15 Best Graphic Design Courses Online

15 Best Graphic Design Courses Online

16 min read

Are you looking to start your graphic design journey, or just want to take your current skills to the next level? Either way, nowadays, there are no barriers to gaining knowledge from the best universities or specialists.

You just need to choose the educational course that best suits your current graphic design skills and your goals for further development.

We've searched for some of the best graphic design courses online to help you learn how to become a professional-level graphic designer.

But, as you may know, there are many graphic design courses out there, and it can become challenging to know which course to take or which one will be the best one to help you reach your graphic design goals.

Several courses online are offered by universities, online course hubs, graphic design experts, etc. We have carefully selected 16 graphic design online courses that will help you elevate your graphic design portfolio.

These graphic design classes will help you with layouts and creative processes and introduce you to design trends. Some of these courses also offer certificate programs to provide you with a certificate after completing the course.

What is a Graphic Design Certificate?

Simply put, a graphic design certificate is a certificate that shows you have successfully completed a particular graphic design course. That does not mean that you can become a graphic design or illustrator expert or a professional designer once you complete a single online course.

As you will see in the following list, thousands of courses offer lessons on different aspects of graphic design. Some are aimed at beginners; others are aimed at experienced designers.

You might need to take several courses that tackle different graphic design perspectives and take classes that offer more in-depth lessons once you make some progress.

With that said, here are 16 of the top graphic design courses designed to facilitate your comprehensive development as a specialist. We have split them into three categories:

  • Intro to graphic design courses
  • Graphic design courses for beginners
  • Intermediate, in-depth graphic design courses

So, let's dive in!

Intro to Graphic Design Courses

1. Introduction to Graphic Design

What better way to start this list than an introductory course on graphic design?

This course by Brockett Horne and Ellen Lupton, two of the leading faculty at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), will teach you everything from “Origins Of Text And Graphic Design” to “International Styles” and “Cultural Revolutions.”

Available on Kadenze, the course will introduce you to everything you need to know about where graphic design comes from and what the future of graphic design will look like.

If you are a beginner, you will love this course since it is aimed at beginners and allows you to work at your own pace.

As the entire course comprises seven sessions (for each session, you are expected to work around six hours), expect to invest at least 40 hours in it.

All you will need to enter this course as requirements are an image creation software and the ability to upload formats like .jpg, .jpeg, or .png for the assignments in each session.

Instead of image creation software, other abilities such as scanning, photographing, or drawing by hand are also good alternatives.

Although designed for beginners, the introduction is relatively fast-paced and will test your knowledge with short quizzes. It will also push you to put your skills into practice and start creating.

The course offers English, Spanish, Castilian, Russian, Chinese, and Portuguese video transcripts. Some of the topics discussed during the seven sessions are cubism, futurism, dada, typography, and publishing.

We’re happy to tell you that the course is free to enroll and open for enrollment. If you are interested in a certificate, you would have to upgrade to premium membership ($20 per month). The certificate will be included and available once you finish the course.

2. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

If the first introductory course we suggested is not your cup of tea, or if you would like to combine that course with another introductory course to get a better perspective, we have just the right option for you.

You can take this course by Udemy in parallel with the first course or after finishing the other one.

Udemy has always been an attractive platform for those eager to gain knowledge in various fields. In addition, they have a fantastic free design course.

The course is designed for beginners who want to learn design. It does not require any special software or skills, making it ideal for those who want to get started from scratch and get a first impression of graphic design. You will learn the basic principles and elements of design.

This course includes 11.5 hours of on-demand video, certificate of completion, and access on mobile and TV. The price may seem a lot at first since it costs €94.99. However, you will get full lifetime access once you pay this price.

Since you will learn fundamental skills and study core design principles, the main requirement for this course will be a desire to learn new graphic design skills. You will also need to have Adobe Photoshop access.

This course is perfect for anyone who wants to build a successful career as a graphic designer. However, this is not the only design course on this platform. After completing this course, additional tutorials that will match your interests will be suggested.

Graphic Design Courses for Beginners

3. Graphic Design Certification by Calarts

This course is available on the Coursera platform and is in high demand within the field of design. It is best suitable for those who already have at least a basic knowledge of graphic design. As part of the course, students will learn to create more complex projects.

In this course, you will learn design principles, the history of design, and how to communicate through image-making and typography. You will also learn to work in interface design, motion graphics, and editorial design.

The fundamental skills you will learn through this course can also help you complete a university capstone project. In addition, all of the designs created through this course will be perfect for adding to your professional portfolio.

Coursera's graphic design specialization offered by Calarts includes five courses:

  • Fundamentals of Graphic Design
  • Introduction to Typography
  • Introduction to Imagemaking
  • Ideas from the History of Graphic Design
  • Brand New Brand

At the end of the course, you will have a finished project that you can proudly add to your portfolio. In other words, there will be practice, not just theory. In addition, the Coursera platform provides a certificate of completion, which you can add to your resume.

4. Instagram Illustration From Skillshare

This Graphic Design and Illustration Class from Skillshare is a good option for anyone looking to advance their skills in graphic design.

It will allow you to look at social media as a great and promising opportunity for all designers. You will learn how to create projects with just an iPad and use them on social media.

Creating visual designs for social media will be especially promising if your graphics are backed up by the top-notch content created by the Best Writers Online on the writing services review platform. It can be a good start for complete beginners who want to earn revenue from their creations.

The course consists of 12 lessons, with a total course time of 1 hour and 13 minutes. The lessons will include a course in basic elements of design where you will learn about fundamental principles and how to use essential tools and creation tools.

The course will then explore how you can develop palettes that express your emotions. Experienced designer Sophia Yeshi teaches it. She will also offer various tips and tricks on making your Adobe Illustrator effects more fun and exciting.

One hour and 13 minutes will be more than enough time to develop your creative skills, understand the content, and start practicing graphic design elements.

Nic Squirrel, an artist and illustrator from the UK, also has a Skillshare class about creating patterns in the leading iOS graphic design platform Vectornator.

5. Udemy’s Logo Design Fundamentals

Creating logos is an essential part of every designer's job, and it's always a challenging task. So don't miss the course that will allow you to learn everything about creating a branded logo.

This course consists of 15 lessons that will tell you how to create a logo and teach you to interact with customers appropriately. This course also covers the issue of branding, which has a direct connection with logo development.

Udemy's Logo Design Fundamentals course will prove that you do not need hours of video lessons and long expert-created video tutorials.

With only 49 minutes of on-demand video lessons by course teacher Lauren, you will:

  • Understand the entire logo layout
  • Learn the fundamentals of logo design
  • Learn the step by step development process of a branded logo
  • Finalize a branded logo
  • Finish your design project and get it ready for print or a client

For this course, you will be required to have Adobe Illustrator and Reader and some basic understanding of a logo design cycle.

6. Graphic Design Course From the University of Colorado on Coursera

Since this course is shared by the Coursera platform, it is free. This course is an excellent option for beginners or those who want to ensure their knowledge is up to date. The course does not require any preliminary preparation, so it may suit you if you want to determine whether a career in graphic design is the right one for you.

The course is also perfect if you are a graphic design student who needs to earn university credit or develop their graphic design skills for their capstone project.

The materials of this course will be enough to prepare you to start working with real projects. The instructor of the course is David Underwood. He has worked as an illustrator, designer, lecturer, and teaching consultant at the University of Colorado Boulder since 1988.

The course is an excellent base and starting point for those who do not have a budget to pay for training. So be sure to pay attention to this course, even if you already have experience. Perhaps you can emphasize something new for your professional activity.

If you are up for a design challenge, this course is excellent. It will introduce you to fundamental design theory, graphic design history, and how the development process of a design project goes.

7. Will Paterson Graphic Design Tutorials

Will Paterson is a freelance graphic designer specialized in Logo Design and Brand Identity. In addition, this graphic designer and illustrator uses his YouTube channel to offer free graphic design tutorials to learn how to use leading graphic design software and products.

His tutorials are an excellent and highly accessible way to learn the basics of how to start your graphic design journey. In addition, his other content provides a wealth of information for intermediate and advanced designers as they progress in their skills.

Will’s course about Vectornator is ideal for learning how to work with a graphic design program. He also offers tutorial series for many other leading platforms, such as the products offered by Adobe Creative Cloud.

Suppose you want to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer, Adobe CC, or any Adobe creative suite of products. In that case, Will’s tutorials will be the place to start. Be sure to subscribe to his channel if you find his content helpful!

In this video tutorial example, Will will show you how to use the Pen Tool in our free Vectornator app on iPad and Mac.

8. Canva Design School

If you're involved in the graphic design community, you've probably heard of Canva. This app is used by designers and content writers from the Online Writers Rating custom writing reviews platform, bloggers, etc.

However, only a few people know that Canva is also a storehouse of valuable resources. There are tutorials, articles, and guides that will be useful to beginners and those who already feel confident in the graphic design field.

In addition to practical guidelines, you can also find out how to promote your blog and services.

In this article titled “Yes, creativity can be learned,” you will learn nine tips to develop your creative skills. The article will show you that creativity is not a particular skill that you either have or don’t. It is something that can be learned through practice.

They have numerous lessons for beginners who want to learn graphic design basics. If you are interested to learn more about color theory, icon design, and conceptual tools, Canva has plenty of tutorials on graphic design basics.

This platform is dedicated to helping users learn to grab attention with their graphic design projects and find their unique style.

There is also a course called "How to Build a Brand,” which will cover the theme of logo, the choice of palette, graphics, and everything else you'll need for brand development. It will be helpful not only to create your brand but also to create branded graphic designs for others.

9. CreativeLive

This resource is suitable for both designers and artists. They have paid and free courses that are perfect for beginners and experienced users looking for personal development and developing their design skills.

If you want to start learning for free, you can also do so. Free materials are available in the form of video tutorials. And you can choose to reserve a spot for their live and on-air events. The CreativeLive platform has also decided to extend its Health and Wellness classes for free to the creative community.

Other course materials are only available with the purchase of the entire course. The whole course is usually in the $30-50 price range. But if you want the best value option, you can subscribe for $25 a month, giving you access to an unlimited number of courses.

Creative Live will help you learn more about image editing, product packaging, as well as how to use color palettes and custom shapes to your advantage.

To give you an idea of the variety of topics and courses they offer, here are some upcoming free online events:

  • Adobe Stock for Illustration: A Head Start to Your Project
  • Working Successfully with Clients: A Class for Illustrators and Designers
  • Digital Guides, Products, and ePDFs with Adobe InDesign
  • Custom Resumes with Adobe InDesign
  • Workflow, Time Management and Productivity for Creatives
  • Color Fundamentals
  • Adobe Illustrator CC: The Complete Guide
  • Drawing Fundamentals: Tonality and Shadows

10. Graphic Design From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This is not an entire course, but it is a lesson from a full-fledged design course. These exercises are freely available and helpful to novice designers who dedicate a few hours per week to learn some graphic design foundation skills.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology courses can also help anyone who wants to develop their skills for their graphic design specialization.

This short guide will allow you to learn graphic design techniques and concepts. The essence of the exercises is that you can analyze and understand everything in practice by using examples.

Another exciting course is Color Design and Typography. It will help you learn some design principles and explore color design and typography.

The step-by-step lessons and in-class activities will be helpful to practice everything you learned during these courses. You also have the option to download the course materials so you can learn in your own time.

11. Become a Graphic Designer - LinkedIn Course

Did you know that LinkedIn offers over 16,000 online courses taught by professionals in their field? They also offer personalized courses depending on the career path you want to follow.

This course, in particular, called “Become a graphic designer,” will help you build a solid design foundation. It includes hands-on exercises in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator. Hence, it is perfect if you also want to become an Illustrator and learn how to use some of the most popular Adobe products.

The course includes a total of 11 sessions. Keep in mind that not all sessions are the same length. The first session is less than three minutes while, as you progress, you will take lessons that are longer and up to six hours long. Overall, expect to dedicate 26 hours of your time to follow all the courses.

The experts who will teach the course are educators, illustrators, writers, art directors, professors, designers, photographers, speakers, and brand strategists.

If you want to start a career in Graphic Design, this course will teach you the first steps you need to take and some graphic design foundations such as typography, layout, and composition.

You will also learn about color trends and have dedicated sessions on each of the Adobe products mentioned above.

If you want to start right away, you can make use of their free offer that lasts for one month. During that first month, you can explore other graphic design courses and decide whether you want to continue exploring more lessons.

Ah, and did we mention that you will earn a certificate of completion after you complete the course? And we all know good they look on your CV and LinkedIn profile!

12. Minimalist Graphic Design for Big Ideas

This online course by Julian Montague is perfect for beginners pursuing minimalist graphic design skills.

As you may know, minimalist design has become quite trendy in the last decade, and it is here to stay. Therefore, staying ahead of the game and learning to create minimalistic designs is always a smart move.

This Domestika course comprises ten lessons and will help you “think conceptually and use words and graphics to communicate complex themes.” Keep in mind that basic knowledge of Adobe Illustrator or a similar vector-based program is necessary.

The audio for this course is offered in English, but it has subtitles in the following languages:  English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch.

The main project for this course will be creating a set of three book covers or three posters for a fictional series, using the same graphic style in various themes.

At the moment, the course costs €23.90, and you will get unlimited access to the course forever. Once you finish the course, you will be provided a certificate.

Intermediate, In-Depth Graphic Design Courses

13. Professional 2D Game Graphic Design in PS

If you already have a lot of experience in Photoshop and drawing, why not try creating games? The course duration is 6.5 hours and was developed by renowned illustrator and designer Jaysen Batchelor. This tutorial costs €23.99, but the price may vary due to discounts.

The 2D Game Background Creation Course will help you build high-quality stylized backgrounds from scratch in Photoshop, which you can use for games and animations. By the end of this course, you will learn how to create game graphics and profit from your new skills.

If you don't have Photoshop skills, it is better to return to this online learning platform later, as you will need at least basic knowledge of that tool.

Other requirements include having basic drawing skills, a drawing tablet, and access to Adobe Photoshop. If you do not have Adobe Photoshop, you can get a free 30-day trial.

Created by Martina C

So what are you waiting for? Join over 60,000 learning students and elevate your graphic design skills within one week. Professional designers who haven’t explored the world of gaming and animation yet, are also welcomed to join this course!

14. Graphic Design Masterclass Intermediate: The NEXT Level

If you’ve scrolled up to here in search of a more advanced graphic course, you’re in luck. This graphic design masterclass for intermediate designers might be your best bet.

To take this course, you will be required to have a basic working knowledge of Adobe products such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

This Udemy graphic design course includes 17 hours of lessons offered in on-demand videos. You will learn all about logo design, package design, infographics, photo manipulation, grids, and more!

If you haven’t started working on your portfolio yet, this course will also help you with portfolio building, so you are officially allowed to get excited about that!

When it comes to pricing, this particular course is the most expensive course on this list. However, if you have made up your mind about following a career in graphic design and are already reaching intermediate level, it might be worth checking it out.

Once you purchase it, you will have lifetime access to it and go back to one or some particular lessons if you need to redo the steps and get faster results with each try.

Another plus of this course is that it offers access on mobile and TV. And of course, you will be provided a certificate of completion at the end of the course.

15. Graphic Design Masterclass: Learn GREAT Design

Available on Skillshare, this graphic design masterclass is 18 hours and 20 minutes long. It is perfect for anyone looking for a more in-depth graphic design course that offers a more hands-on experience.

From learning color fundamentals to designing magazine layouts, you will learn a wide range of graphic design skills.

Similar to the masterclass mentioned above, this course will also help you gain a deeper understanding of how to use Adobe products such as InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.

At the moment, the course costs $8 per month. However, if you decide to give Skillshare a go, you can access this course by paying $29.88 per year for a Skillshare subscription.

But before you do that, don’t forget that Skillshare offers a one-month free trial. If you do not want to get too invested, you can give it a go for one month for free and be able to take this masterclass as well as explore other great courses offered.

The Bottom Line

Using the courses from this article will help you on your journey to develop your skills and grow as a graphic designer. As you can see, many of these courses are available for free, which means that you have the opportunity to improve your skills and professionalism without financial investment.

Even some of the paid options offer free trials for one month, so if you like one or a few of the paid graphic design courses on the list, you can go ahead and take advantage of the free trial and enjoy taking as many classes as you like during that free month.

Later, you can decide whether you want to switch to a yearly subscription or even pay for some individual courses.

If you are thinking about a career transition and want to learn some foundational skills without getting a graphic design degree through formal studies, you can start with the courses offered for free.

Later on, once you see some personal development, you can join a graphic design boot camp and take some advanced study lessons. Finally, if you see that this is the career for you and feel good about your progress, you can also get a premium membership for some courses to achieve advanced graphic design skills.

Choose the one that suits your knowledge and goals best, and get started right now, since the competition in the field of graphic design is expected to only become stronger under the pressure of the rapid development of the digital space.

Screenshot of the Vectornator app on Mac.

If you're looking to learn graphic design, you should be using the most intuitive vector graphic design tool on the market! Give Vectornator a try today!

The cover includes artwork by Oksana Lehaieva, made with Vectornator.

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