How much does web pay per hour

What hourly rate can a graphic designer charge?

An often heard prejudice is that creative freelancers can live out their artistic freedom, but earn nothing for the work they do. Nevertheless, many designers, graphic artists or content managers choose to be self-employed after their training or after many years of work in the company.


Content of the article:

  1. Women earn more
  2. Lower hourly rate for part-time freelancers
  3. Hourly rate based on experience
  4. Too little or enough?

In the large-scale study “Freelancer Compass” from August 2019, freelancermap interviewed over 1347 freelancers about their working lives, their customers and their projects. These included self-employed people from the graphics, content and media sectors. The result was that the average hourly rate in the creative industry is around € 67.

The freelancers who stated that they were under contract with large companies charge an hourly rate of € 71, which is above average, while those who work for small companies charge at the average hourly rate. Freelancers who work for medium-sized companies charge the lowest prices at just € 64.

Women earn more

The difference between female and male creative freelancers is comparatively very small when it comes to hourly rates. According to the study, women charge around 50 cents more than their male colleagues. The creative industry is therefore an exception. Usually women in freelance circles still earn less than men - almost eight euros an hour.

  • Average hourly rate for women: € 66.6
  • Average hourly rate for men: € 65.9

Lower hourly rate for part-time freelancers

Differences in the hourly rate were also found when it came to full-time or part-time work. Freelancers who do their job full-time charge more on average for the jobs than part-time freelancers. The customer pays an average of € 8 higher price per hour.

  • Average hourly rate full-time: € 69.6
  • Average hourly rate TZ: € 61.8

Hourly rate based on experience

Surprisingly, the survey also shows that freelancers with medium-term work experience give the highest hourly rate. Self-employed people with six to ten years of professional experience charge an average of € 84 while the hourly rate of their colleagues with more than 10 years of experience is only € 63.

The study results also confirm that it is not always easy to set your own value and to enforce it - especially at the beginning of self-employment. Creative people who have been self-employed for less than 5 years earn the least at around € 62 per hour.

  • Average hourly rate 0-5 years: € 62
  • Average hourly rate 6-10 years: 84 €
  • Average hourly rate over 10 years: 63 €

You can read about the starting, average and top salary for illustrators, graphic designers or content managers in the portraits of the job profiles.

Too little or enough?

However, the poor artist's prejudice cannot be entirely dispelled. According to the Freelancer Compass, around 59% of the creatives surveyed state that they are not really satisfied with their salary. Around a third of those surveyed think that they earn less at the end of the month than their colleagues in a permanent position. A comparison with the national average salary for graphic artists and designers is difficult, however, since the hourly rate cannot be easily converted to the salary per month.

Nonetheless, all of the respondents said that they would opt for self-employment again.

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