Have you ever wanted to study at universities like Stanford or Yale but didn’t get the chance? No problem. The Internet has got you covered.
There are plenty of free courses online for you to dig. The most popular ones have the same level of credibility as that of the most prominent academic institutions.
Why? Because the courses are by the same experts that teach at universities. In this post, we are going to cover the twenty best free graphic design courses online.
If you are in a rush, have a look at three of the primary free online course providers here below:
Two professors from top US universities put together a series of courses called Coursera. You can access them for free online forget tuition fees and expensive loans. The courses include lectures and quizzes to test your knowledge. You’re also able to get your work marked and a certificate in exchange for a fee.
If you’re into art, music, or technology (or all of them), then have a look at Kadenze. Similar to Coursera, it is a series of online courses you can take for free. As with Corsera, there is a free version, and some paid extras you can purchase. Choose Audit Course to access the free material with no time restriction, or give the trial version a go.
The last category of courses is Udemy, which sets itself apart from the two others in certain aspects. First of all, it’s not a university course. Instead, it builds on the collective knowledge of professional experts in the field of graphic design. Udemy also has a free and a paid version, and all lectures come with user ratings for your convenience.
There is a lot to choose from online, so we are going to have a look at the top 20 online course providers for graphic designers. Check out the list below:
1 – Alison Online
Perhaps the most versatile of the courses is Alison Online, as it covers a multitude of different fields. At the end of your class, you will be awarded a certificate upon completing a test. You can add this to your professional CV. Alison Online covers everything from general principles of design to specific courses on software like Photoshop.
The education you receive at MIT is pretty much unparalleled, so why settle for any less? MIT offers OpenCourseWare, which is a free database of online courses. Here, you can enjoy lectures from some of the leading experts from MIT. Note that the graphic design classes typically connect to broader courses like coding and design, but they are still handy.
3 – Skilled Up
Skilled up is an online portal that offers many different kinds of courses. When you visit them, you will see some price tags. Ignore these for now, and search for the class called Visual and Graphic Design. It’s free and very comprehensive. After you have tried it out, you can consider paying $19.99 for some of the other courses.
Canva is a cool website and app that lets you format images to fit social media platforms. Because they deal with graphics of all kinds, they also offer a free online course for graphic designers. Introduction to Graphic Design consists of four modules and covers all the basics from images to backgrounds, typography to coloring, as well as filters and shapes.
Envato is perhaps better known for its massive marketplace for WordPress themes. But there is so much more to Envato. Dig a little deeper, and you will find almost 1000 different courses on design and illustration. Whether you want to learn about Photoshop or Illustrator, there is a course for you. The best part of it is that it’s all free!
6 – Creative Pro
If you are already a graphic designer, you might have read an issue of Creative Pro. It is an online magazine that caters to graphic designers. They have a How-To section that includes a series of articles and videos on how to get started. Although they can be rudimentary to intermediates, beginners will be able to benefit significantly from these resources.
Another online course provider catering to artists and designers is CreativeLive. As with some of the previous course providers, they offer both paid and free courses. There is a wide range for you to choose from, whether you’re looking to brush up on Photoshop and Illustrator, or want to deep dive into CSS and HTML.
MIT is not the only academic institution offering free online courses. California Institute of the Arts provides an excellent online course that will teach you everything about typography and letterforms. This one is particularly good if you are not a tech expert and want to focus on the artistic side. All you need to know is some basic InDesign.
If you can’t get enough of typography, then don’t worry there’s more. As a graphic designer, you will be dealing with fonts and letters a lot. Therefore, it can be useful to know a bit about the history of typography. Not only will it inspire you to be more creative, but it will also put your head and shoulders above your competition.
Not all experts work for academic institutions or world-renowned agencies. Some are fine on their own. Verlee is one of those experts, but fortunately, she shares her knowledge nonetheless. Visiting her website is an inspiration on its own. Once you’re there, you will find software tutorials, how-to guides on building a portfolio, and client case studies.
This course is for those of you who feel like you can do university-level work without the university experience. Tutors and lecturers are excellent, but some people are okay with just being pointed in the right direction. Sean Hodge will do just that, and give you a list of all the online resources you need to design your graphic design degree.
Maryland Institute College of Art offers a comprehensive free online course in graphic design. Not only will you be taught all the basics that every beginner needs to know, but you will also learn about the history of graphic design. Also, you will be challenged to understand where the graphic design will go next regarding direction.
The California Institute of the Arts also wants to offer you some of their knowledge for free. This course is by the co-founder of Counterspace LA, so you know you’ll be in good hands. If you like a more hands-on approach to learning, then this one is definitely for you. Check in to learn about colors, shapes, fonts, and images.
14 – Graphic Design
From Maryland to California to Colorado. The University of Colorado will teach you all the essentials of graphic design. From proximity to contrast, from repetition to presentation slides, every aspect of the basics will be covered in this online course. All you need to get started is a presentation app like PowerPoint or Keynote.
Maybe you already know the basics of graphic design and would like to see a bit more about its history. This course will, first of all, teach you about how the art of design came about. It will also help you understand why specific items are the way they are. Putting graphic design into a historical and cultural context will help your creative mindset.
Another comprehensive course that will teach you graphic design basics is Introduction to Graphic Design. Sean Berg, the course leader, will also run through some of the histories of design. Rather than an interactive course, this is more traditional. Sean Berg will present the course using lecture slides and audio commentary.
Although the name of this course has the word introduction in it, you will need some necessary skills to get started. To get the most out of it, you need to be able to know the basics of drawing. It also helps to understand Illustrator and Photoshop. Finally, you might want a bit of knowledge of design theory to help you on the way.
This course is, as the name implies, specifically for learning about Adobe Photoshop. It takes a hands-on approach, so you will be learning by doing. A basic introduction of the software follows by some exercises for you to complete. You will learn about all the tools in Photoshop, and how to get the most out of all the features.
As with the course described above, this is a more specific course on Adobe Illustrator. The primary focus here is to design a good logo from start to finish. The course leader Lindsay Marsh will show you exactly what she is doing on the screen so that you can emulate her methods. By the end of it, you will almost be a logo designer ready to pitch clients.
Once you have completed the course above and knew how to create logos, it is time to take it to the next level. This course is more in-depth and will teach you the secrets of the most successful logos. Offering a step-by-step tutorial on how to make professional looking logos, this course is invaluable for any budding logo designer.Click here to watch the video on Introduction to graphic designing.