What's the salary range for Junior level ID in So California


Do you guys have any idea about the salary range for a junior industrial designer in southern California?

I am from the northeast, I know the cost of living is high there. I checked Monster.com, it says in order to maintain my current 40k lifestyle, i have to make 55K in LA, is it true?

Do people pay 60k for a IDer with 2-3 years of experience?


It’s not cost of living that will kill you, it’s the housing market. You might be able to rent close to the beach, but as my friend says, you won’t be able to buy a slab of concrete.

If you’re good enough to command $40k now as a Jr. then you’re probably good enough to command $60k in the next few years. I wouldn’t say that’s typical though.

On the flipside, so-cal is all about lifestyle, so you can live a better life on less if you’ve got the mindset for it. Now that I’m out here, I think I’d just about be happy enough with a palm tree to sleep under :wink:

Why move there?

I heard SoCal has high rent/housing costs and takes forever to go from one place to another. If you want to have some PHO you have to drive 30 mins. Plus the girls there have attitude problems. Then there’s the riots, hillside fires, drought, crime in Compton, and earthquakes.

Go to salary.com and do a search.

I think there are jr ID jobs in LA that will pay 50 to 60K, but be prepared to compete with lots of people to get the job - most of them with Art Center degrees.

50 to 60k is not a lot to live on in LA though. But if you can swing it, the lifestyle by the beach is lots of fun.

2-3 yrs experience in LA doing ID

no more than $40K.

Sorry to burst your bubble.

There’s lots of people willing to work here for a pitance. I know it sucks, but that’s the reality. Employers are doing everything to drive their costs down. Employers are too busy trying to cover the increased health care costs because of the excess illegal immigration. Salaries don’t increase much here nowadays

Hi Acala,

Thanks for the reply. Do you work for a firm? What’s the size?

I work for a business unit of a large corporation. ($2billlion+, 8500 employees). My company was a small, privately held business when I started. Myself and another designer whom I went to college with, were hired to do new product development. Over the next 15 years or so, we grew the company tenfold in sales. In 1998, a large conglomerate bought us. Since then, the design function has gotten muddled.

When we were private, the designers did all phases of the design process; market research, ideation, concept development, detailed design, componet detailing and drafting, tooling, UL and other relulatory listing, integration into manufacturing, trade show launches, agent and specifier training, etc. It was a total dream job. We were called “womb-to-tomb” designers. Even became part owners in the smalll company.

Now I just do some ideation, but mostly I’m considered a SME (Subject Matter Expert) and design engineer. Not as fun.

So I have been consulting on the side for various LA companies in addition to working here. I’ve done medical, construction and other industry related products. The real need for design consultants here is more for the “engineering” aspects. However, having an Industrial Design background really sells the consulting job. But the real meat comes from being able to do the detailing of the design, spec materials, work with tooling vendors understanding the manufacturing part of the process.

Hi Acala,

So you said u have 2-3 yrs experience. How did u know so much about year 1998. I am just curious :confused:

“The real need for design consultants here is more for the “engineering” aspects.”? I don’t see it.

I moved to CA last summer. I want to move back to east coast. Employer play all kinds of games to cut the budget, Bad traffic, and expensive housing… only weather and water is pretty nice…

I got laid off becuase they use me for a project only, and don’t pay me any benefit as interview said. Remember B&W offering letter state everything they agree to give you in CA

east coast-

Sorry for the confusiion. I meant in my post regarding salaries that one who has 2-3 years experience in LA doing ID would make no more than $40K.

I actually have been a designer for 25 years.

east coast-

Your comment regarding not seeing what I meant regarding the “engineering” aspect of design consultants value:

There are large volumes of people here who can put forth highly stylized rendering of beautiful objects. In Los Angeles alone, there are strong ID programs such as Art Center, Cal State Long Beach, and others. Hence many industrial design types.

But how proficient are these individuals in component part design, tolerance stack up analysis, understanding the ins-and-outs of injection molding, die casting, stamping, and other manufacturing processes, detailed drafting to geometric tolerance standards, tooling design, material selection and specifications, as well as designing to regulatory standards and a host of other factors?

How many of these facets are you proficient at?

Design is a hell of a lot more that just mastering Photoshop. It’s about making good looking, functional products at a profit that can be mass produced efficiently.

In this forum I see so-o-o-o many discussions from young designers talk about their frustrations in their roles in the process of design, yet their skill set isn’t diverse enough to even make a simple object from concept to production. Companies don’t want to hire entire groups of people if they can have a multi-disciplined designer whose skill set brings to the table the knowledge of the whole design process.

This skill set is what I have found allows me to go into a company, and provide them with design, engineering, vendor interface and integration into manufacturing to a degree that I exceed their expectations and they feel that my fee was the best bargain they ever made.

Key to this is LISTENING TO THEIR NEEDS, NOT YOUR IDEA OF THEIR NEEDS. You can ask all sorts of probing questions that forces them to evaluate their needs requirements, but for the most part, the company you contract to work for knows its business, you merely provide a cost-effective service in getting them to market. You assist them in exploring the possibilities and guide them in making those possibilities realities.

See the thread in General discussion on “When should I start caring…” for more.

40K?? WOW!! Either I must be a damn good negotiator or just very very lucky. I just moved to So_Cal and I have about 5 yrs experience and just signed a contract as a designer giving over $100 K/yr.

There’s plenty of $$ here… Of course no one is going to give it to you!!! You just have to be good enough and bold enough to ask for it.

"Go to salary.com and do a search.

I think there are jr ID jobs in LA that will pay 50 to 60K, but be prepared to compete with lots of people to get the job - most of them with Art Center degrees.

50 to 60k is not a lot to live on in LA though. But if you can swing it, the lifestyle by the beach is lots of fun."

50-60K??? I don’t think so. You gotta be out of your mind to want to move to LA/SF. If you earn $55K/yr and still struggling, there’s something wrong with this picture. Either you’re bad w/ finances, live in ultra luxo style, or picked the wrong city.

$55k in LA would just cover student loan payments, rent on a 2 bedroom apt a looooong way from the beach, minimal car payments and basic necessities. Do the math… you must not have any student loans… or do you still live in your parents’ bassement?

I’m a designer in SoCal with 2yrs experience making about 45K a year; that’s about $2600 a month.

Expense wise, I spend about:
$750 on rent
$160 on car lease
$20 on gas
$20 on electric
$35 on Cable and Internet
$100 on Car Insurance

that’s $1085, which should leave you about $1500 to play with a month, leaving out basic things like surfboard, snowboard, food, entertainment, travel, etc…weird, I never seem to save that much…hmm

anyhow, best of luck
as for the homie making 100k a year, I don’t even understand why you posted…


Now you have to remember the rest of the expenses for some typical recent grads:

-$200/mo min. for food, eating lots of fast food because they’re working you to the bone (long hours), no time to cook, time lost commuting.
-$400/mo. approx for student loan payments if you needed them (approx $3500 borrowed each year.)
-$400 for the minimum payments on 3 maxed out credit cards (again, ran up when needed for school, student loans have a fixed maximum. If you do too much work-study jobs for $$, no time to do school work.).

So now you’re down to $500 left, what to do?

2 Scenarios:

Scene 1:
-If you have no mate, $50 each weekend for some lapdances, takes you down to $300. Enough to hire one escort for an hour and now you’re tapped.
-If you don’t go the escort route, $50 per month club entrance to try to find a lady, 3 drinks friday and sat at the club each week=$240. Leaves you with $10 for some “personal” lube. No money saved. Living check to check no money for laundry. Don’t really need it, clothes smell like stripper perfume, Obsession I believe is that powdery smell.

Scene 2:
-You do have a mate. That’s an extra mouth for dinner on weekends $50/mo if you’re cheap.
-Condoms, $30/mo
-Extra admission for movies, etc. $50.
-Extra gas $30, laundry $20
-New clothes, (1 good shirt and pants each month so you don’t go to work in the same 5 outfits for the 5 days of the week, rotating, don’t act like you don’t), $100.
Saves a little more money than if hit the nudie bar, but not that much more. Still no money to put in the bank.

that’s a very crude way of looking at lifestyle. speak for yourself. however i understand your point. basically everything’s cost prohibitive. if that’s the case, are people avoid CA because of cost, traffic, housing and taxes?

I don’t think I could do cali. Additional costs and loss of time with constant travel. If you have to commute 1hr away, you lose 1 full work week every month just being on the road. Plus, I like my change of seasons, walking through snow is good for the legs and ankles.

“anyhow, best of luck
as for the homie making 100k a year, I don’t even understand why you posted…”

… sorry, I didn’t mean to gloat. I just trying to state the fact that maybe there’s a consistent theme that you “younger” designers are selling yourselves short. More than often I see recent grads and junior designers (even some really hot shit) selling themselves cheaper than you average fishnet hooker. This is the land of enterprise and if you have to be more assertive. If I was to hire you I would like for you to negotiate with me… that shows me that you have balls… and meybe you wouldn’t be a pushover when dealing with vendors, clients etc…

…anyways, best of luck… and remember that I’d rather live where I can live rather than fade away where everyday becomes everyday…

When you guys say 45K a year…how does taht work? c$ mentioned earlier on the thread that he only get $2600 a month for 45K a year? Is that after tax? How does tax work in the states? Is there a website I can visit to find out more?