Best Online Graphic Design Courses
Graphic designers create visuals using print, electronic, and other media forms. In addition, they create logos, brochures, visual designs, ads, etc., to promote products or services. A graphic designer is as important (and sometimes even more) to a company as the product or service they provide. You can easily learn all about profession’s importance with the best online graphic design courses featured in this guide.
Introduction to Typography
by Anther Kiley
Platform: Coursera – Review
Fundamentals of Graphic Design
by Michael Worthington
Platform: Coursera – Review
Graphic Design Masterclass – Learn GREAT Design
by Lindsay Marsh
Platform: Udemy – Review
Graphic Design Bootcamp: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign
by Derrick Mitchell
Platform: Udemy – Review
Great Graphic Design: Create Emotional, Gripping Typographic Art
by Sophia Yeshi
Platform: Skillshare – Review
Graphic Design Overview
If you are interested in starting a career in graphic design, your decision sounds quite reasonable. So, to help you gather the information needed, we’ve come up with this detailed guide that answers the following questions:
- Why learn graphic design?
- What are some possible graphic design jobs?
- Which are the graphic design tools to master?
- What graphic design career opportunities are available?
- What knowledge is needed to start a career in graphic design?
- Where to learn graphic design?
Best Way to Learn Graphic Design
If you are new to graphic design, there are many things to learn for sure. But, now that you know the career you want to pursue or the skills you want to learn in your current role, it’s time you take the first step. So, where to start?
Briefly put, if you are keen on learning the traditional way, you could enroll at a college or university and invest the next couple of years into earning a degree. Just ensure you have the money and time needed, as getting a college or university degree does require lots of money and time.
On the other hand, you could look for some local graphic design academies to enroll at. In general, these are cheaper and take less time when compared to a traditional college degree. Hence, if you want to take a shortcut, go for academies.
Certainly one of the most preferred ways of learning nowadays, you could learn and master graphic design online from the comfort of your home. As graphic designers are so in-demand, most online learning platforms offer courses on the topic. So you just have to find the best online graphic design courses and start your learning journey.
Why Learn Graphic Design
The answer to why you should learn graphic design and choose a career in the field has much to do with human nature. The truth is, about 65% of people are visual learners meaning that they process information and create their opinions primarily based on what they see.
As a result, without a distinctive visual identity, a company won’t be as successful in selling a product or service regardless of its quality. And this is precisely why graphic designers are always in high demand (the second most in-demand design skill, according to research), especially in the digital world we live in.
This doesn’t only mean that you can land a job quickly, but you can also earn a very nice salary. Although it can vary depending on location, experience, and company, graphic designers earn, on average, about $65,000 per year.
Perks of Being a Graphic Designer
As already noted, graphic design is a fantastic career to mull over. It is especially suitable for creatives looking for an active job. Besides respectable salaries, being a graphic designer offers a great variety of other benefits, including:
Plenty of Job Opportunities
Graphic design isn’t tied to only one industry. Indeed, visuals are needed in just about every sector, meaning that there are plenty of job opportunities to explore.
Versatile Working Environments
A laptop and wi-fi connection is everything a graphic designer needs to be able to work. In other words, you can work in an office or from home, whichever suits you better.
Many Specialties to Choose from
There are numerous graphic design specialties to choose from, like web design, typography, user experience design, illustration, 3D packaging, etc. Just pick your preferred one.
Constant Need for Learning
There are always some new tools and trends to learn and master in graphic design as aesthetics and technology change and evolve pretty quickly. So, working in the field is never dull.
In the end, being a graphic designer is all about expressing creativity. It’s indeed what you should do on a daily basis – think of creative ideas and concepts, experiment with them, and create the end product.
Graphic Designer Industry Trends for 2022
Just like any other industry, graphic design is changing continuously. As a result, new trends and technologies appear to designers should adopt if they don’t want to fall by the wayside. So, if you are willing to stay in the world of graphic design in 2022, you’d better follow these trends:
One of the most significant trends for 2022 is inclusive visuals which are already featured in the best online graphic design courses. This trend is all about including people from different backgrounds no matter their orientation, race, and gender.
Fun Data Visualization
People got tired of seeing dry and dull data visualizations, i.e., graphs and charts. Hence, in 2022 we can see fun data visualizations coming to the fore, which present complex data in an informative, entertaining, and engaging way.
Serif fonts look calming and nostalgic and elegant and stylish at the same time. Though considered a classical type of font, serif fonts have made a comeback over the last year, and it looks like they are here to stay.
Custom Brand Visuals
Want to create a unique brand and bring some creativity into web design? – Then, custom brand visuals are a must. You can add an extra touch and interest to your design, from minimal images to full-blown photo collages, which you cannot do with stock photos.
Finally, in 2022, we see quotes making a comeback but with a twist. Instead of seeing the old inspirational quotes from the past, educational quotes from blogs, podcasts, videos, etc., shared in marketing visuals are all the rage now.
Graphic Design Jobs
Graphic design is undoubtedly one of the defining skills of the digital era and the world of software, design, sketches, etc. However, there is such a great variety of careers to choose from. So, here are the top ones you can pursue if you are about to learn graphic design either by earning a traditional degree or taking some of the best online graphic design courses.
If you are keen on art, being an illustrator will enable you to emphasize your love for art and create visuals and images for book covers, storyboards, campaigns, and much more. The main illustrator’s job tasks include:
- Digital editing of websites
- Business presentations creation
- Cooperation with marketing departments
Born to be a leader? As an art director, you won’t only use your art love but also your leadership and communication skills at all times. You will be in charge of improving the appearance of the facility you manage, which is a huge responsibility. The main art director’s job tasks include:
- Design and create projects
- Communicating with local authorities and officials
- Cooperating with numerous artists and teams
Are you the one person always bringing energy to meetings? If yes, being a creative designer will ideally suit you. The job requires lots of creativity and knowledge of the latest trends for creating ads, campaigns, graphics, and more. The main creative designer’s job tasks include:
- Use different graphic design programs
- Find innovative solutions to fulfill client visions
- Create ads, banners, web pages, marketing materials, etc.
Here’s one perfect career for those who enjoy films. As a film editor, you should assess movies and edit videos to ensure the right message is presented to your target audience. The critical thing is to portray the clients’ vision. The main film editor’s job tasks include:
- Reading and understanding scripts
- Spending time on set while filming
- Editing footage and selecting scenes
And, probably the most popular of all, being a web designer means being in charge of just about everything that has to do with website location platforms, from maneuvering content and scheduling posts to press releases and other content. The main web designer’s job tasks include:
- Creating websites
- Setting deadlines and publishing settings
- Producing pages and layout
Graphic Design Tools
In the past, designers used to be quite limited to only a few choices and tools strictly available for PC or Mac operating systems. Luckily, now the field is open, and there are numerous tools to choose from, many of which have iOS and Android mobile apps and support for Linux and Chrome OS. You just have to go through the best graphic design software and decide which will make your work easier.
Best Graphic Design Software
Adobe Illustrator sets the standard for logos, artwork, infographics, icons, and other types of design. It supports different platforms, including Windows, Mac, iPad, and Android, and costs $31.49 a month with the monthly plan and $20.99 a month with the annual plan. And, as a bonus, it offers a seven-day free trial. The key features of Adobe Illustrator are:
- Extensive library
- Adobe Sensei AI
- Data merge
- Creative Cloud
When it comes to desktop publishing, Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard. Its extensive editing tools are adequate for anyone, from beginners to professionals. And, like Adobe Illustrator, it also offers a seven-day free trial and supports Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. The key features of Adobe Photoshop are:
- An incredible array of tools
- Content-aware fill
- Timesaving features
Thanks to its intuitive user interface, Affinity Designer is one of the best choices for those new to graphic design. It is considered a worthy competitor to Adobe Illustrator, featuring similar tools and added features like 1,000,000% zoom, version history, etc. It is suitable for Windows, Mac, and iPad, and there are no subscription fees, just a one-time purchase. The key features of Affinity Designer are:
- Color management
- Timesaving tools
- Real-time changes
If you need an alternative to Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator for working on existing images, Affinity Photo is an excellent choice offering layers and filters for striking effects. You can work with SVG file format and PSD files, too. It comes with a 90-day free trial and supports Windows, Mac, and iPad. The key features of Affinity Photo are:
- Amazing editing tools
- Additional overlay packs
- Panoramic stitching
Although it is a free graphic design software, Figma offers numerous features like free unlimited cloud storage, vector graphics, and other stunning tools. However, if you want to enjoy the complete set of tools, you’ll have to upgrade to the Professional plan. It can be run on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS. The key features of Figma include:
- Numerous creative tools
Gravit Designer isn’t only an image editing software but also a vector illustration software and a GNU image manipulation program. The software is customizable and user-friendly. The software supports Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, and Linux and offers 500 MB of cloud storage for free and unlimited storage with the paid version. The key features of Gravit Designer include:
- Remarkable compatibility with other platforms and devices
- Customizable features
- Outstanding user support
Looking for a comprehensive design solution? Look no further than Canva, enabling you to work on different projects while offering a great variety of images, backgrounds, templates, fonts, etc., many of which you can get for free. It works on a Web browser, Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. The key features of Canva are:
- Drag-and-drop design
- Social media integration
- Collaboration tools
Unlike other software options, Sketch runs only on Mac, which is a significant con. Yet, its features make it one of the preferred vector editing software, together with the incredibly user-friendly interface. And it comes with a 30-day free trial. The key features of Sketch are:
- Uncluttered interface
- Guest collaboration
- Mobile design
Being one of the first open-source design software programs, GIMP is quite well-known, mainly for photo editing. It provides great functionality for free with a customizable workspace and user-friendly navigation. It also offers outstanding support with its knowledge base, community, and documentation. It’s available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The key features of GIMP are:
- Great suite of tools
- Frequent updates
- Multiple drawing options
Last but not least, Inkscape can be run on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It offers a free version packed with lots of functionality, yet hard to learn, as the user interface isn’t as intuitive as in the paid version. Still, you can quickly get help from the documentation and forum provided. The key features of Inkscape are:
- Helpful text tools
- Drawing tools
- SVG file support
Graphic Design Career Opportunities
If you are starting to consider a graphic design career path, you should choose one from the many job options available. Once you’ve done with that, it’s time you explore the career options available.
There are plenty of career directions in the graphic design field. For example, you could start working for a design agency or studio, PR agency, publishing company, set up your own studio, or begin a freelancing career.
Graphic designers can also branch out into other design fields as they have various transferable skills that help them transition into other similar professions. For instance, graphic designers can use their skills to improve in UX/UI design or web development.
And, you don’t need to have a university degree to succeed in the industry. Real-world experience is what matters. You can gain such experience by taking several best online graphic design courses that include hands-on projects, working on personal or volunteer projects, or doing internships.
As you can see, there are numerous career opportunities. You just have to learn the necessary skills and tools, practice and apply your skills, build your portfolio, and make connections in the graphic design world that will lead to landing a job relatively soon.
Graphic Design Prerequisite
A sense of creativity, style, and originality are essential if you want to pursue a career in graphic design. Furthermore, excellent communication skills and familiarity with computer graphics, design software, and animation are desirable. So, before you dig deeper into the field, you should take some basic art and design courses.
Another key factor to consider is keeping up with industry trends and technology advancements (like the latest design software and computer graphics updates). Also, a successful graphic designer should be able to adapt to new ideas, work under pressure, and follow fashion, trends, music, and other cultural cues.
Plus, keeping good business sense and understanding of sales and marketing are also worth mentioning, especially for freelancers or those who have graphic design studios. And, if you’d like to work for an agency, you’d better be flexible and learn how to work both independently and collaboratively, always adhering to the company’s deadlines and schedules.
Best Graphic Design Online Learning Platforms
Here are the best online platforms for learning Graphic Design. You can find out everything about these online learning platforms by reading our in-depth review.
Where to Learn Graphic Design
Being one of the most in-demand digital era skills, learning graphic design by taking some of the best online graphic design courses is a fantastic opportunity for any creatives keen on design.
But why take online courses rather than earn a traditional degree? – The answer is pretty simple. Superb online graphic design courses are available for all budget and experience levels. Plus, it takes much less time to complete a course than to earn a degree. Some online learning platforms even provide accredited certification, so it’s pretty much like getting a university diploma.
That said, it’s time to discuss the most suitable platforms for learning graphic design online. Udemy, Skillshare, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Pluralsight, and Udacity are all considered great options as they all focus on technology and have highly-experienced instructors to share their knowledge with you.
The bottom line, you have to identify the exact career path you want to pursue and find the right set of best online graphic design courses that suit your needs.