Best Graphic Design Courses

Best Graphic Design Courses

Are you looking to start a career in graphic design? Or perhaps you’re searching for a new, exciting hobby?

Here are 10 of the best online graphic design courses that will arm you with all the tools for creative success, regardless of your final goals.

What Do You Need to Be a Graphic Designer?

Before enrolling on one of the best online graphic design courses, you must first consider what you need to be a great graphic designer.

Soft Skills

  • Perseverance and patience – Graphic design is a skill that takes years to master, with demands that constantly evolve. Therefore, to succeed in this area, you must be willing to put in the time to practice and develop your skills.

  • Communication – A career in graphic design means you will have to deal with a range of individuals, from photographers to project managers to business owners. Therefore, having excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, is essential.

  • Responsibility – Whether you work freelance or for a design agency, you will have an element of autonomy over your work. This means you must be responsible for your actions and happy to work independently.

Equipment and Software

  • Every graphic designer needs a great laptop. Your computer must have plenty of processing power, necessary for running the large design programs.

  • An external hard drive – Most of us have experienced the horror of losing vital files when our computers have become corrupted. So, ensuring you can safely save a copy of your work is integral, especially if you intend to build a career in design.

  • Creative software – Most designers choose the Adobe suite, which is considered the industry standard. Although an expensive monthly outlay, you will find the creative process somewhat impossible without it.

  • An excellent home office set-up – A comfortable desk set-up is imperative regardless of if you’re using your skills to offer freelance services or merely enjoying your new hobby. An ergonomic desk and chair will make life much easier, and most designers invest in a quality mouse.

  • Some designers also choose to purchase a camera, tablet and a large, high-definition monitor.

How to Choose a Graphic Design Course

Choosing the perfect graphic design course is essential.

First, you must consider your experience level. There are many classes aimed at beginners, focusing on the fundamentals of design and gaining an understanding of the software.

Of course, your budget will also determine your choice. Luckily, there are various free online graphic design courses, which are helpful when assessing whether a career in graphic design is for you.

How to Improve Your Graphic Design Skills Alongside Your Course

Becoming a great graphic designer takes time.

Learning the tricks of the trade can be challenging, but experimenting with different designs and techniques is the best way to enhance your skills.

If you’re serious about building a career in graphic design, the best way to improve is to practice with any free time you have.

Our Pick of the 10 Best Courses

1. Udemy – Graphic Design Masterclass

Best for: Those starting a career in design
Time to complete: 26 hours of lectures provided
Price: $59.99

The Udemy Graphic Design Masterclass is one of the most comprehensive online graphic design classes available.

The course starts with lessons covering the basics of Adobe Photoshop.

Small branding projects are introduced once you are comfortable with the software, inviting you to create flyers and logos.

Interestingly, the final module on the course teaches you how to ‘find your design niche’.

This highlights how this rounded course goes beyond teaching the creative elements of design, helping you with personal business development.

Upon completion, students are awarded a graphic design certificate to help those beginning their careers show their integrity.

Amazingly, the course is regularly updated with fresh content, and a single purchase entitles you to lifetime access to these new lectures.

Visit Udemy – Graphic Design Masterclass

2. Udemy – Full Branding Design Process

Best for: Those wanting to advance their skills
Time to complete: Six and a half hours of lectures provided
Price: $59.99

The Udemy Full Branding Design Process course is perfect for those with basic graphic design skills who want to scale up their knowledge.

The Full Branding Design Process takes you further than the fundamentals of design and teaches you how to brand an entire company.

You can expect first to cover broader elements of graphic design, including color, typography and alignment.

However, this course quickly moves onto more niche and ‘real-world’ graphics elements, including logos, social media campaigns and websites.

Breaking into creative industries is tough. So, for aspiring professional graphic designers, the knowledge and certification from this course may provide the springboard into full-time employment.

In total, this course contains 47 lectures and two downloadable resources, giving you everything you need to kick start your career.

Visit Udemy – Full Branding Design Process

Best Graphic Design Courses
Best Graphic Design Courses

3. SkillShare – Adobe Photoshop CC – Essentials Training Course

Best for: Graphic design beginners
Time to complete: 10 hours
Price: $32 per month (first month free)

This Essentials Training Course includes 88 lessons for the complete Adobe Photoshop beginner. All you need is access to the software, and you can get started with this immersive course.

As well as the video lectures, this course provides you with heaps of exercises to practice what you have learned. Additionally, SkillShare actively promotes its online community, encouraging learners to inspire each other.

SkillShare is a monthly subscription and classes or courses cannot be purchased as a one-off.

Visit SkillShare – Adobe Photoshop CC – Essentials Training Course

4. SkillShare – Adobe InDesign CC – Essentials Training Course

Best for: Those interested in print
Time to complete: Seven hours
Price: $32 per month (first month free)

InDesign is the pièce de resistance for those who specialize in print marketing.

This in-depth course includes 78 lessons on the Adobe software.

It starts by differentiating the program from the often-favored Illustrator and Photoshop and explains precisely why to choose this option.

The short, snappy lessons then explain every tool available on InDesign. Daniel Scott, a certified Adobe expert, teaches you how to create the best print publications, including flyers, brochures and leaflets.

As with most of the SkillShare courses, this offering contains plenty of exercises for you to practice the skills you have learned. These include the creation of business cards, a company newsletter and a business flyer.

Visit SkillShare – Adobe InDesign CC – Essentials Training Course

5. SkillShare – Adobe Illustrator CC – Essentials Training

Best for: Adobe Illustrator
Time to complete: Seven hours
Price: $32 per month (first month free)

Alongside Photoshop, Illustrator tends to be the most used software for graphic designers. Illustrator is excellent for building projects from a completely blank canvas and is generally used to produce logos, posters and other icons.

The Illustrator Essentials Training is broken into 41 bite-sized lectures, which can be accessed at any time and watched as many times as necessary – great for those who are fitting graphic design into their busy schedule.

This course contains eight hands-on projects, which are a great opportunity to practice what you have learned so far. These tasks allow you to experiment with designing patterns, typography and master the freehand brushes.

Visit SkillShare – Adobe Illustrator CC – Essentials Training

6. Coursera – Graphic Design Specialization

Best for: Those wanting to advance their career
Time to complete: Six months (suggested three hours per week)
Price: Varies depending on specialization, and financial aid is available

The Graphic Design Specialization course is made up of five different courses.

The first focuses on the fundamentals of design. The next are typography, imagery and the history of design. The final course is a deep dive into branding a new company.

The courses are 100% online and recorded, meaning they can be taken entirely at your own pace. However, to complete it, you need access to the entire Adobe suite. Otherwise, you may miss out on some of the vital elements.

This California Institute of Arts course is taught by some of the best instructors in the world and is aimed at those building a career in design rather than those searching for a hobby.

Visit Coursera – Graphic Design Specialization

7. LinkedIn Learning – Graphic Design Foundations: Layout and Composition

Best for: Those looking to advance their skills
Time to complete: Two hours
Price: $29.99 per month (first month free)

This shorter LinkedIn Learning course is aimed at those with a strong working knowledge of graphic design software.

It takes a deep dive into layout, one of the most underrated yet powerful tools for strong graphic design.

The course contains seven modules, each exploring a different element of composition. No lecture exceeds four minutes in length, making the content digestible and easy to engage with.

The skills learned throughout this course are relevant to all areas of design, including websites, posters and even motion graphics.

Visit LinkedIn Learning – Graphic Design Foundations: Layout and Composition

8. LinkedIn Learning – Introduction to Graphic Design

Best for: Those committed to developing their skills
Time to complete: Four and a half hours
Price: $29.99 per month (first month free)

This is an excellent graphic design course for those new to the creative field.

The course is broken into seven manageable sections, each containing multiple short classes.

The first four chapters focus on the fundamentals of design, whereas the final three take a deeper look into the popular software used.

The platform encourages a community of learners, with a Q+A functionality to allow students to interact with each other.

The LinkedIn monthly subscription unlocks over 16,000 courses, covering both hard and soft skills for any industry.

Many of the graphic design courses on LinkedIn Learning are aimed at advanced students.

However, this course is great for those just getting into the industry.

Visit LinkedIn Learning – Introduction to Graphic Design

9. Canva – Graphic Design Basics

Best for: The complete beginner
Time to complete: Six hours
Price: Free

Canva’s Graphic Design Basics is one of the best free graphic design courses around.

Rather than jumping straight in, this course aims to teach you the ‘why’ behind your design techniques, helping you to think like true designers, and unlock your personal style.

This course is broken down into 12 short videos of around two minutes in length, teaching you everything, including font, alignment and color.

Each lesson comes with its own activity, allowing you to put your new knowledge into practice.

Visit Canva – Graphic Design Basics

10. Envato Tuts+ – Multiple Courses

Best for: Beginner designers
Time to complete: 10 minutes to four hours
Price: Subscription $16.50 per month

Envato Tuts+ is a one-stop-shop for creative tutorials.

The website works on a subscription basis, entitling you to a massive range of tutorials, courses and guides.

With a staggering 22,000 tutorials to choose from, Envato Tuts+ is the best option for the all-around creative.

Their offerings include tutorials on photography, graphics, illustration and web design. Their lessons are practical and to the point, without any of the ‘fluff’, often used to bulk out videos.

Visit Envato Tuts+ – Multiple Courses

Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking to explore a new hobby or advance your design career, there is an online graphic designing course for you.

Many subscription services (such as SkillShare and LinkedIn Learning) offer the best value for money, with the monthly payment granting access to thousands of courses.

For those who want to begin a career in design, choose an accredited course that offers a certification. This is an excellent way to verify your skills to future employers.

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