Check out the 2005 salary survey because it has some unusual surprises. The average salary for a design manager last year was about $75,000 but the top rate was $192,000. For industrial designers, the aveage was lower, at $53,000 but the top rate was higher at $210,000. Graphic designers had even lower average salaries at $43,000 and the top rate was $185,000. In interactive design where the average was $57,000 and the top salary was $200,000. Clearly, there's a star system at work in design. The spread between average and top in design management was smaller than in industrial or graphic design.
More importantly, the top salaries in 2005 were substantially higher than they were in 2004. Once the Coroflot survey for 2006 is completed, we'll get a better look at recent trends. I'm betting that both average and top salaries are up significantly this year.