AIGA and Aquent release an expanded survey of design salaries online

Annual survey shows compensation in communication design profession remains flat, reflects a design industry in flux

AIGA|Aquent Salary Survey site

New York—August 9, 2011. Compensation in the design industry has remained relatively flat, according to the most recent AIGA|Aquent Survey of Design Salaries. Now more than ever, designers, hiring managers, design students, educators and design firms rely on this annual survey as a career and staffing tool. And with a new web-based format and expanded categories covering more design disciplines across the United States, this year’s survey will be particularly useful.

The Design Salaries website, created by Gesture Theory, marks the beginning of a transition toward a more interactive way of presenting and utilizing these results. New data visualizations make this study, the most comprehensive of its kind in the design industry, easy to navigate despite a dense collection of data points.

A changing profession

The survey’s expanded set of positions reflects the changing nature of the communication design profession and sets a benchmark for salaries across a broad range of design functions—such as Mobile App Developer, Motion Graphics Developer, Usability Analyst and Web Content Strategist.

Beyond the survey itself, a broader read of the design economy indicates a shifting employment landscape since the recession began in 2007. According to AIGA’s quarterly Design Leaders Confidence Index, for example, design leaders’ optimism has been rising steadily for the past three quarters. Yet sobering facts remain: approximately 12,000 students of communication design will graduate from four-year programs each year, more than can be absorbed into the current workforce.

“For all designers and creative professionals, it is important to take every opportunity to build skill levels and broad knowledge, even during economic slowdown,” said AIGA Executive Director Richard Grefé in a statement about the results. “If designers are to provide effective communication, messaging and branding in the new global economy, they must understand the cultural context for design solutions and clients’ needs. This will depend upon knowledge, judgment and agility, not just skills.”

About the survey

AIGA has been working with Aquent for more than a decade to quantify and measure compensation for the design industry, providing valuable information to employers and employees alike. The only global talent agency specializing in marketing and design, Aquent now boasts an entire division focused exclusively on digital talent—an indication of demand on this sector, as reflected in this survey.

The AIGA|Aquent Survey of Design Salaries is commissioned annually by AIGA with the generous support of Aquent, and this year the reach and scope were expanded in collaboration with Communication Arts, the Association of Professional Design Firms, the Design Management Institute, the Interaction Design Association and the Society for Environmental Graphic Designers.

The annual survey is a critical tool for the design profession—and just one of many tools and resources AIGA has developed to equip today’s professional designer with tools for success.

About AIGA

AIGA is the professional association for design, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing design as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. Founded in 1914, AIGA today serves more than 22,000 members through 66 chapters and 200 student groups across the United States. AIGA stimulates thinking about design, demonstrates the value of design and empowers the success of designers at each stage of their careers. Learn more at

For further information, please contact:
Jennifer Bender

AIGA | the professional association for design
Tel 212 710 3136   Fax 212 807 1799