Graphic design is an in-demand, fast-paced profession that requires both creativity and technical skills.
Graphic designers work on a wide range of projects, from digital and print ads to product packaging, websites, mobile apps and more.
But how many hours do most graphic designers clock in per week?
The answer can vary quite a bit based on factors like industry, role, experience level, deadlines and employer.
Most graphic designers work full-time, but their schedules are often flexible to accommodate the ebbs and flows of creative work.
Typical Workweek Hours
The typical graphic designer works between 35-40 hours per week on average. This is considered a standard full-time schedule for many office jobs. However, graphic design is a creative field that often requires flexibility.
For in-house designers at companies, agencies, studios and other organizations, the hours are usually dictated by the standard workday and policies set by the employer. There is often a set range of core hours that designers are expected to be present, such as 10am - 4pm. Outside of those hours, designers may have some flexibility with when they start and end their day.
Freelance graphic designers generally take on multiple projects with different clients across industries. They end up working full-time as well, but may set their own hours more freely around client workloads and deadlines. Ultimately freelancers need to work the number of hours needed to complete projects and manage their business.
Long Hours in Agencies
Graphic designers who work at advertising, marketing or design agencies often work the longest hours, sometimes up to 50-60 hours per week during busy campaigns or leading up to major deadlines. Agency workloads and client demands tend to ebb and flow, so the hours can vary significantly.
Agencies that take on lots of tight deadlines for clients require their design teams to work late nights and weekends quite frequently. Creative directors at agencies also tend to have long hours as they oversee multiple projects and provide general guidance to designers and teams. Graphic designers may work irregular hours during peak agency times.
More Regular Schedules In-House
Graphic designers working in-house at a company usually have more regular Monday through Friday schedules. Depending on the company, in-house designers generally work between 35-45 hours each week on ongoing design needs for the business.
For example, a retail company's marketing team may have graphic designers focused on social media graphics, website design, print ads and more. These designers handle the regular design needs of the company. The hours tend to be more stable than agency work.
Flexibility in Web and Tech
Graphic designers working for web or technology companies can sometimes have more flexible schedules. Tech company cultures tend to be more focused on output than set hours.
For example, a graphic designer working on a mobile app may have freedom to set their own hours around collaborating with developers and product managers. Or web designers may be able to work odd hours if that's when they feel most productive. Workloads at tech companies ebb and flow as well, but remote work is common.
Paid Overtime Situations
While every employer is different, paid overtime for graphic designers is common at agencies and studios when workload demands extend beyond 40 hours. Some companies provide "comp time" where designers can take off additional paid time on slower weeks to make up for heavy overtime weeks.
Freelancers are generally not eligible for overtime since they set their own rates. But they earn more as they charge for all billable hours worked. Freelancers routinely work over 40 hours to manage client projects and the needs of running their business.
Options for Schedule Flexibility
One of the appealing aspects of graphic design is the flexibility that comes with the field. Many designers are able to work remotely for all or some days of the week, allowing them to better manage their schedule.
Some designers opt to work 4 longer days rather than the standard 5-day workweek. Companies focused on output and results over set hours may accommodate this. Part-time graphic design work is also an option depending on employer. The ability to control their schedule is a major perk for many designers.
The majority of graphic designers are full-time employees who work between 35-40 hours per week on average.
Graphic designers in agency settings tend to work longer hours, sometimes as much as 50-60 hours leading up to big deadlines and campaigns.
Freelancers also routinely work over 40 hours as they manage multiple clients and projects.
But graphic designers do have more schedule flexibility than many professions.
With remote work options and output-focused employers, graphic designers can often adjust their hours to accommodate workloads.
While it can be a demanding creative field, graphic designers have opportunities to tailor their schedules to fit their lifestyle.