Graphic Design Course: 12 Best Free Online Options For You

Graphic Design Course: 12 Best Free Online Options For You

A graphic design career has become one of the most sought-after careers in recent times, with almost every business requiring the service of a professional designer to create high-quality, visually appealing designs that enhance the brand visuals and help promote the products or services.

However, the cornerstone of every good design is to have a professional graphic designer with excellent design skills. If you are looking to build a graphic design career or enhance your skills, don’t worry, we have you covered. In this blog, we have identified the 12 best free graphic design courses to help you brush up on your graphic design skills.

What is a Graphic Design Course?


A graphic design course is an educational program that equips individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to create visual content for various purposes. These courses cover a wide range of topics, including design principles, software proficiency, typography, color theory, and more.

Students learn to use design software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign to create compelling graphics, illustrations, and layouts. Graphic design courses are offered by educational institutions and online platforms, making them accessible to aspiring designers looking to build their skills and pursue a career in the field.

Why Do You Need a Graphic Design Course?

Graphic design is a dynamic field that plays a crucial role in the visual aspects of businesses, marketing, and art. Whether you’re a budding artist, a marketing enthusiast, or a professional looking to expand your skill set, embarking on a graphic design course offers a multitude of benefits:

1. Unlock Your Creative Potential

A graphic design course is your gateway to unleashing your creativity. It’s a space where you can explore your artistic flair, experiment with colors, shapes, and compositions, and translate your ideas into visual concepts. These courses encourage you to think critically, push boundaries, and express yourself through design.

2. Build a Strong Foundation

You will gain a solid understanding of graphic design theory, and design principles, including balance, contrast, alignment, and proximity that will help you become a successful graphic designer. This foundational knowledge is essential for creating designs that are not only visually pleasing but also effective in conveying your intended message.

3. Master Industry-Standard Software

Graphic design courses typically introduce you to industry-standard software like Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign), CorelDRAW, or Sketch. Proficiency in these tools is a fundamental requirement for anyone serious about a career in graphic design irrespective of whether you are a junior graphic designer or an expert in the field.

4. Career Opportunities

Completing a graphic design course significantly broadens your career horizons. You can pursue graphic designing roles as an in-house designer within a corporation, work as a freelance designer, or even start your design agency. The diverse nature of design allows you to find your niche within the industry.

5. Nurture Creative Problem-Solving

Graphic designers are creative problem solvers. Through coursework and projects, you’ll develop the skills to analyze design challenges, conceptualize solutions, and effectively communicate your ideas visually. These problem-solving abilities are valuable to executing your graphic design projects efficiently.

6. Versatile Applications

The skills you acquire in a graphic design course are versatile. You’ll learn to create designs for a wide range of applications, including branding, marketing materials, website design, app interfaces, social media graphics, and more. This versatility opens doors to various design opportunities.

7. Insider Insights

Many graphic design courses are taught by experienced professionals who bring real-world insights into the classroom. You’ll gain an understanding of current industry trends, best practices, and the day-to-day challenges faced by designers. This knowledge equips you with a competitive edge.

8. Construct a Powerful Portfolio

As you progress through your course, you’ll accumulate a body of work. This portfolio showcases your skills, creativity, and growth as a designer. A strong portfolio is a key asset when seeking employment, freelance work, or clients, as it demonstrates your capabilities and style.

Overall, enrolling in a graphic design course is a rewarding investment to build a successful career in the graphic design industry. It not only provides you with essential skills and knowledge on graphic design foundations, but it also empowers you to explore your artistic potential and pursue a fulfilling career in design. Whether you aspire to be a graphic designer, web designer, or digital artist, a graphic design course is your stepping stone toward turning your passion into a profession.

12 Free Best Graphic Design Courses To Enhance Your Design Skills

Continuous learning is crucial in the world of graphic design. Whether you are a seasoned designer or a newcomer, numerous free graphic design courses await online. Here are the top 12 popular graphic design courses, offering diverse learning experiences, from visual communication & design fundamentals to advanced techniques.

1. CalArts Graphic Design Specialization

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Platform: Coursera

The CalArts Graphic Design Specialization, available on Coursera, is a valuable learning path for anyone aspiring to become a skilled graphic designer. Created in collaboration with experts from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), this program offers a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental principles of graphic design. It’s an ideal choice for both beginners looking to establish a strong foundation and experienced designers seeking to refine their skills.

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Throughout the specialization, you will delve into various aspects of graphic design, such as typography, image creation, layout, and composition. You will also gain practical experience and develop your creative problem-solving skills. The courses within this specialization are designed to provide hands-on knowledge, enabling you to work on real-world design projects and build a strong portfolio.

By the end of the program, you will have honed your design expertise and will be well-prepared to take on the dynamic and visually stimulating world of graphic design. This specialization is a stepping stone toward a successful career in this creative field.

2. Canva Design School: Graphic Design Basics


Platform: Canva

Canva Design School is a versatile and accessible platform for individuals looking to enhance their graphic design skills. It’s especially suitable for beginners who want to grasp the basics of design and explore various creative techniques. Whether you’re interested in designing for personal projects or professional ventures, Canva Design School offers a wide range of resources.

The platform provides a user-friendly interface and a plethora of design templates that make it easy for beginners to get started. With a diverse selection of courses and tutorials, Canva Design School covers numerous design topics, including typography, color theory, branding, and more.

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One of the standout features is Canva’s drag-and-drop design tool, which simplifies the design process for newcomers. You’ll learn how to create visually appealing graphics, presentations, posters, and social media content with ease.

By enrolling in Canva Design School courses, you’ll gain practical skills that can be applied to various aspects of design, helping you become a more proficient graphic designer, whether it’s for your personal projects or professional aspirations. The program’s accessibility, versatility and the option to learn at your own pace make it an attractive choice for those seeking to boost their design capabilities.

3. HubSpot Academy: Graphic Design Course: Learn the Fundamentals of Graphic Design


Platform: HubSpot

HubSpot Academy‘s Graphic Design Course is a fantastic resource for those looking to master the basics of graphic design. With a focus on fundamental principles and techniques, this course is perfect for beginners or anyone seeking to strengthen their design skills.

The course covers a wide array of topics, including typography, color theory, layout design, and even brand identity. What sets it apart is its practical approach, allowing you to apply the concepts you learn through hands-on assignments.

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Moreover, HubSpot’s user-friendly platform offers an interactive and engaging learning experience. You can progress at your own pace and access the course content whenever it suits you.

Upon completion, you’ll be equipped with essential graphic design knowledge, enabling you to create eye-catching visuals for marketing, social media, or personal projects. Whether you’re a marketer, entrepreneur, or creative enthusiast, this course is an excellent starting point to boost your graphic design skills.

4. Coursera: University of Colorado Boulder – Graphic Design


Platform: Coursera

The University of Colorado Boulder‘s Graphic Design course on Coursera offers an enriching journey into the world of graphic design. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned designer, this course caters to various skill levels, making it accessible for everyone.

What makes this course stand out is its comprehensive curriculum, which delves into topics such as typography, image-making, layout, and branding. With practical assignments and projects, students have the chance to apply their newfound knowledge in real-world scenarios.

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The course is taught by experienced instructors who provide valuable insights, ensuring that students gain a deep understanding of graphic design principles. Additionally, Coursera’s platform encourages a collaborative learning environment, enabling students to interact with peers and instructors.

Upon completing the course, you’ll not only have a solid foundation in graphic design but also a portfolio of your work to showcase your skills to potential clients or employers. Whether you’re pursuing a career in design or simply want to enhance your creativity, this course is a rewarding choice.

5. Alison: Diploma in Graphic Design


Platform: Alison

Alison’s “Diploma in Graphic Design” is a comprehensive program that offers a well-rounded education in the field of graphic design. This free online diploma covers a wide range of topics, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and those looking to enhance their design skills.

The course curriculum includes modules on essential design principles, color theory, typography, and the use of various design software tools. What sets this diploma apart is its practical approach. Students get the opportunity to work on real projects, honing their skills through hands-on experience.

The flexibility of online learning ensures you can study at your own pace, making it suitable for individuals with busy schedules. Upon completion of the program, you’ll receive a valuable diploma certifying your graphic design skills. Whether you’re pursuing a design career or aiming to improve your creative abilities, Alison’s diploma is a worthwhile choice to enhance your graphic design knowledge.

6. Udemy: Logo Design Fundamentals


Platform: Udemy

Udemy’s “Logo Design Fundamentals” is a practical course for anyone interested in mastering the art of creating impactful logos. It’s a great starting point for aspiring graphic designers or entrepreneurs looking to design their own brand identity. The course is structured to provide in-depth insights into logo design principles, color theory, typography, and practical techniques. With a hands-on approach, you will work on real-world logo design projects, learning to blend creativity with strategy.

What makes this course appealing is its flexibility. You can learn at your own pace, allowing you to fit your studies around your schedule. The course is well-suited for beginners, offering a gradual learning curve and easy-to-follow video tutorials.

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By the end of this course, you’ll have a solid grasp of logo design, from conceptualization to final execution. You’ll be equipped with the skills and knowledge to create logos that effectively communicate a brand’s identity. Whether you’re pursuing a career in graphic design or simply want to design professional logos, this Udemy course provides a strong foundation.

7. UCSanDiegoX: Computer Graphics


Platform: edX

The “Computer Graphics” course offered by UCSanDiegoX is a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in exploring the world of computer-generated imagery and visual effects. Whether you’re a beginner or someone with prior experience, this course offers an insightful journey into the art and science of computer graphics.

This course dives into the fundamental principles of computer graphics, covering topics such as 2D and 3D transformations, rendering, and animation. What sets it apart is the focus on hands-on experience, where you’ll have the chance to apply your learning using WebGL, a popular web-based graphics library.

UCSanDiegoX 1

Moreover, UCSanDiegoX provides access to an interactive learning platform where you can engage with peers and instructors, making it a supportive and collaborative learning experience.

By the end of the course, you’ll have a strong grasp of the core concepts of computer graphics and the ability to create your digital visuals. It’s a fantastic opportunity for those seeking to explore the fascinating world of digital imagery and animation.

8. Kadenze: Introduction to Programming for the Visual Arts with p5.js


This course is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to explore the intersection of programming and visual arts. Through this course, you’ll be introduced to p5.js, a JavaScript library designed for creative coding. You’ll learn how to create interactive and dynamic visual artworks, making it an ideal starting point for those intrigued by the artistic potential of programming.

Kadenze 1

Kadenze’s course focuses on hands-on learning, encouraging students to experiment with code and explore their creativity. It’s a great fit for both beginners and those with some programming experience, as it provides a structured learning path that gradually builds your skills.

By the end of the course, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and practical experience to use p5.js for your artistic endeavors, turning your creative visions into interactive digital art. Whether you’re an artist, designer, or simply someone curious about the fusion of art and technology, this course is a valuable resource.

9. Great Learning: Intro to Graphic Design with Photoshop

Great Learning

The “Intro to Graphic Design with Photoshop” course by Great Learning is a comprehensive and hands-on introduction to the world of graphic design. Whether you’re an aspiring graphic designer or someone looking to enhance your design skills, this course offers a fantastic learning experience.

Throughout this course, you’ll dive into the realm of visual communication and creativity. It covers essential design concepts, typography, color theory, and layout design. What sets this course apart is its focus on Adobe Photoshop, a powerful and widely used graphic design tool.

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One of the remarkable aspects of this course is its practical approach. You’ll work on real design projects and gain proficiency in using Photoshop to create stunning visuals. The course is designed to help you unleash your creativity and develop a strong foundation in graphic design.

Great Learning’s course provides the perfect blend of theory and hands-on practice. It’s a valuable resource for anyone looking to embark on a graphic design journey or take their design skills to the next level. By the end of the course, you’ll have a portfolio of impressive designs and the confidence to tackle a variety of design projects.

10. Class Central: Beginners Guide to Graphic Design By Gareth David Studio

Class Central

Beginners Guide to Graphic Design” offered by Gareth David Studio through Class Central is a remarkable entry point for individuals venturing into the captivating world of graphic design. Gareth David, an experienced graphic designer, and educator, brings an invaluable perspective to the course.

This well-structured course caters to beginners, offering an introductory journey through fundamental design concepts and software tools. Learners explore essential design principles, color theory, typography, and layout design. What sets this course apart is its practical focus – you’ll get hands-on experience using Adobe Creative Suite, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

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Gareth David’s teaching approach is engaging and supportive, making complex design concepts accessible to everyone. Whether you aspire to become a professional graphic designer or just wish to enhance your design skills for personal projects, this course provides a strong foundation. With insightful tutorials and practical exercises, you’ll be well on your way to creating eye-catching visuals and compelling designs.

11. SKillshare: Core Principles for Visual Design


Skillshare’s “Core Principles for Visual Design,” is a valuable course that equips students with fundamental skills and knowledge essential for visual design.

This course serves as an excellent starting point for individuals interested in the world of visual design, even if they have no prior experience. You’ll explore core principles such as color theory, typography, and layout, which are the building blocks of any successful design.

Skillshare’s platform provides an interactive and engaging learning environment, enabling you to apply what you’ve learned to various creative projects. With hands-on assignments and peer feedback, you’ll have opportunities to practice your skills and receive valuable insights from others in the community.

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The course is conveniently accessible online, allowing you to learn at your own pace and fit your studies into your schedule. This flexibility is especially beneficial for those with busy lifestyles or varying time commitments.

By completing “Core Principles for Visual Design,” you’ll gain the knowledge and skills to create visually appealing designs and enhance your proficiency in graphic design, web design, and various other creative disciplines. Skillshare’s course is an excellent choice for beginners and aspiring designers looking to lay a strong foundation for their design careers.

12. Design Lab

Design Lab

Design Lab offers a comprehensive Graphic Design Course designed to equip learners with the skills needed to excel in the dynamic field of graphic design. This course stands out for its practicality and emphasis on real-world application.

With a curriculum carefully curated by industry experts, it covers essential graphic design principles, tools, and techniques. Students gain hands-on experience with industry-standard software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. They also delve into the art of typography, visual hierarchy design, and visual storytelling.

What sets Design Lab apart is its project-based approach. Learners work on actual design projects, helping them build a compelling portfolio. From branding to web design, the course covers a wide spectrum of design disciplines, ensuring students graduate with a versatile skill set.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to kickstart your graphic design career or a professional aiming to refine your abilities, Design Lab’s Graphic Design Course offers a structured path to success. With dedicated mentor support and access to a community of like-minded creatives, it’s an opportunity to nurture your design talents and flourish in the competitive design industry.

Boost Your Graphic Design Career With These Courses

In a world where aesthetics and functionality merge seamlessly, graphic design plays a pivotal role in shaping our digital landscape. Whether you’re an aspiring designer or a professional seeking to enhance your skills, the availability of top-notch graphic design courses has never been greater.

By harnessing the power of platforms like Coursera, Canva, Adobe, and many others, you can build your creative journey to master design principles, create stunning visuals, and even dive into the world of user-centered design. These courses are not just about pixels and colors; they are your key to unlocking your potential to captivate, communicate, and inspire through the art of visual storytelling. So, embrace the world of graphic design education, elevate your career, and make your creative mark on the world.

December 28, 2023
10 min read
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