Best Graphic Design Courses

Online Graphic Design Courses – The Top 6

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Graphic design has always been one of the more flexible professions, but it’s turned out to be even more so in the last 2 years, as many companies globally have switched to remote or hybrid working models.

The job searching site Indeed.com included graphic design in its list of best remote jobs for 2022, and the U.S Bureau of Labor expects employment in this field to continue growing during this decade. All this makes the world of graphic design so appealing.

The problem?

Many people who are interested in getting into graphic design don’t know where to begin. Though some may still take the standard path of a bachelor’s degree, others may not have the time or the resources for this.

This is where online graphic design courses step in to provide some basic background or even advanced skills, potentially kickstarting your career in this direction.

Who should take a graphic design course?

The main audience for this type of course would naturally be anyone interested in becoming a graphic designer. There are endless options for graphic designers to specialize and work in, from more basic tasks like photo editing, package and flyer design, to more advanced specializations such as website, UX and multimedia design.

Also when choosing where to work, there are several options such as design studios, advertising firms, branding companies, PR agencies, and of course any company that needs an in-house graphic designer to manage the creation of graphic materials. Many graphic designers choose to work as design freelancers, since this allows them the freedom to select the projects they work on as well as the ability to work from wherever they like. So whether this has always been your dream, or even if you just recently thought of a career change or a new direction, online graphic design courses can be a good start.

Others may be interested in learning graphic design out of pure curiosity, wanting to do some designing as a sidekick, or as an added skill to their list of abilities. For example, a web developer who often works with designers and creates websites based on their designs, might want to learn some design basics and terms in order to communicate better with the designers he works with. A photographer might want to learn how to touch up her photos on her own, instead of getting help from others for every little fix. A marketing manager might want to save some time and fix a typo in a banner ad that was created for him, without having to send it back to the designer. 

How to choose an online graphic design course?

Online courses for graphic design vary in the content they cover, the skills that they provide and the opportunities that can become available upon completing them. For example, if you’re a newbie taking a course in photoshop (the leading graphic design tool), you may become an expert in all the technical aspects of using the tool, but you will still need to have that design understanding or acquire it through additional courses. For other more experienced designers, a basic photoshop course would be pointless, while a course in advanced photoshop techniques could help them become even more professional at what they do.

Getting access to graphic design tools

Before taking courses that teach you how to work with design tools, it’s important to make sure you have access to these tools. Adobe has dominated the world of graphic design software for many years, with their flagship tool Photoshop being the most widely used. Below is an overview of the 3 tools most used for graphic design. Already have them? Jump to the list of courses.

Photoshop

the main tool traditionally used by most graphic designers globally, enables you to create and edit pixel-based images for web, mobile and print. You can combine several images into one design, crop, edit colors and balance, fix up and remove unnecessary elements and much more.

Illustrator

this tool enables you to create vector graphics, which are basically images that can be scaled to any size without losing their sharpness. This is a very useful tool for creating logos, icons and any illustration that would need to be used on different mediums and sizes.

InDesign

this is used to create documents which combine text, vectors and images all together, such as infographics, nicely designed resumes, pamphlets, reports, magazines and more.

Did You Know?

In the past, you would have had to purchase a license for these tools, which would cost you well over $1,000. Luckily for you, these days Adobe provide access to their programs with a monthly or yearly subscription starting at just $9.99, which makes it much easier to test them out if you’re still not confident that this career path is the right one for you.

Next to each of the courses below, we’ve specified which tools are need for it. If you don’t already have access to these design tools, here are some links to the most relevant plans:

Option 1: Photography plan

The name of this plan may be confusing, but it actually provides you with the cheapest access to Photoshop, for just $9.99 on the yearly plan. It only offers 20GB of cloud storage, but this should be enough for your learning phase. Note that the yearly plan has a cancellation fee if you choose to terminate the subscription early. Subscribe on the Adobe site.

Option 2: Photoshop subscription only

This basic plan costs $20.99/month on a yearly plan, or $31.49/month with no commitment. It includes 100GB of cloud storage, access to the Adobe creative community, Adobe fonts, creative cloud libraries, and Behance – the world’s largest creative network where you can get inspiration for your designs. Subscribe on the Adobe site.


Option 3: Creative Cloud All Apps plan

At $52.99/month on the annual plan, or $79.49 monthly, this plan offers the entire Adobe suite, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and many more. Subscribe on the Adobe site.

There are several other subscription plans for each one of the Adobe tools, all can be found here.

 

Let’s jump in: What are the best online graphic design courses?

Choosing the right graphic design course should be based on your goal and current level of expertise, which is why we’ve selected a few top courses and sorted them by level of expertise you would get from each one. The first courses are more basic, while the last one is the most comprehensive and intended for those who are considering getting into graphic design as a profession. 

The Complete Graphic Design Theory for Beginners Course / Udemy

Number of students: 46,500(Nov 2021)
Offered by: Lindsay Marsh, Jeremy Deighan
Price: $149 one time
Length: 5+ hours
Tools required: None, though Adobe Photoshop is used for examples

This course would be a good combination with another course that covers the technical side of designing, such as the Fiverr courses for Photoshop mentioned below. It is intended for beginners, and covers the theoretical side of design such as colors, typography, composition, layout, UX, branding and more.

By joining this course, you will get access to course discussions, direct messages and interaction with the instructors, and a Facebook group where you can connect with the teachers and the other students. There are also practical projects along the way which will help turn theory into practice.
Check out the course here.

Graphic Design Fundamentals: Getting Started / Creative Live

Number of students: 31,000 (Nov 2021)
Offered by: Timothy Samara
Price: $49 one time, or starting at $12.5 for a monthly subscription to all courses
Length: 5.5 hours
Tools required: None

This 18-lesson course doesn’t require any previous knowledge, and starts with the basics of graphic design, from the history and theory of colors to typography and layouts. It then proceeds to the more practical part, covering work processes and the design of posters, websites and ads. The final few lessons cover the concepts of brand identity, brand language and creating brand logos.

This course will not make you a professional designer, but it puts together all the various parts which make up graphic design and provide you with a basic understanding of what it’s all about. Because of this, we would recommend signing up to Creative Live’s monthly subscription plan (from $12.5/month), which will give you access to this course as well as all their other online design courses. So once you complete the Graphic Design Fundamentals, you can continue to expand your knowledge with their 2000+ courses.
Check out the course here.

Adobe Photoshop Fundamentals & Mastery/ Fiverr Learn

Offered by: Daniel Walter Scott
Price: $46
Length: 21 hours
Tools required: Adobe Photoshop

The combination of these two courses will take you from beginner to expert, covering all the ins-and-outs of Adobe Photoshop. Since this is the tool most designers use, it’s important to understand the capabilities, techniques, tips and tricks that will enable you to create exquisite designs.

The 2 courses are provided by Daniel Walter Scott, an award-winning designer with over 15 years’ experience as an instructor, who has taught thousands of students and received dozens of positive reviews for these courses.

If you have no design background, you will still need to take other courses to learn the basics of design, but for a course that will make you comfortable with Photoshop, this is a bargain. With a 30-day money back guarantee, it’s worth a try.
Check out the courses here and here

Graphic Design Bootcamp: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign / Udemy

Number of students: 111,139 (Nov 2021)
Offered by: Derrick Mitchell
Price: $129.99 one time
Length: 15.5 hours
Tools required: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign

It’s probably a good sign if this course has been included in Udemy’s selection for top companies worldwide, and over 100,000 students who have purchased it can’t be wrong.
With over 15 hours of content, this course covers a lot of information in a relatively fast pace, so you might want to rewatch some parts or pause and practice while going through the content. Previous knowledge of designing tools is not required, though you will need access to some Adobe tools, and preferably some basic feel for design.

The course was created by Derrick Mitchell, a professional graphic designer and owner of a design agency, who will teach you how to create design projects for both online and print, using the popular Adobe tools Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.

During the course you can expect to learn how to work with Photoshop, create composite images, learn about typography, logo design, magazine ads, eBooks using Illustrator, and other traditional design products such as brochures, business cards and flyers. A recent addition includes an extra lesson on how to create your personal design portfolio using Adobe Portfolio and Behance.
Check out the course here

Graphic Design Masterclass – Learn GREAT Design / Udemy

Number of students: 127,287 (Nov 2021)
Offered by: Lindsay Marsh, Jeremy Deighan
Price: $169.99 one time
Length: 26.5+ hours
Tools required: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign

This is one of the most comprehensive graphic design courses with a certificate that you can find. It covers basically everything from design theory (colors, typography, layouts etc), to actual use of designer tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Though you can’t become an expert in all these tools from just one course, this will make you familiar with the options and techniques that they have to offer.

The course is delivered in a friendly and professional manner, and provides practical lessons on creating logos, branding packages, photo edits, magazine layouts, flyers, 3D objects, presentations, vectors and more. It will also keep you up to date with constantly added lessons about design trends for the next year and Adobe program updates.
Check out the course here

Graphic Design Specialization / Coursera

Number of students: 244,000 (Nov 21)
Offered by: California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
Price: $49/month until completing the courses
Length: Flexible, with recommended time of 6 months at 3 hours/week.
Free trial: 7 days
Tools required: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign recommended but not mandatory. Basic knowledge of these tools is nice to have.

This specialization is intended to provide its students with the fundamental skills needed to succeed in the field of graphic design. It is an excellent starting point for getting into this field, and the basis for developing additional skill sets and specializations. At the end of this sequence, students create a capstone project, where they make use of the new skills they have acquired.

This specialization includes 5 courses: Fundamentals of Graphic Design, Introduction to Typography, Introduction to Imagemaking, Ideas from the History of Graphic Design, Brand New Brand.
Each one of these courses will add an additional layer to you understanding of online graphic design and will get you closer to that end goal of becoming an online graphic designer.
Check out the course here


To summarize

Now that you have the 6 best online graphic design courses laid out for you, it’s up to you to take the next step, choose one and get started. If you’re new to graphic design, there’s only one way to find out if it is for you, and that’s by actually experiencing it through such a course. Since most of them are not very costly, and the subscription to the design tools can be done at a monthly level, the commitment is short term and enables you to get a feel of this profession in a relatively short period of time. Enjoy!

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