Principal Designer Vs Senior Designer

Though their salaries differ, principal and senior graphic designers may work on development teams together, and readers will learn there are some similarities between their education levels, job growths, and duties.

Comparing Principal Designers to Senior Designers

These graphic designers may work in software or the production of various goods. Readers will see similarities in the required degrees and projected job growth for both careers. At the same time, differences in the salaries and responsibilities of these two professionals will be discussed.

Job Title Educational Requirements Average Salary* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Principal Designers Bachelor's Degree $105,984 (2017) 5% (Graphic Designers)
Senior Designers Bachelor's Degree $82,972 (2018) 5% (Graphic Designers)

Sources: *Glassdoor, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Principal Designers vs. Senior Designers

Principal and senior graphic designers may both work in office settings as they design and release advertisements, company logos, or software products. Principal designers tend to focus more on the user's experience with a software platform. Senior designers may also complete user interface work, but they focus on designing multimedia graphic layouts. It is important to note that both meet with clients to ensure the end-product will meet and exceed their expectations.

Principal Designers

Principal graphic designers lead design teams to create webpages, applications, and software in regards to how information is displayed and images are laid out. To do this, they should have an understanding of HTML5 and JavaScript because they have to take technical specifications and turn them into finished products. These leaders are responsible for creating a design strategy to push a company's goals for brand awareness and customer interaction. They research user needs to understand how to best engage with them on several types of devices. During the development process, they create conceptual documents for stakeholders.

Job responsibilities of a principal designer include:

  • Mentoring junior designers on the team
  • Ensuring the product fits requirements set by stakeholders
  • Meeting with product owner to determine the product requirements
  • Testing prototypes of the system to see how user-friendly it will be

Senior Designers

Senior graphic designers format visuals and give products artistic direction. Using software such as InDesign or Photoshop, they develop marketing materials for both print and digital media platforms and give each campaign a theme. This is especially true when the company is building its brand, as senior designers can help them establish a logo. These designers may even develop visuals for websites, which requires an understanding of how users will interact with the media. Their job is to make the website visually appealing and simple to use.

Job responsibilities of a senior designer include:

  • Developing the layout of PowerPoint presentations
  • Building relationships with vendors, such as printers and media outlets
  • Understanding common or new practices for digital designs
  • Allowing end-users to test the navigation through the website or application

Related Careers

If a search for a principal designer career brought you here, you could also research a career as a project manager, as both share the responsibility for completing projects on time. Similarly, if you're drawn to a possible future as a senior designer, you may want to consider a position as a creative director, because both determine the look and feel of the product.

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