Which Design Degree Pays the Most?

Key Takeaways:

  • Product Designers with UX expertise command salaries ranging from $110,000 to $150,000 annually.

  • Motion Graphics Designers can earn up to $85,000 per year, while Industrial Designers secure salaries between $60,000 and $110,000.

  • Interior Designers with specialized skills earn an average of $80,000 yearly, and Architecture graduates can expect salaries of $85,000 to $100,000.

  • Design Management professionals manage design teams and earn the highest salaries, averaging $112,000 annually.

  • The demand for skilled designers continues to grow, creating ample job opportunities in various industries.

1. Product Design

Product designers are responsible for envisioning, conceptualizing, and developing new products. They blend technical skills with an understanding of user experience (UX) to create products that are both functional and appealing. In 2023, Product Designers with UX expertise can earn salaries ranging from $110,000 to $150,000 annually.

  • Skill Requirements: Expertise in UX, industrial design principles, prototyping, and 3D modeling software.

  • Industries: Technology, consumer electronics, medical devices, and automotive.

2. Motion Graphics Design

Motion Graphics Designers create animated visuals for use in video games, commercials, and website designs. They possess a deep understanding of visual storytelling and motion principles. In 2022, Motion Graphics Designers earned an average salary of $75,000, and top earners can command salaries of up to $85,000 per year.

  • Skill Requirements: Proficiency in animation software (e.g., After Effects, Maya), typography, and video editing.

  • Industries: Film and Television, Advertising, and Interactive Media.

3. Industrial Design

Industrial Designers focus on designing products that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. They consider ergonomics, materials, and manufacturing processes in their designs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industrial Designers earned a median annual salary of $60,000 in 2022, with the top 10% earning over $110,000.

  • Skill Requirements: Knowledge of engineering principles, materials science, and manufacturing techniques.

  • Industries: Consumer products, furniture, medical equipment, and transportation.

4. Interior Design

Interior Designers create functional and aesthetically pleasing indoor spaces. They plan the layout, select materials, and coordinate furnishings. Specialized Interior Designers, such as those who design sustainable or healthcare spaces, earn higher salaries, with an average of $80,000 annually.

  • Skill Requirements: Knowledge of space planning, color theory, and project management.

  • Industries: Residential design, commercial design, hospitality, and healthcare.

5. Architecture

Architects design and plan buildings and other structures. They balance aesthetic considerations with structural integrity and functional requirements. In 2023, Architecture graduates can expect salaries between $85,000 and $100,000.

  • Skill Requirements: Licensure, strong understanding of building codes, and proficiency in architectural software.

  • Industries: Residential, commercial, and industrial architecture, as well as urban planning.

6. Design Management

Design Managers oversee design teams, manage budgets, and establish brand identity. They possess both technical and business skills. The average annual salary for Design Managers is $112,000, with top earners exceeding $150,000.

  • Skill Requirements: Leadership, communication, and project management abilities, combined with design knowledge and industry experience.

  • Industries: All industries requiring design services, such as technology, healthcare, and consumer goods.


Choosing the right design degree can lead to a successful and rewarding career. The highest-paying design degrees include Product Design, Motion Graphics Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Architecture, and Design Management. The demand for skilled designers continues to grow, and job opportunities are plentiful across various industries. By carefully considering your interests and skills, you can pursue a design degree that aligns with your goals and sets you on a path to a fulfilling career.

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