When you hear the term graphic design, it may sound like a very niche skill and industry. But if you think about it, there are elements of graphic design all around us. Wherever you look, you will find design elements of graphic design, if you pay close enough attention. Whether you go to a restaurant or look at a signboard while you are driving on the highway, these are all examples of graphic design. Somebody put their mind to it and decided that the signboard should be of this color and the typography should be of a certain kind so a driver’s attention can be drawn to it without distracting them from the road. What’s more, it is also a flourishing industry for one to consider a career in. Graphic design in and of itself can be a solid career, but it is also used in web designing, animation, filmmaking, and more! The good news is, if you are interested in graphic design or have even the slightest inclination to learn more about the art, there are several ways to do that. The following are some of the best online graphic design courses that you can consider.
Graphic Design Masterclass — Learn GREAT Design
The Graphic Design Masterclass course is available on Udemy and is one of the best graphic design courses you can take online. Through the course, you will be taken through important concepts like layout and composition, editing, typography, color theory, and more. In this course, you will also be taught certain basics of Adobe Photoshop because you cannot be a graphic designer without learning to embrace Photoshop wholeheartedly. Do not be afraid! Once you get acquainted, you will realize the beast is your best friend. Under Photoshop, you will be going over photo editing techniques, manipulations, and more. You will also try your hands with Adobe Illustrator, where you will be taught to use the pen with complete expertise and style. At the end of the course, you will create an event flyer in which you will apply all the skills that you have learned during the course.
Price: $7 (discounted price!)
OpenCourseWare, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the best educational institutions in the world and has immense repute in higher education. The institute also hosts OpenCourseWare, which is a democratic and accessible platform for people from all walks of life to acquire a vocational education. The graphic design courses hosted on this platform are one such example. The design courses, however, are mostly related to other disciplines and topics but they will still be helpful for you, even if you are not studying the other topic. For example, a graphic design course may supplement a web coding course, but you can still take the design course without applying for the web coding course. The course will also make you more adept with the practical aspects of design as opposed to simply learning theory. This is a great resource for pursuing a variety of different disciplines and once you visit the website, you will see how well organized it is.
Canva Design School
The Canva Design School is another great resource to learn everything you need to know about design. What is great about this platform is that not only will you be learning design theory, you can put everything you have learned to use by experimenting with the hundreds of templates that the platform offers. Simply play around with the templates the whole day until you are satisfied with what you see. There are a few different courses the school has to offer, such as ‘Creativity’, ‘How to Build a Brand’ and more. While they may not seem like graphic design courses, they are certainly adjacent courses and you will benefit a great deal from pursuing them. You will learn how to build your color palettes, how to create a logo and design your brand in a way that attracts eyeballs. The courses are presented in the form of a blog post and there are links and examples included in the piece to supplement the course material.
Creative Pro is a design magazine that you can access online. Not only is it a great resource for design enthusiasts, but it also has a helpful “How-To” section that is extremely helpful for those who aspire to learn graphic design and other fundamentals of design. The section is full of articles and blog posts that detail common problems that graphic designers may encounter and how you can solve them. A lot of the posts and videos are directed at experienced graphic designers but there are plenty of specific resources for beginners as well. Once you go to the website, however, you may find it a tad confusing because it has not been organized into neat categories. So if you are starting from scratch, you will not find a detailed lesson plan that you can follow. However, if you have a topic in mind you can search using the bar easily.
Graphic Design Specialization
Graphic Design Specialization is a course offered by the California Institute of the Arts on Coursera and is one of the best courses for you to pick for a specialization. This is the first course in a series of courses and will introduce you to the fundamentals. Through the specialization, you will learn about the historical context in which graphic design emerged as an industry, how you can communicate a message effectively through image-making and how much difference typography makes in a poster or piece of art. At the end of the course, you will be expected to take on a capstone project in which you will apply all the skills that you have acquired throughout the course.
Price: Members can enroll for free
Graphic Design Elements for Non-Designers
So far, the discussion has been about graphic design and those who have an eye for design. But design is something one encounters daily without being trained for it. So how does somebody who does not have an eye for design recognize design elements in every day, and especially for work? This is a hands-on specialization course that will acquaint any novice or amateur with graphic design elements. In this course, you will learn about color theory, typography and several other basics of graphic design. The course has been designed keeping in mind an audience who does not have the slightest clue about graphic design. But this lack of knowledge need not be a handicap. This course has been tailor-made especially to fill those gaps in your knowledge and this way, you will be able to absorb a lot more.
Price: Members can enroll for free
The Complete Graphic Design Theory for Beginners Course
The Complete Graphic Design Theory for Beginners Course is a great module for you to pursue if you have even a vague interest in graphic design. This course will take you from the fundamentals of graphic design to more advanced concepts. It will create a strong foundation for you to experiment and explore ideas and practices on your own. Through the course, you will be acquainted with concepts like layout, branding, typography, color, etc. Even if you have no prior experience, this is a course that will take you by the hand and teach you all that an intermediate level graphic designer should know. The course has over 4.5 hours of video tutorials and you will also be given certain practical projects so you can test your skills as you go along. Some of the topics you will cover include user experience, logo design, copyright and the legalities of graphic design, branding, and a lot more.
Price: $6.30 (discounted price!)
Graphic Design is a part of a longer course in the Effective Communications Specialization and is offered by the University of Colorado, Boulder on Coursera. This is a popular course that also has takers in industry professionals and corporates around the world. This is a highly practical course that equips you with the wherewithal to know how to create effective PowerPoint presentations, pamphlets and other forms of communication. Once you have taken up this course, you will find that your work and presentations look a lot sharper and you can get your point across with greater ease. The course is also extremely easy to follow. There are video tutorials that you can keep going back to, to clarify key concepts. You will also be given assignments for which you do not require any extra resources apart from basics like Microsoft Powerpoint and Google Slides. If you are not an Android user, Apple Keynote is a perfectly good substitute. You will also get acquainted with slightly more complex tools like InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
Price: Members can enroll for free