Designing Online Classes – Do you want to learn graphic design or improve your skills without paying tuition? Check out our picks for the best free graphic design courses.
In our visual world, graphic design is an increasingly important skill for all types of creatives. For photographers and designers in the fashion world, knowing the basics of Photoshop and graphic design principles is essential to give your work that professional touch. For artists and designers, graphic design is a key part of business and careers – all the more reason to expand your design skills and knowledge.
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Improving your graphic design skills doesn’t mean going back to school. There are many online graphic design courses that can help you develop your design skills, offered by universities, graphic design professionals, and online course centers like Udemy.
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We’ve searched for the best free graphic design courses to help designers and other aspiring creators stay on top of typography, color, essential graphic design software, and more.
Alison calls it “the new world of free certified training.” Its purpose is to provide free learning, from anywhere, at any subject level. However, this is a profitable company, so the site offers premium subscription plans that unlock additional features.
The site is full of different types of courses that often lead to exam-based certification. This can add a new skill to your resume. Getting a certificate in a subject can really go a long way toward employment or freelancing. But while any Alison course is free to take, there is a fee if you want a certificate. Prices start at around $20 for a digital certificate and go up to over $100 for a framed diploma.
Alison has free graphic design courses. That means there are options to suit designers of every skill level. For example, there are graphic design courses that focus on defining all the key terms and principles, such as this certificate course in Visual and Graphic Skills. There are also courses that teach how to apply these principles with examples and hands-on exercises, similar to design principles.
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There are also more specific classes that help you learn to use the tools and software you need for graphic design, such as this class on Photoshop Essential Tools.
All of Alison’s courses are presented primarily in slideshows. So instead of scrolling through a long page, everything is broken down into easy-to-digest chunks. However, the downside is that every time you switch to a new topic in the thread, the page reloads and you have to wait 8 seconds (unless you want to pay $9 a month for the premium plan).
While not perfect, Alison offers a great free resource for anyone looking to learn graphic design.
Udemy features videos by independent instructors with pricing based on video length, instructor, and field. In fact, Udemy is a competitive classroom marketplace. This means that the classes are rated and the quality of the class is illuminated by the ratings, just like on Yelp. The site has frequent sales features, so keep an eye out for the classes you want. Most Udemy courses are also free.
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An introduction to graphic design is a great place to start. This free graphic design course covers topics such as the design process, basic elements, the five fundamental principles of design, and how to see design with fresh eyes. Teaching participants what real designers do and understanding what makes good design. The course description does not require students to have any prior knowledge of specific software or design.
Once you’re done logging in, Udemy has a wide variety of free online graphic design courses. The site makes browsing them easy as you can set the search filter to show only free courses. Some topics include programming guides, tips for common projects, and in-depth tutorials.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers OpenCourseWare online. OpenCourseWare is the most egalitarian form of education. Available online as a free database of courses created by professional academic instructors and course writers. Many of these graphic design lessons are related to a general course on another subject, such as web coding. But they are still useful and reliable resources. Additionally, as opposed to just discussing design theory, these courses often focus more on practical application.
For example, this graphic design class is part of a course on user interface design. It offers a few simple activities to help you learn graphic design techniques and concepts. It includes visiting several example websites to learn how they handle graphic design and how it can be improved.
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There are various other resources such as lectures on design topics. One example is this presentation on smart web design.
The site is well organized so it’s easy to navigate and find the lessons you’re looking for. Also, since MIT’s OpenCourseWare is not a for-profit startup, you never have to deal with advertising or marketing sales pitches for subscription plans.
Typography is key to a graphic designer’s job. You will see the use of type in almost all graphic design situations. Each font adds a unique feel and style to the design. So choosing a font can make or break your design project.
In this document, you will find a comprehensive yet simple introduction to the history and nuances of typography. It’s only five pages long, but there’s a ton of fluff. So even though this is not a graphic design course, it deserves to be on this list because it can be valuable to any design student.
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It includes a list of the top 100 types, a brief description and history of the 10 most popular types, a list of suggested reading, and an explanation of the classifications and characteristics of writing types. It’s a great introduction for any aspiring graphic designer and contains enough useful information to be a useful resource for repeated review.
This article provides all the resources you need to create a self-taught graphic design course to replace traditional education. This was written by Anan Hodge, currently the Business Editor of Tuts+ Education. He also has experience building several high traffic blogs.
The article is divided into useful subtopics such as design principles, design history, and how to put together a design portfolio. Each section offers a list of helpful resources, including design books, educational blogs, job boards for finding design jobs, and websites where you can grow your business.
Here’s a great comprehensive list of tips that can be a great foundation for learning graphic design. At the very least, it’s a useful additional resource.
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Veerle Pieters is a graphic/web designer based in Belgium with a website dedicated to all things graphic design. He has experience designing everything from marketing and branding to logos, stationery and brochures, websites and user interfaces.
His site has tons of articles with tutorials, tips, and tricks to help you learn graphic design. It includes useful insights on working with clients and developing a portfolio, as well as simple solutions to problems that many graphic designers may face. Most importantly, Veerle offers tutorials and tips on using design software for the new designer.
Canva Design School offers classes, tutorials, resources, and articles on a variety of topics that will benefit budding graphic designers. For example, one graphic design course called “Editorial” consists of seven lessons covering “how to draw attention to your designs” and “how to create and maintain your own attitude and style.”
Another helpful graphic design class available is called How to Build a Brand. It covers topics such as creating a logo, choosing a color palette, choosing a style palette, finding an image, and creating graphics that fit your brand and marketing.
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Each lesson in these courses is structured like a long-form article, and they’re filled with useful tips, example designs, and links to resources. In addition to online graphic design courses, there are many other articles in the blog section of the site. These articles are a great place to find quick tips or inspiration for your next design project.
Envato has created a dense and useful tutorial archive to help you with almost any software and design experience. There are themes for Illustrator, Photoshop, Cinema 4D, Rhino and many more.
There are also free graphic design courses that will help you with the business side of the business, like how to create a business invoice and how to create a professional resume.
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