This list was compiled with extensive research, and I’m sure it will help you on your path to becoming a graphic designer with highly valuable skills.
Graphic design is not just about logos or typography. You also have to know about composition, color theory, and how some graphic design software like Adobe Illustrator works.
If you are interested in becoming a graphic designer, the good news is that the internet is full of professional online courses and programs to join.
Many think that you need to take some type of designer school or art school to become a graphic designer. If you were an employer, who would you recruit, the one who shows what he/she can do, or the one that has a paper on the subject?
What if you would like to own a graphic design studio?
Luckily there’s a course on that topic too. The wonderful thing about the internet is that you can find an online course on any given topic. You only need to know how to search online, and you landing to this page is already enough.
In this post, I have gathered and researched some of the graphic design industry’s best and most well-known online courses that will take you from a complete beginner to a more than capable professional in the graphic design industry.
The best thing about online courses is that they are jam-packed with quality content, and if you take your career and life seriously, you will put in the effort required and do the work.
Graphic design is by no means easy, and you will need that visual eye to make great designs. But as with anything, you can learn these things, and the courses listed below will give you an excellent compilation of different aspects of the graphic design industry.
Whether you are looking for a typography course, logo design course, UX & UI design, or even how to build your own creative business, this post will give you all you need.
So let’s get started!
Below is a list of courses and programs that you can read more about and see if it’s a good fit for you and if you could get from it what you are looking for.
Possibly one of the most obvious skills a graphic designer needs in his/her work. Typography is all about making the type legible, readable, and good to look at. Something that makes the viewer’s eyes rest on, and that makes the viewer read the writing.
When it comes to typography, you have to think about what kind of typeface (font) you select, line-spacing, point-sizes, line lengths, letter-spacing, and so on. So typography is essentially a form of art, and thankfully it is, as people are creating awesome looking fonts these days.
And not just fonts but awesome typeface arrangements. Below is a course that is the best course on typography found at the time of writing.
There are two different courses, but if you are serious about typography, you should considering taking both courses.
Type 1: A lecture-discussion class covering history, typographic vocabulary, measurements and terms, type anatomy, rhythm, pacing, the importance of grids and the page, classifications, software usage, and more.
Beginner level, three hours.
Type 2: This class demonstrates setting up pages and layout grids in InDesign. The class encompasses order, structure, line calculation, styles, multiple pages, hierarchy, InDesign techniques, and more.
Intermediate level, three hours.
If a course is not your thing, you can also get workshops or a session with TypeEd where your typography needs are taken to another level.
Type 3: A comprehensive class for the seasoned designer or art director who wants to finesse typographic details. The class reviews keep options, flush spaces, ligatures, fakes, hyphenation, fractions, text cleanup, and more.
Advanced level, three hours.
Runner-up: Typography 01 by theFutur
I think theFutur.com is one of my favorite places to search for graphic design resources and courses, so I had to include their course here too.
The course has 4 modules, over 1,000 students already, and there are more than 6 hours of content available for you.
We see logos everywhere, even in our dreams (unfortunately). Yet again, logo design is one of those skills a graphic designer just should have, even at a beginner level, if anything. A logo is an emblem, symbol, or a graphic mark used to promote a company or create that public identification and recognition,
A logo is often thought of as something hugely important, and often a huge amount of time is used to design a logo, even a simple one.
A logo does create a representation of a company, and thus, it should have specific elements attached to it, to make it unique, different, but also familiar, making people feel good about it and drawn to it.
Let’s go through what courses are available when it comes to logo design.
Logocore offers not just logo design but also guidance on branding, freelancing, and animation. So if you want a bit more than just a logo design course, this course could be the one for you.
There are a total of 8 modules, over 13 hours of content, free updates, lifetime access, community, and mock client projects.
And if you want to upgrade your purchase, you can select the $100 option (Masterclass + Resources) which gives you the following items:
- Logo Animation Lessons
- Logo Presentation Mockups
- Style Guide Project Files
- Marketplace Priority
- Verified Certificate
And if you want even more help with logo design, there’s also an option to get mentorship, priced at $320 at the time of writing.
Runner-up: Logo Design by theFutur
As theFutur is a business and design house. I can’t leave the fact out that they do have amazing courses on all things design. So they do have a course on logo design too, of course.
The course has 6 modules, over 400 minutes of content, and will cover the following topics:
- Letter marks and monograms
- Monoline logos
- Word mark logos
- Combination marks
- Bonus module (Chris’s popular Adobe Illustrator shortcuts, “meh”)
- Bonus: Logo Critique
If you are using a platform like Skillshare, I recommend that you check out Jessica’s course called Logotype Masterclass with Jessica Hische.
A graphic designer can’t be a graphic designer if there’s no software to do the design with. Surely plenty of designers use pen and paper to do the design, but you still need your work to be digitized.
Adobe is probably the biggest software company in the world and is trusted by millions of designers and creative people around the world.
Illustrator is specifically about vector art and making those non-destructible and highly-scalable designs out to the world.
You can get Illustrator (single app) for about $21/month, or if you want to get all Adobe apps at once, then it’s roughly $53/month.
But when it comes to learning the actual software, we turn to online courses and see what’s available and what covers the program as thoroughly as needed.
This is what is said on the course page:
Udemy’s best-selling Illustrator course – by one of the Top 10 Adobe Instructors in the world – teaches you to use this industry-leading vector graphic application as a creative professional. The whole course content, including examples, techniques, exercises, and quizzes, have been carefully selected and refined to offer the most efficient and enjoyable way to master Adobe Illustrator.
This course has been purposely designed for users of all experiences, from complete beginners to existing Illustrator users, who want to take their skills to the next level. Being able to work with Illustrator confidently is an essential skill for any Graphic Designer or Illustrator, but it is an equally useful tool for Product Designers, Fashion Designers, UI/UX designers, and various other areas within and outside of the creative industry.
The course was created by Martin Perhiniak and have to say this isn’t the first time I come across this guy. So it was a pleasant surprise to see him being the teacher for this course. Martin has been in the business of design for a long time, so no wonder it’s one of the best illustrator courses found on Udemy.
The course has 94 videos and a total of 12 hours of content. You also have the option to download working files, and the content has been updated with the latest updates from Adobe CC.
Price: $14.99 (bargain)
Photoshop is probably one of the oldest art software (yes, there’s MS Paint still available) in the world. I remember using CS4 years back before I switched to Photoshop CC and to the subscription model. Luckily it’s not too costly to own this software.
Currently, it’s priced at $9.99/month (Creative Cloud Photography plan), and it comes with Lightroom and 20Gb of cloud storage.
While we might think that isn’t Illustrator, the one software to use when talking about doing design-related work. Photoshop is still excellent work for doing all sorts of things. Whether it’s color palette design work, creating different layouts for packaging, typeface design, etc.
While many think that Photoshop is only for photography, artists (including me) use the program for doing drawings, and illustrations.
And as for designers, creating flyers, posters, adjusting colors, or creating different layer effects to your images, Photoshop is the one software to use.
Let’s go through which courses are the best when it comes to learning Adobe Photoshop.
This is the best course I could find for learning everything about Adobe Photoshop CC. The course is created by Daniel Scott, who is a certified Adobe instructor. And what this means is that the course is created by someone who went and took the certification exam arranged by Adobe.
The course is best suited for beginners, and the course has been taken by more than 16,000 creatives, and over 70% of the reviewers said the course exceeded their expectations.
As the course can be found on Skillshare, the price will be based on a subscription.
Skillshare subscription price: $8/month
If you want a more advanced level course, Daniel has another course for you:
This course has 13+ hours of content, 10+ interactive exercises, 68 downloadable resources, and much more. So there’s a lot of content for you if you feel that you are past beginner level and want to get in-depth knowledge.
The course has been taken by more than 5,400 creatives, and more than 80% of the reviewers said the course exceeded their expectations.
And as you can find this course on Skillshare, you will only pay the same monthly price of $8, and you can learn both courses in the same month if you have the time.
InDesign is the industry-leading layout and page design software for print and digital media. If you are doing print media, flyers, brochures, annual reports, magazines, or even books. InDesign is the software you should choose.
InDesign is one software I’m truly interested in learning, so finding the best possible course to learn the ins and outs of this software is right up on my alley.
InDesign costs $20.99/month as a single app, or if you want to get an annual plan, then it would set you back $239.88/year. The plan grants you access to the latest features and updates as soon as they’re released. You will also get 100GB of cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark with the plan.
As for the best courses
on Adobe InDesign:
InDesign Quick Start by David Blatner
David Blatner is the co-host of CreativeProWeek.com and InDesignSecrets.com. David is also co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign and Real World Photoshop. So we can be pretty safe when we assume that David knows what he is talking about. However, as this course is for the beginners and only an introduction, I would complete this course by taking one of David’s from Skillshare.
LinkedIn learning pricing: $29.99/month or $299.88/year
But as I mentioned before, I would take another course to complete the experience. And it seems getting a course from David is the best choice.
Runner-up/Complimentary course: Adobe InDesign CC – Advanced Training by David Scott.
The course has been taken more than 3,900 creatives and is considered as an advanced InDesign course. The course has 70 lectures and 7+ hours of video content and gives you an in-depth look at the many features InDesign has as a layout and page-design software.
Skillshare subscription price: $8/month
Without a good composition, designs, typeface, logos, etc. it would be hard to understand and read. Composition affects the way we see and feel an image or a design. The composition is kind of ‘the’ make it or break it of design.
Bad composition leads to a bad experience, and when that happens, you’ve failed as a designer. But how to learn composition, it is, after all, a visual skill. If you have a designer’s eye, creating good composition might come naturally from you. You might not even need to study that too much.
However, even with good taste on visual and good eye on design, it’s not a bad idea to learn more about composition. People are, after all, constantly creating new ways to attract our eyes. Good composition does that. Attract and create curiosity toward a subject.
Sean Adams is the founder of design firm AdamsMorioka and has done design for clients such as Adobe. Sean Adams is a fulltime faculty member at Art Center College of Design and is the only two-term AIGA national president in the organization’s 100-year history.
The course includes topics:
- Creating meaning with complex shapes
- Using three-dimensional thinking
- Maximizing the power of scale
- How the tension is created with dissimilar elements
- Alternative layout processes
- Minimalism and maximalism
- Rhythm in sequential design
Over 65,000 students have viewed the course. The course is an advanced one for the ones looking to learn all about layout and composition. There’s also a beginner version of the same topic by the same designer called: Graphic Design Foundations: Layout and Composition.
You can find both of these courses from LinkedIn Learning.
LinkedIn learning pricing: $29.99/month or $299.88/year
UX & UI design
User experience and user interface design. UX & UI is critical when it comes to using services, products, anything really. Even when you are reading this, it’s all about user experience and how you see this text. This text could be white on black or red on green. Your experience would be very different if you would have to read this in a large font from a tiny screen.
All of the above are UX and UI related things. How you experience and use a certain service. If we think about Netflix and how you scroll through the series and movies, or how you search for something to watch. If the UI were clunky or bad to use, you would notice it.
If the series were listed in text format, would it be so good of user experience? Unlikely.
With any service, product, whether physical or digital, UX is essential. Even with ATMs, where you withdraw cash from your bank account. If the user interface were complicated and hard to understand, it could be that you wouldn’t be able to get cash from the machine when needed.
In design, UX and UI skills are something that you should at least a little about.
What is said about the course:
In this course, UX Fundamentals, you’ll explore the elements of UX and its place within the development cycle. First, you’ll uncover quick and easy user research techniques that will help in understanding users and their goals. You’ll be able to apply this understanding throughout projects to ensure designs are user-centered.
The course creator Krispian Emert has worked for award-winning agencies in Canada and Australia and has provided strategic UX consulting for some of the world’s top brands. And if you are looking for a more advanced course, you can get it from the same creator.
Becoming More Valuable UX Professional
Both of the courses can be bought from Pluralsight.
Price: $29/month or $299/year
As for the UI (user interface), the following course will give you a solid foundation for becoming the best in UI design.
The program differs from the rest of the group in the sense that CareerFoundry promises to land you a job as a UI designer after the program, or you will get your money back. The program is flexibly paced, 30h/week for 4.5 months, or 15h/week for 9 months. You have a mentor that is guiding you through the course, and almost 96% got a job after graduating.
Rating: 4.9/5 from over 4000 student reviews
These are some impressive values, but so is the price.
Price: Roughly $6,000
Though if you can land a job after the program, that’s a nice bonus to think about.
How do you measure a brand? What is a brand? What is a business? While many think that brand is a logo, symbol, or some other landmark. A brand is a bit more than that. A brand is something that identifies you from the rest. So in a way, when you have a brand, you become unique.
Designing a brand involves a lot of different skills, but as you are reading this, you are already ahead of the pack. This list covers your graphic designer skill needs, and when you become a so-called full-stack designer (meaning that you have mastered your craft), you know all the things needed to create a brand.
Typeface, logo, colors, layout, messaging, UX, UI, etc. A brand is all of those things, but more importantly, a brand is a complete experience that is different from the rest — creating a memorable experience within you.
This course was created by Mike Murphy, Sr Director @ M.L.Murphy Productions. The course has 4-modules, that cover topics such as foundations, visual branding, serving your clients, and organizing your brand. The course has 9h 30 min of video content, and you get lifetime access to the material.
Price: $499 (one-time payment) or if you want to get all CXL courses, you can also buy a subscription for $199/month
Print design and publication
Even though a lot of visuals are consumed in digital format, the print is still present in our lives. Print design is a form of visual communication in which the design is printed on a tangible surface. Whether it’s newspaper, magazine, flyer, or a brochure, printed media is something that designers still do work for.
While we know that digital media is becoming a more and more dominant form of communication, there are still people who read newspapers or pick a magazine or two.
While many principles do work in both medium, digital, and physical, there are few differences, and one of them is the color profile when designs are sent to print. What might look good on your display might look awful when printed.
By combining physical and digital communication, a designer is able to present new ways to communicate a client’s message worldwide.
The course has been taken by roughly 3,500 students already and is rated 4/5 stars. It has 2-3 hours worth of content, and you are able to get a certification upon completion. While the certificate is not one that is accredited, it’s still something you can show to future employers or add to your resume.
As the course is provided by Alison.com, you can take it for free. All you need to do is sign up and create an account.
Packaging and product design
Designing a package is all about making products look good. When we keep the discussion on design, the first thing I have in my mind is Starbucks and their coffee cups. That is packaging with capital B on branding.
But that is design, right? That is making a product look good, making the package identifiable and something people can relate to. When you see a person with a bunch of Starbucks coffee cups on her desk, you instantly think that the person trusts on Starbucks and likes to use their service.
So the next time when you see a similar package, you think of coffee, and that is the power of branding in packaging and product design.
Making the package something that represents the company in the best possible way. Creating product designs that ooze the company’s brand and showcases how the company is different from others.
Remember when Apple brought another form of packaging to the market. You didn’t just buy an iPhone, you bought experience, and the experience started already by opening the package. The packaging was beautiful and not just another tech device.
It’s said that you can sell the same product in a different package and charge a premium for it. Think about premium soaps, it’s soap after all, and you can charge a premium just by packaging it luxuriously and making the design shout elite.
Packaging and product design are exciting, and it was interesting to find the best possible course on product design and packaging.
The course was created by Gerardo Herrera, and more than 50,000 creatives have taken the course. The course is 1h long and is suited for beginners.
- Why is packaging important?
- What makes a successful package?
- Choosing a form that communicates the brand
- Finding a packaging vendor
- Designing and testing
- Typography choices
- Color considerations
- Materials, texture, and finishes
- Shelf appeal and consumer response
Motion graphic and animated graphic design
Animation and digital footage that creates the illusion of motion. That is pretty much what is said in the short description found on Wikipedia. But what is this got to do with graphic design? Should you be an animator too?
Well, if you are going to be doing animated graphic design, then yeah. That is one subcategory in graphic design.
Animated graphic design can be found from the television title sequences. Think HBO’s Ture Detective, Netflix’s Stranger Things, and you get the point.
Animated graphic design is graphic design, but instead of it being static, there’s motion in it. You can use it effectively in branding projects, where you want to animate a logo, for example. Or if you want to do a product launch, you might want something graphical design implemented to it, like in the Bubly commercial.
As the way to do animation and motion graphics is so varied, I made the decision to add an entire site specialized in motion graphics.
Motion Design School offers plenty of courses on animation, whether it’s character animation, Adobe After Effects fundamentals, Cinema 4D, or Toon Boom.
The price ranges from FREE to $599
Now, what on earth does project management got to do with graphic design? The next few courses will concentrate on entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Project management skills are essential when you are running your own design agency. Even if there would be only you, and it would be kind of a one-man-band. You still need management skills.
You will “eventually” get client projects that are big in scale, so you need a system in place to be able to organize your work. The online course presented here is one that covers the very basic needs a small business owner needs when it comes to handling client projects.
The course is made with the graphic design industry in mind as it’s done none other than theFutur.com’s creatives.
Practical Project Management
The course has 70+ videos, plug & play email templates, work approval form, software tutorials, and bonuses such as delivery folder structure, and project delivery structure.
The course is co-created by Matthew Encina and Ben Burns.
Ben is a brand strategist, an award-winning designer, and just a successful entrepreneur all around. As the Digital Director of Blind, he leads at the intersection of design and technology and oversees most of the business development at Blind. He is responsible for closing millions of dollars in new business, with an average client engagement size of over $150,000.
Matthew is an award-winning creative director at Blind. Some of his clients include Fortune 500 brands, music artists, tech companies, and video games. For over a decade, he has been working on top-tier campaigns at some of Los Angeles’ premier design studios and agencies. His work has been featured in Fast Company, Creativity, Inc., Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, and in film & design festivals around the world.
When it comes to experience on client projects, you can’t go wrong with Ben and Matthew.
Time management & productivity
Believe it or not, but time management is the very foundation of your success in everything. While it might sound like, are you serious? I would argue that managing your time efficiently is the best thing you can do to your business.
And if you skipped straight to this part of the post, I have to remind you that time management and project management are here if you are one who would like to establish a creative agency and become a productive powerhouse.
If you think about your days and where you spend your time the most, would you say it’s doing work or… could it be that the majority of your time goes to something totally else than work and being productive.
Surfing online, chatting on WhatsApp, scrolling Facebook feed, checking the latest Instagram posts, or entertainment news, might not be the most efficient way to spend your time.
It’s amazing how many times our minds wander around, and we stop doing productive work. It’s no wonder if people don’t advance in their lives when the time is used to do things that are not related to anything but garbage.
So let’s check what could be the best time management course you can get yourself and start being more productive.
But rather than just getting yourself time management course, let’s get you something better. A total revamp of your life.
HPX Courses is a monthly program that brings the world’s best personal development courses to you on a monthly basis. Every month you will get full implementation guides and monthly challenges to keep you on your A-game. You basically get more than a dozen online personal development courses for the price of one.
When it comes to personal development, Brendon Burchard is your go-to man. Even Oprah, Usher, and Inc.com have recognized him as one of the best personal development coaches of our time.
This is what you’ll get within the program:
- EIGHT (8) personal development courses unlocked for you right now! Four from Brendon Burchard, and 4 from other personal development legendary teachers like Danielle LaPorte, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, and health guru Dr. Mark Hyman!
- TWO (2) world-class personal development courses unlocked every month.
- Monthly implementation guides and emails to keep you on-track and growing!
- FREE group coaching session with a Certified High-Performance Coach to talk through where you are, where you want to go, and what habits and strategies get you there faster.
Price: $59.99/month or $349/year
As you are building your own design agency, you do have to know a thing or two about marketing, especially digital marketing.
Persuasion, client acquisition, lead generation, social media reach, Facebook, and Google advertising; All these things mentioned are only the very tip of the marketing iceberg you have to master.
It’s essential that you are known, found, liked, and trusted in the marketplace, and with correct and strong messaging, you can carve a market share for yourself.
Let’s dive in and see one of the strongest digital marketing online course on planet earth currently.
I can not say enough good things about Seth Godin. After reading his book, ‘This is marketing,’ I can say that Seth is teaching marketing from the right perspective. Not from the perspective of leads and greed but by getting permission and helping people.
You and are, after all, marketing to people, so we should also approach them as people, people with feelings, desires, emotions, fears, and hopes. Marketing can be a beautiful thing, and Seth Godin is the best teacher to show you that.
Price: $745 (includes 70 lessons)
You can also grab the core 50 lessons from Udemy.
Graphic Design Business
Creating your own graphic design agency could be terrifying, or it could be exciting. To ease the pain of knowing everything and repeating errors, it’s a good option to learn from the ones managing a creative business already.
I guess I’m a small fan of theFutur.com and so I couldn’t leave this course without a mention.
So here it is, the full course on creatives wanting to build their own graphic design agency.
While the program is open only now and then, you can always go through the other courses mentioned here and top it off with this Business Bootcamp course when it opens for the public.
Price: $ (not available)
So here’s the full list of online courses most graphic designers should take or at least know that these skills could come handy down in the graphic river.