Lead graphic designers are in charge of creating the visual identity of a brand, product, or business. They lead a team of graphic designers working to realize their vision and come up with comprehensive visual communication campaigns with a complex marketing impact.

Working as a lead graphic designer, you will be expected to make independent creative decisions, guide graphic designers on your team, approve their efforts, or push them in the direction you think the project should go. You will need to be an experienced professional to take on this role, with years of practice behind you creating advertising and branding materials.

You will be using digital design programs such as Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign, and Illustrator on a daily basis. You will need to keep an up-to-date insight into visual advertising trends and have a feel for efficient use of colors, printing options, layouts, and the like. Keeping in contact with printing presses and vendors will also be your task.

What Does a Lead Graphic Designer Do

There are certain skills that many lead graphic designers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, artistic ability and communication skills.

Learn more about what a Lead Graphic Designer does

How To Become a Lead Graphic Designer

If you're interested in becoming a lead graphic designer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 66.3% of lead graphic designers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 3.8% of lead graphic designers have master's degrees. Even though most lead graphic designers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Lead Graphic Designer

Lead Graphic Designer Career Paths

Average Salary for a Lead Graphic Designer

Lead Graphic Designers in America make an average salary of $76,009 per year or $37 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $131,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $44,000 per year.
Average Lead Graphic Designer Salary
$76,009 Yearly
$36.54 hourly
$44,000
10 %
$76,000
Median
$131,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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How To Become a Lead Graphic Designer
How To Become a Lead Graphic Designer Career Overview

States With The Most Lead Graphic Designer Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active lead graphic designer jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where lead graphic designers earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Lead Graphic Designer Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
1California2,957$92,671
2New York1,369$85,114
3Texas1,150$43,993
4Washington816$81,325
5Illinois718$55,241
6Georgia702$38,753
7Florida674$35,670
8Virginia658$69,246
9Massachusetts653$76,286
10Pennsylvania609$72,079
11North Carolina536$46,211
12Ohio474$59,430
13Michigan461$65,073
14Oregon450$64,896
15Kansas432$39,030
16Oklahoma422$38,923
17Minnesota385$51,032
18Nevada376$64,453
19Maryland362$69,201
20New Jersey357$71,192
21Arkansas354$40,357
22Colorado338$51,553
23Nebraska306$42,045
24Wisconsin304$51,229
25Idaho283$48,032
26New Mexico277$45,643
27Arizona274$62,213
28Missouri231$44,867
29Indiana230$55,191
30Tennessee215$41,150
31Utah207$50,187
32Montana189$46,777
33Connecticut175$62,019
34South Carolina174$37,091
35Alabama162$37,231
36South Dakota140$34,587
37Iowa135$42,731
38Alaska128$63,949
39Kentucky123$45,762
40Louisiana93$38,472
41New Hampshire92$61,495
42Rhode Island68$75,337
43Maine64$53,475
44Mississippi57$34,823
45Delaware49$67,748
46West Virginia41$63,154
47Vermont35$53,109
48North Dakota33$52,921
49Hawaii25$87,145
50Wyoming23$47,244

Lead Graphic Designer Education

Lead Graphic Designer Majors

Lead Graphic Designer Degrees

Bachelors

66.3 %

Associate

23.6 %

Masters

3.8 %

Top Colleges for Lead Graphic Designers

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

5. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

6. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

7. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

8. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

10. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

Top Skills For a Lead Graphic Designer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 6.9% of lead graphic designers listed adobe photoshop on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and artistic ability are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Lead Graphic Designer Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Lead Graphic Designer templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Lead Graphic Designer resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Lead Graphic Designer Demographics

Lead Graphic Designer Gender Distribution

Male
Male
62%
Female
Female
38%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among lead graphic designers, 38.2% of them are women, while 61.8% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among lead graphic designers is White, which makes up 76.1% of all lead graphic designers.

  • The most common foreign language among lead graphic designers is Spanish at 52.7%.

Work Experience Programs For Lead Graphic Designers

Virtual work experience programs replicate work at top companies and help you gain the skills to be successful when applying and working there. In only a few hours, learn the relevant tools necessary to complete a typical work day at that company. Virtual work experience programs are 100% free, open-access, and self-paced. No experience or application is required!

Civil Engineering Program

Company: John Holland Australia

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Wealth Management Program

Company: Goodbody

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Token Service Technology Program

Company: Visa

Cost: Free

Duration: 2-3 hours

Workplace Preparation Program

Company: ANZ

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Strategy Consulting Program

Company: Accenture Australia

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Process Design Program

Company: Accenture North America

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Branding & Design Program

Company: Sydney Romantics

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Product Design Program

Company: Accenture North America

Cost: Free

Duration: 4 hours

Leading a classroom Program

Company: Teach for Australia

Cost: Free

Duration: 2 hours

Design Program

Company: BCG

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Online Courses For Lead Graphic Designer That You May Like

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Graphic Design Mastery: The FULL Branding & Design Process
udemy
4.5
(891)

Follows the FULL Graphic Design Process for A Company: Logo, Ad, Social Media, T-Shirt, Package, Website Design & More!...

Graphic Design MasterClass- Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign
udemy
4.5
(3,660)

Graphic design for beginners including Graphic Design Theories, Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, CC & Creative Thinking...

Graphic Design Masterclass - Learn GREAT Design
udemy
4.7
(44,066)

The Ultimate Graphic Design Course Which Covers Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Design Theory, Branding and Logo Design...

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Best States For a Lead Graphic Designer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a lead graphic designer. The best states for people in this position are California, Hawaii, New York, and Washington. Lead graphic designers make the most in California with an average salary of $92,671. Whereas in Hawaii and New York, they would average $87,145 and $85,114, respectively. While lead graphic designers would only make an average of $81,325 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Lead Graphic Designer Jobs:
2,957
Highest 10% Earn:
$180,000
Location Quotient:
1.47

2. New York

Total Lead Graphic Designer Jobs:
1,369
Highest 10% Earn:
$142,000
Location Quotient:
1.56

3. Washington

Total Lead Graphic Designer Jobs:
816
Highest 10% Earn:
$156,000
Location Quotient:
1.63
Full List Of Best States For Lead Graphic Designers

How Do Lead Graphic Designer Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

Life of My DesignAugust 2019

5.0

Zippia Official LogoLife of My DesignAugust 2019

What do you like the most about working as Lead Graphic Designer?

The opportunity to learn about a client's business needs and create design solutions that can be tested and measured. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Working for a manager who doesn't understand design. Show More

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Top Lead Graphic Designer Employers

Most Common Employers For Lead Graphic Designer

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Netflix$181,380$87.203
2Intel$108,447$52.145
3UPS$85,912$41.305
4Fastsigns International$85,261$40.9921
5General Dynamics$72,619$34.913
6Pedernales Electric Cooperative$63,675$30.613
7Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More$62,717$30.153
8PostNet$61,999$29.816
9FedEx$61,706$29.674
10Signs By Tomorrow$58,869$28.308