Unlock Your Graphic Design Potential
Whether embarking on your graphic design journey or aiming to elevate your existing skills, you’re in luck. The recent start of the Linearity Curve Academy with free course materials provides an excellent opportunity to explore the world of graphic design.
We’ve compiled a list of the 16 best graphic design courses to help you make the most of this exciting field.
In today’s digital age, acquiring knowledge in graphic design is more accessible than ever. You can now enroll in online classes from leading universities and experts worldwide, breaking down geographical barriers and expanding your horizons.
This selection of graphic design courses caters to a range of skill levels and interests. Whether you’re a beginner looking to master the basics or a seasoned designer aiming to refine your craft, these courses offer valuable insights, practical knowledge, and hands-on experience.
Choosing the Right Graphic Design Course
Selecting the right educational course is critical in advancing your graphic design skills and achieving your career goals.
With many graphic design courses available, it can be tough to determine the best fit for your needs. To help you become a professional-level graphic designer, we’ve curated a list of 16 exceptional online graphic design courses.
These courses encompass various offerings from universities, online course platforms, and industry experts. They cater to various skill levels and are designed to elevate your graphic design portfolio.
Whether you’re looking to enhance your layout and creative processes, stay current with design trends, or earn a certificate to showcase your expertise, these courses have you covered.
Many of these courses offer completion certificates you can proudly share on your profile or resume. These certificates validate your learning and demonstrate your skills and areas of specialization.
They signal your commitment to continuous personal and professional growth, which potential employers and clients highly regard.
Engaging in ongoing learning is a means of skill improvement and a way to remain updated on the latest design trends and tools. It positions you at the forefront of the industry, ensuring you’re well-equipped to meet the demands of the ever-evolving world of graphic design.
Pursuing continued learning, you’ll refine your skills and establish a reputation as a knowledgeable and adaptable graphic designer, ready to tackle the profession’s challenges and make your mark in the creative world.
What is a graphic design certificate?
Simply put, a graphic design certificate signifies completing a specific graphic design course. It’s essential to note that holding such a certificate doesn’t automatically qualify you as a graphic design or illustration expert, nor does it make you a professional designer by default.
It indicates that you’ve engaged in hands-on learning and established a solid foundation in graphic design theory.
As you’ll discover in the list of design courses below, online offerings cover various aspects of the graphic design process. Some courses cater to beginners, while others are designed for those with more experience in the field.
The flexibility of online courses enables you to tailor your learning to your skill level and time constraints. Many of these courses are created by industry experts who share their knowledge and real-world projects, allowing you to learn from the best in the business.
Your educational journey may involve taking multiple courses addressing different facets of graphic design, including graphic design fundamentals, professional logo design, identity design, publication design, digital design project management, and visual communication.
Once you grasp the fundamentals of design and acquire essential skills, you can explore courses that delve deeper into the creative process and its practical application in graphic design.
The graphic design course landscape is extensive, and to facilitate your extensive development as a creative design specialist, we’ve hand-picked 16 top graphic design courses. We’ve categorized them into three groups:
1. Intro to Graphic Design Courses
2. Graphic Design Courses for Beginners
3. Intermediate, In-Depth Graphic Design Courses
By selecting courses from these categories, you can chart a learning path that aligns with your goals and ambitions in graphic design.
Graphic design courses for beginners
Last but not least, don’t miss the graphic design courses available at Grey Academy. Our courses are designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the ever-evolving world of graphic design.
At Grey Academy, we’re passionate about nurturing your creative talents and helping you turn your passion for design into a rewarding career. Our graphic design courses are tailored to meet the needs of both beginners and seasoned designers looking to enhance their skills.
Our responsibility to keep up with the latest design trends and technologies sets Grey Academy apart. We understand that the design field evolves rapidly, and to succeed, you need to be equipped with the most current tools and knowledge.
Our expert instructors and industry professionals bring real-world experience into the classroom, ensuring you receive practical insights and guidance.
Whether you’re interested in mastering industry-standard design software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, or you want to delve into more specialized areas such as web design, motion graphics, or branding, our diverse range of courses has you covered.
You’ll gain hands-on experience and create a stunning portfolio that showcases your abilities to potential clients or employers.
Moreover, our online format allows you to learn at your own pace, making it convenient for those with busy schedules. You can access course materials, tutorials, and assignments from anywhere, enabling you to customize your learning experience to fit your lifestyle.
Invest in your graphic design education today at Grey Academy and unlock a world of creative possibilities. Whether you aspire to work as a freelance designer or in-house designer or launch your design agency, our courses are your pathway to success in the dynamic world of graphic design. Join Grey Academy and let your creativity soar.
2. The 101 vector design course
Your free 101 Vector Design course on Curve Academy, led by your in-house designer, Aysel, offers an invaluable hands-on learning experience. Aysel expertly navigates students through the world of vector design on the iPad.
The course is thoughtfully divided into two segments: beginner and intermediate. In the first part, Aysel provides comprehensive guidance on the Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator) interface, covering its essential tools and features.
Each brief episode includes downloadable files to facilitate the completion of a design project. Students will have five new designs to add to their portfolios proudly upon completing part one.
This course underscores your commitment to fostering creative talent and empowers aspiring designers with practical skills that can be immediately applied in their graphic design journeys.
In this course, you’ll acquire a range of essential skills to bolster your proficiency in vector design. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Understanding Vectors: You’ll delve into the world of vectors, grasping their significance and various applications.
- Effortless Curve Interface Navigation: Navigating the Curve interface will become second nature as you become acquainted with its ins and outs.
- Mastering Vital Vector Tools: Learn how to adeptly wield the most critical vector tools, enabling you to craft virtually any design your imagination can conjure.
- Colors and Palettes: Discover the art of utilizing colors, color effects, and color palettes to bring vibrancy and depth to your designs.
- Enhancing Workflow with Key Gestures: Familiarize yourself with the most important gestures to streamline your workflow, saving you valuable time.
- Composition and Color Theory: Dive into design theory, focusing on composition and color, which are fundamental to creating captivating visual content.
The ability to create compelling vector graphics is a skill that holds immense value for creative professionals. This course will expand your knowledge and open doors to new career opportunities.
Each chapter is structured for easy comprehension, and exercises our professional designers develop accompany the lessons. You can learn from your progress, pause, rewind, and revisit the content as often as needed.
So, what’s holding you back? It’s time to embark on your design journey. Ready, set, design!
3. Kadenze: Introduction to graphic design
What better way to kick off this list than with an introductory graphic design course led by Brockett Horne and Ellen Lupton, esteemed Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) faculty members? This online course covers a wide spectrum of topics, from the “Origins of Text and Graphic Design” to “International Styles” and “Cultural Revolutions.”
Available on Kadenze, this course is an excellent starting point for building a strong foundation in graphic design. It delves into the historical roots of graphic design and offers insights into its future evolution.
This course is particularly suitable for beginners, allowing you to learn at your own pace and comfort.
Comprising seven sessions, each requiring approximately six hours of commitment, you can anticipate dedicating at least 40 hours to this course.
To enroll, you’ll need access to image creation software and the capability to upload file formats like .jpg, .jpeg, or .png for the various assignments in each session.
Additional skills such as scanning, photography, or hand drawing can be advantageous.
While the course is designed with beginners in mind, the introductory phase is brisk and includes brief quizzes to assess your knowledge. It encourages you to use your newly acquired skills and begin creating.
The course is available in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Castilian, Russian, Chinese, and Portuguese, with video transcripts provided.
Some of the topics explored in the seven sessions encompass cubism, futurism, dada, typography, and publishing.
The great news is that the course is free to enroll. For those interested in obtaining a certificate, upgrading to Kadenze’s premium membership (priced at $20 per month) is required. Upon completing the course, you’ll receive a certificate as part of the premium membership package.
If you’re eager to embark on your graphic design journey, this course is an excellent starting point. Enroll now and explore the fascinating world of graphic design.
4. Udemy: Introduction to graphic design
If the Kadenze course doesn’t quite match your preferences or if you’re looking to complement it with another introductory course, here’s a viable option.
You can simultaneously enroll in Udemy’s “Introduction to Graphic Design” course or take it right after the Kadenze course to broaden your understanding.
Udemy has long been a go-to platform for individuals eager to acquire knowledge in various fields, and they offer an excellent free design course.
This course is tailored for beginners who aspire to create their online design portfolio. You should have access to Adobe Photoshop, making it an excellent choice if you’ve already dabbled in image editing. The course covers essential principles and elements needed for effective design creation.
The “Introduction to Graphic Design” crash course encompasses 11.5 hours of on-demand video content, provides a certificate of completion, and is accessible on mobile devices and TVs. While the price may initially seem a bit high at €94.99, it’s worth noting that this fee grants you full lifetime access.
This course is an ideal choice for those looking to kickstart a rewarding career in graphic design. Moreover, Udemy offers a plethora of other design courses.
Upon completing this course, you’ll receive tailored recommendations for additional tutorials based on your specific interests.
So, whether you’re just beginning your graphic design journey or seeking to enhance your skills, Udemy’s “Introduction to Graphic Design” course offers valuable insights and knowledge to help you succeed in the field.
5. Coursera: Graphic design specialization by CalArts
CalArts’ Graphic Design Specialization program, available on Coursera, is highly regarded within the design industry. This program typically requires about three work hours per week and spans six months. You can enroll in this graphic design certification program for free.
This specialization program is well-suited for beginners with basic graphic design knowledge and have created some simple design projects. Throughout the program, students progress to creating more complex design projects.
The program curriculum covers essential design principles, the history of design, effective communication through image-making, and the fundamentals of typography creation.
These comprehensive online courses also delve into interface design, motion graphics, and editorial design.
The foundational skills acquired through this program can be invaluable for those working on a university capstone project as part of their degree program.
Furthermore, all the designs you create during this course will be excellent additions to your professional portfolio.
CalArts’ Graphic Design Specialization program on Coursera comprises five courses:
- Fundamentals of Graphic Design
- Introduction to Typography
- Introduction to Image-making
- Ideas from the History of Graphic Design
- Brand New Brand
Upon completing this enriching program, you’ll have a contemporary design portfolio to showcase your work and a solid understanding of graphic design strategies that can be applied to real-world projects.
In essence, this program perfectly balances practical design application and design theory. Coursera provides a certificate of completion upon finishing the program, which you can include on your resume to validate your expertise in graphic design.
6. SkillShare: Great graphic design
“Great Graphic Design: Create Emotional, Exciting Typographic Art” on Skillshare is a valuable choice for individuals looking to enhance their graphic design skills.
This course equips you with essential tools to make the most of social media as an opportunity for graphic design. It focuses on designing social media platforms using an iPad.
The short course comprises 12 lessons with 1.25 hours of video content. These lessons cover the fundamental elements of design, emphasizing core principles and the use of design tools.
In this course, you’ll explore how to create color schemes that convey emotions effectively. Instructor Sophia Yeshi, an experienced designer, provides various tips and tricks for making your Adobe Illustrator effects more engaging and dynamic.
The course’s objectives include:
- Enhancing your creative skills.
- Gaining a deeper understanding of shape and color.
- Learning advanced methods for combining graphic design elements.
Additionally, Nic Squirrel, an inspiring artist and illustrator from the UK, offers a Skillshare class on creating patterns using Curve.
“Great Graphic Design: Create Emotional, Exciting Typographic Art” provides a practical and creative approach to graphic design in the context of social media and digital platforms.
7. Udemy: Logo design fundamentals
Udemy’s “Logo Design Fundamentals” course is a great resource for graphic designers looking to enhance their logo design skills. It offers valuable insights into creating logos efficiently and interacting with clients effectively.
The concise course takes only 49 minutes and consists of 16 lessons. These lessons cover the entire logo design process, from understanding logo layout to finalizing a branded logo.
The course emphasizes the fundamentals of logo design and supplies a step-by-step guide to developing a branded logo. Additionally, it helps you prepare your logo for printing.
Course instructor Lauren leads you through this educational journey, ensuring you gain essential knowledge and practical skills.
To enroll in this course, you’ll need Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Reader software and a basic understanding of the design cycle. Whether starting a design business or simply looking to create a personal logo, this course can be highly beneficial.
If you prefer learning on SkillShare, you can also explore Ben Nielson’s course on designing logos using Curve, which provides an alternative approach to logo design education.
8. Coursera: Graphic design course by the University of Colorado Boulder
The University of Colorado Boulder offers a free Graphic Design course on Coursera as part of the Effective Communication: Writing, Design, and Presentation expert.
This course is a valuable resource for beginners and individuals looking to update their graphic design knowledge.
One of the notable advantages of this course is that it doesn’t require any prior preparation, making it accessible for those who want to explore a career in graphic design.
It’s also suitable for graphic design students seeking university credits or looking to enhance their skills for capstone projects.
The course provides comprehensive materials that equip you to work on real design projects. David Underwood, an experienced illustrator, designer, lecturer, and teaching expert at the University of Colorado Boulder, is the course instructor.
Completing this course will establish a solid foundation for individuals aspiring to enter the creative industry without a substantial budget for high-level training.
While prior experience in layout software such as PowerPoint, Keynote, or Adobe InDesign is beneficial, it’s not a strict requirement.
This course serves as a challenging primer, covering fundamental design theory, the history of graphic design, and the design project development process. It’s an excellent starting point for those interested in graphic design.
9. Will Paterson’s graphic design tutorials
Will Paterson, a freelance graphic designer specializing in logo design and brand identity, offers free graphic design tutorials on his YouTube channel.
These tutorials are a valuable and easily accessible resource for individuals looking to start their graphic design journey without enrolling in paid courses.
Will’s content caters to beginners seeking to learn the fundamentals and provides valuable insights for intermediate and advanced designers looking to advance their skills.
Will Paterson has a course on Curve, focusing on working with this graphic design program. Specifically, the course teaches how to utilize the Pen Tool in the Curve app, which is available for iPad and Mac users.
Will Paterson provides tutorial series for Curve and many other prominent platforms like Adobe Creative Cloud.
Suppose you wish to gain proficiency in using tools within Adobe CC, including software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Affinity Designer, Adobe XD, and more. In that case, Will’s tutorials offer an excellent starting point for your learning journey.
10. Masterclass: David Carson teaches graphic design
Masterclass is known for offering courses taught by top experts in various fields. David Carson, a pioneering designer in graphic design famous for his unconventional approach to design, teaches a Graphic Design Masterclass on the platform.
In this course, he shares his insights on using intuition and creativity to create compelling design work. The 11-video lesson course covers typography, photography, logo design, collage art, magazine layouts, and working with clients.
It’s a valuable resource for enhancing graphic design skills with fresh inspiration and a unique perspective. This course has no prerequisites; you only need creative materials and media access.
To access this course and others on Masterclass, there is an annual subscription fee of $180.
11. CreativeLive: Art & design
Creative Live is an online platform offering creative workshops for designers and artists.
They provide daily On-Air Art and design designs, including paid and free courses catering to beginners and experienced creatives looking to enhance their skills.
The platform offers free video tutorials and live events, allowing you to reserve a spot to access educational content at no cost. They have also extended their Health and Wellness classes for free to the creative community.
In addition, you can purchase entire courses, typically priced between $30 to $50 each. Rather, you can opt for a monthly subscription priced at $25, which grants you unlimited access to numerous courses.
Creative Live covers topics like image editing, product packaging, color palettes, custom shapes, and more.
They offer diverse courses, and some upcoming free online events include Adobe Stock for Illustration, Working Successfully with Clients, Adobe InDesign tutorials, workflow and time management tips, color fundamentals, and comprehensive guides on Adobe Illustrator CC and drawing fundamentals.
12. MIT: Graphic design lecture notes
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers a valuable resource for individuals seeking to enhance their graphic design skills. While it’s not a complete course, it provides open-source lessons from their User Interface Design and Implementation course.
These exercises are accessible for free and are particularly beneficial for aspiring designers willing to dedicate a few hours per week to personal and professional development.
MIT’s lecture notes and activities offer practical insights and examples for those looking to deepen their graphic design knowledge.
MIT also provides another interesting course on Color Design and Typography. This course enables learners to grasp fundamental design and layout principles, delve into the role of color and typography in design, and learn how to avoid common typography mistakes.
The step-by-step lessons and in-class activities serve as valuable hands-on practice opportunities.
The best part is that MIT’s open courseware is free, with no monthly subscriptions or fees. You can also download course materials, allowing you to learn at your own pace.
13. LinkedIn Learning: Become a graphic designer
LinkedIn provides a vast selection of online courses, boasting over 16,000 options taught by experts in their respective fields. They also offer personalized courses tailored to your chosen career path.
The “Become a Graphic Designer” course offered on LinkedIn is an excellent choice for building a strong foundation in graphic design.
This comprehensive course includes practical exercises using industry-standard software like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. It’s ideal for aspiring graphic designers and those interested in digital illustration.
The course comprises 11 sessions with varying durations, from brief sessions of under three minutes and progressing to more extended lessons, some lasting up to six hours. You can dedicate approximately 26 hours to complete all the course material.
The instructors for this course are seasoned professionals with expertise in education, illustration, writing, art direction, design, photography, and brand strategy.
By enrolling in this course, you’ll gain a solid understanding of graphic design fundamentals, covering typography, layout, composition, and current color trends. Additionally, the course provides dedicated sessions for mastering Adobe’s suite of design tools mentioned above.
LinkedIn offers a free test for the first month, allowing you to explore this course and other graphic design options. Completing the course also earns you a certificate of completion, which can enhance your CV and LinkedIn profile.
14. Doměstika: Minimalist graphic design for massive ideas
The online course offered on Domēstika by artist and designer Julian Montague is an excellent choice for beginners interested in honing their skills in minimalist graphic design. Minimalist design has gained significant popularity in recent years, making it a valuable skill to acquire for career development.
This Domēstika course consists of ten lessons, helping you develop a more conceptual approach to using typography and imagery to create intricate compositions.
It’s important to note that a basic understanding of Adobe Illustrator or similar vector-based software, such as Curve, is required to benefit from this course fully.
While the audio for the course is available in English, it includes subtitles in several languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, and Dutch.
The primary project for this course involves creating a set of three book covers or a fictional series of three posters, all in the same graphic style but with different themes.
Currently priced at €23.90, this course offers unlimited access for a lifetime. Upon completing the course, you’ll receive a finishing certificate that can be added to your credentials.
Intermediate, In-depth graphic design courses
1. Udemy: Learn professional 2D game graphic design in Photoshop
For individuals with experience in Photoshop and digital drawing, exploring the world of game graphics design might be an exciting option.
The “Learn Professional 2D Game Graphic Design in Photoshop” course, lasting 6.5 hours, was created by the renowned illustrator and designer Jaysen Batchelor. Please note that the course price may vary depending on discounts, with the current price at €23.99.
This comprehensive design course guides you through creating high-quality stylized backgrounds from scratch using Photoshop. These backgrounds can be utilized in games and animations, allowing you to apply your newfound skills in a practical context.
It’s essential to have a basic understanding of Adobe Photoshop for this course. Additionally, you’ll need basic drawing skills, a drawing tablet or iPad, and access to Adobe Photoshop. If you don’t have Photoshop, you can access a free 30-day trial to complete the course.
This course has helped over 60,000 learners enhance their graphic design skills in just one week. It’s especially recommended for professional designers who haven’t ventured into gaming and animation.
2. Udemy: Graphic design masterclass intermediate – The NEXT level
Udemy is a valuable resource for beginner and intermediate graphic designers. If you’re here looking for a more advanced graphic design course, you’re in luck. This course is designed for intermediate designers who want to take their design skills to the next level.
To enroll in this course, you should have a basic working knowledge of Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
The Udemy graphic design course comprises 17 hours of on-demand video lessons, covering various topics such as logo design, package design, infographics, photo manipulation, grids, and more.
If you haven’t started building your design portfolio yet, this course will also guide you in the portfolio-building process.
Regarding pricing, this course is the most expensive single course on this list. However, if you’re committed to pursuing a career in graphic design and have already reached an intermediate level, it may be a worthwhile investment.
Once you purchase the course, your access won’t expire, allowing you to revisit specific lessons if needed. The course offers mobile and TV access; you’ll receive a certificate upon completion.
3. SkillShare: Graphic design masterclass – Learn GREAT design
Available on SkillShare, the Graphic Design Masterclass is an extensive 18- and 20-minute course. It’s ideal for individuals seeking a comprehensive graphic design course with practical experience.
This course covers various graphic design skills, including color fundamentals and designing magazine layouts. It’s a valuable resource for deepening your understanding of Adobe products like InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
Currently, the course is available for $8 per month. Alternatively, you can access it by subscribing to SkillShare for $29.88 annually.
However, before committing, remember that SkillShare offers a one-month free trial. This means you can explore the Graphic Design Masterclass and other courses without any initial cost.
The bottom line
The course list provided in this article offers valuable opportunities for individuals looking to enhance their graphic design skills and advance their careers. Many of these free courses allow you to develop your expertise without a significant financial investment.
Some paid options also offer one-month free trials, enabling you to explore multiple courses during that period. This flexibility allows you to assess which courses align with your goals and preferences.
For those considering a career transition or wanting to acquire foundational skills in graphic design without pursuing a formal degree, starting with free courses is an excellent choice.
As you progress and witness personal development, consider enrolling in a graphic design boot camp or more advanced study programs. If graphic design is the right path for you, investing in a premium membership for advanced courses can help you further hone your skills.
Select the courses that best match your current knowledge and objectives, and take the first step today. With the digital space evolving rapidly, competition in graphic design is expected to intensify. Stay ahead by continuously improving your skills and knowledge.
We hope this information has inspired you to explore online courses further. If you’re interested, please review our article on 16 online illustration courses you can consider.