A Comprehensive Guide to Visual Design Careers and Salaries

by Pranav Ramesh
December 15, 2020
Average Graphic Designer Salary Guide

What is a Visual Designer?

The world today runs more on visuals than on engines. User-friendly interfaces coupled with intuitive layouts make content thematic and digital experiences delightful. This is the major role of a visual designer.

Artistically speaking, visual designers are the gatekeepers of making content look decorative and aesthetically pleasing. The advent of photography, design, and art has facilitated the way for visual designers to be greatly appreciated in the community.

Visual designers are best represented as individuals who focus entirely on digital media and utilize a combination of design principles to create an aesthetically-engaging digital experience; they essentially act as the glue that keeps the users hooked to a digital interface or a platform.

What is the requirement of a Visual Designer Job Profile?

In a world where within the last 60 seconds there have been over:

  • 156 million emails,
  • 16 million texts,
  • 3.5 million searches on Google,
  • 1.8 million Snaps created,
  • 452,000 Tweets,

There’s a fundamental need for visual designers for their problem-solving ability through design, as they are responsible to build the company’s digital and design strategy and determine what best suits the brand’s attributes to build trust and cultivate a long-term relationship with the customers.

The role of the visual designer has many aspects that include working collaboratively with a variety of designers, web builders, user experience researchers to create a product. Identity design, illustrations, prototypes, etc. are few responsibilities of a visual designer. Communication is the key to becoming a great visual designer.

As a visual designer, you will rarely work alone – you will likely be part of a diverse team of other designers and developers with a common vision to ensure that each component works well to make your project more attractive and engaging.

Although, visual design is the primary must-have skill; creativity, resourcefulness, and communication are equally important.

Since design projects involve multiple people, keeping the channels open for communication, accepting constructive criticism, and being on the same page with fellow designers and clients is essential for a visual designer. This is not only imperative for an optimistic workspace but also to showcase your true potential.

RELATED: 5 Skills Needed to be Successful in Today’s Workforce


Visual Designer vs. Graphic Designer: The Thin Line that Separates the Two

Although graphic designers and visual designers can seem like similar roles, there is a clear distinction between these two profiles. If you’re considering a career in design, it’s crucial that you specifically understand these differences to choose the right job in your best interests.

The first and foremost difference is the main objective of these professions. While graphic designers aim to communicate a specific message to consumers, visual designers are responsible for creating an integrated image on digital media platforms.

Another major difference is the variety of communication methods. Graphic designers were initially focused in print mediums such as newspapers and magazines and are now expanding into web design. Visual designers, however, always focused on digital platforms.


To communicate specifically through their creations Craft a brand’s unified image across communication platforms PLATFORMS Digital & print media Focus only on digital/web RESPONSIBILITIES Express a clear & concise message Determine a brand’s perception at large


RELATED: What is a UX Designer and What Do They Do?


Visual Designer Roles and Responsibilities

A visual designer designs for a wide range of platforms like websites, games, movies, kiosks to name a few. Briefly, they create concepts, art and visual architecture, and for digital projects based on a variety of needs. Visual designer responsibilities are often project or industry-specific, therefore knowing a particular business sector is quite important. Companies may also prefer candidates with B2B, B2C, or marketing expertise.

In general, most visual designers are entitled to:

  • Work within brand guidelines to create digital experiences that align with the brand’s attributes and voice
  • Develop user-centric wireframes or screen mockups
  • Design illustrations, signage, icons, and infographics
  • Closely collaborate with marketing, UX research, engineering, and business teams to improve user experience
  • Have basic coding knowledge and work along with technical development teams
  • Develop and streamline various production assets
  • Create responsive designs for all types of devices and interfaces
  • Work on other design collaterals to develop and improve the visual language
  • Manage various projects while managing deadlines and expectations

Technical Experience and Skills

Visual designers are often required to have a bachelor’s degree in design and must have experience in Adobe Creative Suite, Photoshop, Illustrator, or similar tools. In addition, the visual designer should also have an understanding of web design problems, usability testing, and cross-platform compatibility. This position requires strong creative and problem-solving skills.

In general, a visual designer should have:

  • A solid foundation in typography, layout, and design
  • Ability to solve design and user experience problems
  • Excellent visual, written, and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent presentation and negotiation skills
  • Ability to work collaboratively as well as independently

Visual Designer Salary Benchmarks

According to research, the income of visual designers has been higher than traditional graphic designer counterparts. The average salary for visual designers on Glassdoor is about $75,000 per annum. An entry-level visual designer could earn around $50,000 per annum while experienced visual designers can expect to earn approximately $100,000 per year.


As the demand for new-age digital skills grows, it is important to realize that traditional graphic design jobs are becoming less sought-after as print media is on the decline.

If you are passionate about coding, then being a UX/UI designer might be the go-to job for you. If you are more inclined to the artistic aspects of the design world, then being a visual designer, graphic designer, or digital artist may be the ideal career choice.

Whichever path you choose, there are many designing jobs that you can choose from, each one offering competitive salaries and great benefits for those with a creative mind.

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