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Graphic designers have long been the subject of debate among design professionals.
It’s no secret that they often make some of the best graphics on the web.
However, recent reports have put graphic designers on the defensive.
According to a new survey, more than one in five graphic designers surveyed said that they were paid less than $2 per hour in 2012.
The survey, conducted by Graphic Design Network (GDN), asked graphic designers whether they were currently working on an individual project, or part of a larger project that had paid for the design, as well as whether they had a salary cap of $2,500 or more.
According the survey, the majority of graphic designers responded that they had been paid less by 25% of the graphic designers who responded, while a quarter of the respondents said they had received less than half of what they were owed.
“The majority of respondents said that their graphic design was not the most valuable thing in the world, that they could not afford to pay for it and that they would never hire someone who was paid less,” the survey states.
“But they could still use the service of a freelancer and not worry about it, as the cost of freelancing can be a lot lower.”
The study also found that graphic designers have been the target of a backlash since it was revealed that several companies were paid millions of dollars by design agencies to work on their portfolios.
While some of these companies have now been found to have paid off the design work, others have not.
The majority of the designers surveyed (71%) were still working for one of the agencies involved in their portfolios, while the remainder of the designs were paid to a freelancers.
The most common reason why designers were paid more was due to a lack of a portfolio-specific contract, the survey found.
“The biggest issue facing designers is that many companies are not required to have a portfolio, and most designers don’t want to work with a portfolio,” the study states.
Another key reason graphic designers were making more than their peers was the way they were compensated.
While the majority (72%) of the participants agreed that a graphic designer should be compensated at a rate comparable to other professionals, only a third (33%) agreed that they should receive $100,000 or more in commissions.
“While it’s easy to argue that a $2.25 per hour salary isn’t enough for the designer to be earning enough to afford to take care of his/her own design needs, it is a question that should be asked,” the graphic design network said.
The research also found an increased number of graphic design students were opting for freelance work.
“More and more students are turning to freelance work to supplement their full-time income, which can be difficult to balance when paying graphic designers,” the report states.
“This is especially true for those who are struggling with student loan debt.”