Mid-level vs. Senior Designer

Ah, it’s nice to be back riding the boards again!

Not looking for a new position, as I finally found a good one. But, I’m in that grey, 5-year area of experience and I just want to know where I stand in terms of proper compensation (i.e. salary.)

I’ve reviewed the 2004 survey and the mid-level results are pretty much where I am currently. But, I have a solid 5-years of real-world experience on top of freelance stuff. I think I’m worth somewhere in the lower-range of senior level.

So, where do you draw the line? More than likely I’ll be getting a substantial raise in the next few months anyhow, but I want some ammo to back me up.

Thanks guys!


Went to Purdue. KU seems to be a good school. Most of the designers at infusion are from there. That’s a nice firm BTW. you should check them out. they are located on the west side of KC.


YOu mean you dont’ want to design airplane interiors?

I like their work and their website is refreshing.

Was just down in Houston a few weeks ago testing product in the gulf. Mid-April and it was already hotter n’ h*ll.

Best wishes on your venture down south.


Anyone care to chime in here?

Senior vs Mid-level designer? Where do you draw the line? 4-5 years?

That’s a tough distinction.

I think it really depends on the type of firm you are working in. For example a mid level designer at a large firm is going to likely have less responsibility than a senior designer at a small firm just because there are less people. Also, I think this issue of size might further reflect in salary if, as in many larger firms, there are more than one senior designer. What you pay one you will probably have to pay all.

I would think when it comes down to it you just have to logically justify them giving you more money. Create a compelling arguement to them that you are valuable to their business and worth keeping happy. If a designer can’t back up the fact that they are worth more money I would be hard pressed to give it to them.

good luck!

5 years- consultancy- you are at a senior level.

corporate- most likely- depends on their structure.

I would say that a lot of it comes down to what you have done over the 4-5 years. As an exaggerated example, if you have designed 3 projects a year as the lead designer working with Asian manufacture, each of them selling a million units…you could easily sell yourself as a Senior Designer.

Junior, Senior, etc. are just titles. Your experience, ROI, and portfolio dictate the title. Its all in the pitch.

You likely progress quicker through titles by moving to new companies. You switch jobs, you “upgrade” your title, etc.

That said, I am just astounded that there is another Purdue Grad with a job :wink:


HAHAHA… oh my friend… the other 6-7 months are just as bad.
the weather in houston is never pleasant… and watch out for the giant man eating mosquitos.



How much do Mid-Level & Senior make nowadays anyway? I know it depends on the location/city, but on average… does anyone know how much we should be asking for?

Mid-Level (at least in the southeast) is probably around mid-40’s to low 50’s. Senior level…depends on if you are in a corporate environment. There aren’t too many senior-level designers that are strictly designers. After 8-10 years in the industry it seems most move on to their own firms or are placed in management positions. That kinda skews the pay scale.

Alas I digress. A senior designer with 5-7 years experience would most likely bring home mid-50’s to 70K.

Judging from the comments below, I’m going to place myself at the lower-end of the senior scale. 5 years in both corporate and private firm. BTW, corporate is definately the way to go if you actually want to enjoy your life outside of work.