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One of the great things the internet has to offer is online courses. Whether you’re looking to learn graphic design, learn a new language, or learn how to start lettering, chances are there’s a resource for you to learn how. In this article, we have collected the best free online graphic design courses!
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But I know what you’re thinking – that you don’t have time. You have a full-time job, a house and children to take care of, and you don’t have extra money to spend on books or materials or to pay for courses, and you don’t want to take out another student loan to pay.
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I understand all of this and let me say that these excuses are just that. Say it. Yes, we are all busy and have other commitments. However, here is the wonderful news you have been waiting for…
Yes, for free. I know we don’t use that word very often in our culture anymore. But if you are interested in taking a graphic design course, whether you are a beginner or have been in the field for 25 years, free is fine.
With that in mind, we wanted to highlight some of the best free graphic design courses you can find online in 2022 and beyond. This way you can excuse yourself, start learning and add a new skill or sharpen an old one. Let’s get started!
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You don’t have to become a graphic designer in school. In fact, if you follow the steps below and enroll in a free graphic design course, you will be well on your way to becoming a professional graphic designer.
Deciding to take an online course to learn a new skill, try a new path, or even as a refresher of the skills you already have is a very honorable thing to do. Like you, I understand that time, money and many other factors may prevent you from choosing one course and taking another.
We hope the featured free design courses can give you an idea of some of the best free graphic design courses available online today.
Below we have shared the top 10 reputable online graphic design course providers and the courses they recommend to start learning graphic design.
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If youarelearninggraphicdesign,youshouldknowthat Adobe offers industry-standard graphic design software for creative professionals and offers free trials and some generous student discounts that can save you up to 65%.
Adobe offers a subscription service called “Creative Cloud” that gives you access to several powerful design applications, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and more. See the full list of Adobe software here.
Skillshare offers prospective students many short but in-depth courses focused on graphic design. Many of these are available for free, or you can access them all with a paid subscription. To help beginners, we wanted to highlight some useful and free courses.
Whether you’re a graphic design novice or an old pro, everyone has to start somewhere. In general, this means starting with the basics, which are the heart of Graphic Design Basics: Fundamental Principles of Visual Design. This 36 minute course will take you through the 5 basic principles of graphic design.
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The second class, taught by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips, will show you how to apply these basic principles to projects ranging from creative design, marketing, and even photography. Through the course you will learn:
The Creating Branding Systems course, taught by Mike Ski and Jesse Jay, designers at True Hand, asks students to consider how a great logo or branding system is created. Over the course of six video tutorials, Ski and Jay describe the collaborative process they used to create the logo for the Kensington Quarters restaurant in Philadelphia.
Shorter than most, the Creating Brand Systems course is designed with designers, illustrators, enthusiasts and creatives in mind. Those looking for a high-quality tour of what it takes to create a dynamic logo that can be used across many different channels and applications will want to check out this course.
When youare starting out as a graphic designer, you may spend a lot of time perfecting the logo that represents your brand to potential clients, but what about the typography on your website or business card? What does this tell your customers not only about your business, but also about you?
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Also taught by Ellen Lupton, curator of contemporary design at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, this course teaches you the difference between good typography (which can be very beneficial to you or your client) and bad typography (which can have harmful effects). In this course you will learn:
While not all courses on its site are free, Coursera offers online courses from some top universities like Stanford and Yale. At first glance, the site pushes you to pay for lessons, but there is an option to “audit” the class.
This means that although you will be able to attend the course, none of your work will be graded and you will not be able to receive a certificate at the end of the course. If you want to take the courses for free, follow these guides here and get started right away. Here are some free courses you might want to consider:
Taught by David Underwood, this graphic design course is structured to give you the tools to create professional reports, CVs, presentations and PowerPoints using techniques and practices that have been refined over years of practical application.
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Module 2: Discuss the importance of working with a grid, identifying negative space and using appropriate borders. You will also see the element palette, font, color, images and graphic components such as borders, bars and backgrounds.
Module 3: You will learn how using simple design “tricks” can give your project an air of confident professionalism.
Module 4: Finally, learn how to respond to criticism and use it to turn your project from good to great.
For a more in-depth course (6 months), check out their Graphic Design Specialization course and their Coursera Plus membership, which gives access to 3,000 courses.
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Led by Michael Worthington, a faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts, this course will teach you how to use visuals, rhythm, and pattern in design. You will also learn painting techniques, how to create your own series of paintings, and how to use scale, direction, texture, weight and space in your project.
In the Basics of Graphic Design course, the topics are divided into four segments of one week, each week dealing with a different topic:
Week 1 – Basics of Image Design – Lesson demonstrates how imagery works to convey connotative and denotative messages in first grade.
Week 2 – Typography Basics – This week’s class covers typography terminology and the basic rules for creating typography.
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Week 3 – Basics of Shape and Color – Graphic designers use shapes and colors as the fundamental building blocks of their work. In this week’s class, you will take a closer look at how they do this.
Week 4 – Composition Basics – How graphic designers use visual contrasts, cropping, direction and hierarchy with complex compositions and single images is the focus of this week’s lesson.
Los Angeles-based graphic designer Anther Kiley teaches anyone who already has a basic working knowledge and access to Adobe InDesign how to get the most out of the program’s features and tools.
The Introduction to Typography course delves into different areas of typography and is divided into 4 weekly lesson plans:
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Week 1: Speaking Text – In this week’s lesson, the course looks at fonts as physical artefacts and works of design.
Week 2: Fonts and Their Stories – Exploring how fonts can convey connotative meaning, otherwise known as how they can tell stories, is the focus of this week’s lesson.
Week 3: Putting Type to Work – Learning to use the visual principles and conventions of typesetting is the focus of this week’s course. Also included is a look at how letter, line and key spacing can be manipulated to improve their appearance.
Week 4: Create Meaningful Type – In the last week of the course, the class will explore how typography can dramatically shape the meaning of written language.
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You can learn graphic design online with Coursera and you can get it for free for 7 days as a trial. Either $49/month OR $499/year join Coursera Plus where the real value is.
With Coursera Plus, you can access the Graphic Design specialization and more than 3,000 other courses in a variety of fields, including business, computer science, health, personal development, humanities, and more.
A “specialization” like this 5-part graphic design course
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