If you’re interested in learning the ins and outs of graphic design, you may already have some idea about how complex the learning curve can be.
And it’s true — there’s a lot of different types of design, areas to work in, and inspirations to research. Creative concerns tend to be complicated.
But that shouldn’t stop anyone from going all-in and deciding to learn. And if you have a history in graphic design but haven’t worked in the genre for a while, you’ll definitely benefit from some pointers and tutorials, too.
Graphic design can be an intensely rewarding creative experience, as well as potentially being a liberating and well-paying career choice. But what if you’re willing to learn, but not ready to invest a lot of money in a graphic design course right out of the gate?
That’s where this list comes in.
What Makes A Great Graphic Design Course?
While there are plenty of online graphic design courses out there, both paid and free, not all of them are created equal. For starter courses to more in-depth tutorials, it’s worth your while to sift through the available options to find the ones that are clear, concise, and actionable.
One of the variables when it comes to creative design, however, is the difference in how an individual learns. What works well for you may not work well for the next student, and vice versa.
That’s part of why we’ve included so many different courses in this list. Regardless of how your brain works and the particular style you learn best in, one of these is bound to resonate with you.
So take a look at our picks for the ten best online graphics courses — all of them free — and find your own top choice.
Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles For Visual Design
Skillshare is a top destination for many types of learners, as well as an option to investigate once you’ve mastered a particular skill — the student can become the teacher!
Though there are many “paid subscription” courses listed here, there are also a generous number of free courses. And in terms of variety, it’s hard to beat a site like Skillshare.
One of the most concise brief courses here is Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles For Visual Design. The course is only just over half an hour long, but it does a great job of laying some of the important groundwork for building your graphic design skill, walking you through principles of design.
Image Source: Freepik.com
Graphic Design: Visual And Graphic Design
This course comes through Alison Online, which bills itself as a “new world of free certified learning.” With the ultimate goal of ensuring that you’re a graphic designer who knows their stuff, Alison Online offers a wide variety of different graphic design courses.
But this is one of our favorite picks. Running between two and three hours depending on how quickly you complete mid-course assessments, the course guides you through key design basics, including principles and elements to build on. Almost 225,000 students have gone through this course, giving it a 3.8 star rating.
Teach Yourself Graphic Design
This option is a little different from many of the choices on here, because it doesn’t have a “host” or a tutor. Instead, it’s a self-starter. It gives you, the student, an outline to follow at your own pace. The design offers you the chance to “learn graphic design from the ground up, with self-directed study.”
This approach allows you even greater freedom than many of these free options.
The creator of the course uses books and articles as resources to cover “ground up” learning, with insight on the principles of graphic design as well as actionables.
Professional Logo Design In Adobe Illustrator
Turning to another skill sharing site, Udemy offers a lot of paid tutorials and courses, but there are also some free ones sprinkled in there as well. As a matter of fact, at last look, there were over a hundred free courses on this site, many of them top-rated!
One of our own top rated picks from this site is this crash course in professional logo design, using Adobe Illustrator. Though it definitely bills itself as a “crash course,” the course itself is over seven hours long and includes comprehensive looks at logo design using this tool.
It walks you through designing a logo by starting you with some of the basic principles behind logo design, and also helps with the “after,” fine-tuning your logo based on client feedback.
Create Stunning Infographics To Share Your Ideas
Another one from Udemy, this course is centered around creating infographics quickly, cleanly, and usefully. Since infographics are one of the best ways to share information, especially in web-based content, having this skill can be incredibly useful to a designer.
One of the best things about this course is that it truly is designed for and aimed at beginners. So you don’t need to have any preexisting skill in graphic design — just a willingness to learn.
The course is only half an hour long, which means that you can pick up a new, useful skill, for free, in a very short period of time.
Typography That Works: Typographic Composition And Fonts
Returning to Skillshare, this course ticks a lot of boxes for us in terms of favorites. For one thing, it has a great teacher who has a lot of demonstrable experience with graphic design and type in particular. For another, it’s packed full with good examples of what to do — and what not to do. And for a third, typographic design just so happens to be one of our favorite aspects of graphic design!
Of course, that’s just a personal preference. But the fact remains that if you want to learn about the relationships between type families and how they can best be used in design, this is the course to take. And yes, it’s still free!
Logo Design From Concept To Finish
Another great logo design tutorial on Skillshare, this course covers the actionable part of logo design. It’s created for designers who are ready to get to work, assuming that you’ve already put the time in to do your market research and are ready to get going on a project for a client.
The course is multi-step, walking you through basic design tools like creating a grid system, through ideation and concept creation, font and color choice, and finally presenting the logo design to the client.
Introduction To Typography
This course is offered by CALArts as part of the Graphic Design Specialization. It’s free to enroll, though the course is a little more structured than some listed on here, so whether or not that works for you depends on your schedule.
This comprehensive course investigates and explores the history of typography, as well as how patterns and trends have emerged and evolved over the years. The course also gives you the chance to learn to typeset for a professional poster design, and conduct a peer-reviewed typesetting exercise for practical experience.
Image Source: Freepik.com
It’s a beginner level course, and takes about ten hours to complete.
From Doodle To Logo
A useful (and free) course featured on Udemy, this option walks you through the creation of a logo from those first quick and messy sketches to a finished, polished product.
The course says, “Only things you need are Adobe Illustrator and creativity!”
It’s a great, fun course with a 4.1 star rating.
Introduction To Graphic Design – Canva Design School
Canva is a popular tool for graphic designers, whether they’re still beginning or old pros. The site offers free tutorials, too, walking you through not only how to use Canva, but also some of the basic principles, tips, and tricks of designing as a whole.
These tutorials cover a wide variety of subjects, from the basics of design, to branding, and even quick ways to boost your own creativity.
Putting Your Education To Work
This list has included a variety of options for a variety of learning styles and graphic genres. And don’t get us wrong, this is by no means a comprehensive list! There are plenty of other free design courses out there that you can find, as well as a plethora of paid options, too.
But ultimately, what makes the “best” graphic course is what you, as the designer, do with what you learn.
One feature in common with all of these choices is that they all encourage hands-on experience. That’s really the best way for a designer to learn how to design.
Of course, a little help from a useful source never hurt. So give these ten graphics courses a deeper look, and see what works for you!