but on average, graphic designers work 37 hours a week and 8 hours per day.
There will always be individuals on either side of this spectrum. Some prefer to work 40 hours or more during the week while others highly value free time away from work and will only invest about 30 hours per week.
Of course, if graphic design is only a part-time source of revenue, you’ll likely only invest 20 hours or so while pursuing other goals.
Where Do Graphic Designers Work?
Where these graphic designers work and who they work for is another factor that affects their daily work routines, from hours to location to schedule, etc.
Where a graphic designer works depends on two factors: their employer and the technology necessary to complete their work tasks. These might require them to work at home or in an office space or give they could permit the freedom to work virtually anywhere.
The more influential option of the two is whether a graphic designer is employed by a company or self-employed, as this will dictate whether they need to be in an office setting or not. They type of work they perform comes into play regarding mobility.
Employed by Company
Most graphic designers are employed by companies for marketing purposes. Common industries that hire these individuals include:
- Public relations
- Television studios and video production
- Start-up brands
While here, they could perform tasks ranging from video editing and animation to brand development (ex. logo creation) to creating visual designs and much more, depending on the what the position demands of them.
In these instances, graphic designers often work in an office setting during work hours where they have easy access to the technological tools and equipment, they need to complete their work.
However, a significant shift is occurring in work settings nowadays, where companies are allowing more and more of their employees to either work solely from home or have a hybrid work environment where they work both remote and in an office setting.
It’s no surprise that being self-employed affords you the most freedom when it comes to determining where you work every day.
Statistically, 21% of graphic designers are self-employed, or freelancing, and of this 21%, it is safe to assume that most work from home. Part of this is because their work for the day is dependent on using programs that are technologically demanding and, therefore, they are limited to their desktops for the sake of efficiency.
If the idea of being stuck at a desk all day, whether it is in an office or at home, doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry. Many self-employed graphic designers love to get out of the house to work. They find it refreshing and oftentimes, more productive to grab their laptop or tablet and set up at the local library, coffee shop, or even on a park bench.
Graphic designers who are employed by companies but have a remote or hybrid work environment will do this as well if it suits them.
The only limitation here might be your equipment. As we mentioned earlier, performing technologically demanding graphic design tasks can be difficult on a laptop or near impossible on a tablet. But, if these portable pieces of equipment are up to the task, there’s nothing holding you back from being a work nomad and traveling to whatever setting you please.
However, nowadays there are websites and tools like Placeit that make professional level graphic design easier than ever.
It all depends on who you work for, what works best for you, and what your tasks for the day demand.
How Much Do Graphic Designers Make?
Pay is arguably the factor that controls all the previously mentioned work aspects. How much you get paid as a graphic designer might make or break how many hours a week you work, what days of the week you work, and even where you work.
Typically, graphic designers will choose the time, days, and environments that allow them to feel most productive, but how much their work is worth is often at the forefront of their decisions.
According to statistics from 2021 gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a graphic designer has an average hourly wage of $24.38 and an average annual wage of $50,710.
Of course, the real answer to this question, like so many others discussed here, is that it depends. How much you should expect to make as a graphic designers will depend on an array of factors, such as:
- Hours worked per week
Some of these factors you can control and some you can’t. For instance, your location might contribute to whether or not someone of your skills is in-demand, but it can also affect how much of your salary goes to taxes.
Your employer can also play a major role here. When you are employed by a company you are resigning yourself to whatever salary they are offering and might be limited to the set hours they allow you to work, but you typically receive more benefits and keep more of what you earn.
Comparatively, if you decide to become a freelancer, you can dictate how much your work is worth and how often you work. The big setbacks here is that work might not always be steady, and, as a self-employed individual, you must pay a self-employment tax that will take a chunk out of your earnings.
Neither path is overtly right or wrong; it just depends on what is right for you based on your preferences and needs.
One of the biggest advantages of working as a graphic designer is the degree of freedom and choice this career path provides. It is one of few occupations where you can really decide your own fate in terms of where and who you work for, how much you earn, and your weekly work schedule.
While many graphic designers work eight-hour shifts, Monday through Friday in an office setting, you don’t have to follow that path if you don’t want to. As long as you have the tools and motivation, you can tailor this career to whatever you want it to be.