How Many Hours Do Graphic Designers Work?

The actual number of hours a graphic designer works may vary based on a few different factors. In this guide we'll cover each of those factors and how many hours a graphic designer can expect to work.

If you’re considering a career in graphic design or are currently a graphic designer and wondering how many hours graphic designers normally work. After 10 years of working as a professional graphic designer, I can say that the number of hours most graphic designers work can depend on a few different factors.

On average a graphic designers work anywhere between 40-50 hours per week. This number can increase or decrease depending on what kind of company they work for, whether they work on a contract or freelance basis, and the type of work they do.

In this article, I’ll discuss some of the factors that can increase or decrease the number of hours graphic designers work such as:

  • Type of company
  • Part-time graphic work
  • Freelance graphic design work
  • Overtime for graphic designers
Graphic designer at computer working

How Many Hours Do Graphic Designers Work? 

I interviewed 5 professional graphic designers from our Creatives Only Slack group and found that the average number of hours worked amongst all five graphic designers per day was 9.5 hours. While that number can vary each day, we can use it to determine that an average work week can be around 47.5 hours per week.

If you’re interested in tracking your time while you work on graphic design projects, you should check out my free Notion templates which allow you to better manage and understand how much time you’re spending on your work. My templates are all built in Notion which is free to use and a great addition to any graphic design workflow. You can check out my free timesheet tracker template here.

Graphic designer working at an agency

Working Hours for a Graphic Designers at an Agency

Working as a designer at graphic design agencies can come with the stigma that they will work more hours than most graphic designers. And to this day I still find this to be true. After briefly working at a design agency myself, as well as speaking with friends also in the design and creative industry. I hear countless stories about the long hours and tight deadlines.

Not only are graphic designers working on multiple projects from the normal working hours of 9:00 to 5:00, but many graphic designers are also taking their work home to meet deadlines. Graphic designers that work at agencies can expect to work anywhere from 9 to 10 to sometimes even 12-hour days during busy periods. That can add up to potentially 60 hours per week.

Now it is important to note that working at an agency isn't always bad and this isn't the case for every agency.  Working at an agency as a designer does come with its pros and cons. Some of the pros normally associated with working at an agency can include creating high quality work that is more fulfilling or pushing the boundaries of what is normally seen in the market. As well as the wide variety of client work that they can potentially come in contact with. 

Above all, working at an agency offers valuable experience as a designer. Not only about how the design industry works but how the business of design is conducted when working with multiple clients. This can be very helpful if you intend on one day starting your own agency.

A team of graphic designers working together

Working Hours for an In-house Graphic Designers

An in-house designer is a graphic designer that is working within a design department of a company or brand. These graphic design roles are usually looked at as more slow-moving because they are also working alongside other departments within the company such as marketing, sales, customer service, and operations. Because of this, there is less of an expectation to work beyond the normal work hours if other departments are not also working.

These graphic design roles can expect to work 8-hour day a majority of the time. An average work week can total 40 hours per week. However, there may be the occasional day here and there when a designer and their team may need to spend a couple of extra hours to complete a project within a set deadline.

Now as someone who's worked the majority of their graphic design career on in house design teams. I know for a fact that there will be days when you will need to either stay late or take some work home with you so don’t count that out entirely. Of course working with as in house designer does offer a bit more job security.

A part-time graphic designer at their desk

Working Hours for a Part-time Graphic Designers

Part-time graphic designers are usually graphic designers that work closely with a client or company under an agreed amount of hours per week, month, and sometimes day. Working hours for part-time graphic designers can range from anywhere between 10 to 30 hours per week depending on the client or company's allotted budget.

I have personally worked with a number of clients under a part-time agreement and I find it to be very fun. The biggest advantage of working as a part-time designer is establishing a number of working hours that work for both you and the client. This is a great way to work closely with the client and still maintain a healthy work-life balance. This is also a great way for many designers to test out if they would like freelance work in the future.

A freelance graphic designer working at their desk

Working Hours for a Freelance Graphic Designers

The working hours for freelance designers  or self employed designers can vary greatly. I view freelance designers as a combination of a small agency and working as a part-time designer. This is because a freelance designers can choose to either work alongside in house design teams or seek out their own clients. Ultimately freelance designers choose their work schedule which can also sometimes mean less job security.

If you're a freelance graphic designer that chooses to work alongside a company's design team, you will then most likely have to mirror that design team's working hours. Depending on the agreed amount of time and the type of company you choose to work for, a freelance designers work anywhere from 20 to the normal 40-hours a week.

If you're a freelance designer that chooses to seek out their own clients. The amount of working hours will vary depending on how many clients you have, the type of work that you're doing, and how well you're able to manage your time. At the beginning of 2022 I decided to become a freelance designer and since then I find myself normally working anywhere from 6 to 7 hours a day Monday through Thursday. Again it is important to acknowledge that the amount of working hours as a freelance designer will vary greatly.

If you would like to see an example of what I'm talking about then you should check out my article where I interviewed five professional graphic designers, some freelance designers and some in house designers, from our For Creatives Only Slack group. In this article, I asked each designer to outline what a normal work schedule looks like for them and the results are surprising. You can read more of that article here.

How Many Hours a Week Should I be Working as a Graphic Designer?

Graphic designers that work as full time employees can expect to work at least 40 hours per week. As I mentioned above, that number can increase to up to 60 hours depending on the type of work you do and company you work.

How Much Overtime do Graphic Designers Typically Work?

Working overtime as a graphic designer can sometimes a rare but there are opportunities where graphic designers can work overtime. For example, freelance graphic designers or designers who are contracted for an agreed amount of time of 40 hours per week will sometimes be asked to work over the weekend. Depending on the company and how they are paying the designer, the time spent working over the weekend will be applied as overtime based on the agreed upon contract.

However, most designers who do not fall within these categories will miss out on the opportunity to work overtime as most companies in the design space do not offer it.

How Do I Manage My Time as a Graphic Designer?

There are a ton of project management tools currently out in the market that allow you to manage your time as a graphic designer. Tools such as Trello and Asana are great but can sometimes be too complex for many designers.

The one tool I recommend to most designers and even experienced designers is Notion. Notion is a great free tool that not only works for managing your time on design projects but it fits in with organizing your daily life.

I have created a few free templates that you can try out to manage your graphic design and freelance work. All of my free templates are built using Notion and include a timesheet template, invoice template, and a full CRM template.

You can check out all of my free templates using this link here.

Final Thoughts

If you're considering a career as a graphic designer or currently a designer and you need help with your portfolio or applying to jobs then you should consider signing up for a free virtual portfolio review with me. During our virtual portfolio reviews, we go over how you can better present your work and any questions you may have about the design industry. you can sign up using this link here.

I also video reply to any questions I get on my TikTok page here

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Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to use to purchase. These are products I’ve either personally used or tested and stand behind. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only.
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