Chriselle Sy | 19 May, 2023

8 Best Graphic Design Courses to Take in 2024

If you considered making a shift or starting a career in the field, graphic design courses offer a flexible alternative to a traditional four-year bachelor’s degree in design. This path appeals to those already working full-time jobs, those with limited resources, and those just testing the waters. Whatever the case, we invited the community at Hackr.io to contribute their favorite resources on the subject.

Our Favorite Online Resources:

Those looking to get started with self-directed learning sometimes start with graphic design books, which often include information about the fundamentals of design, tutorials, and guides on using the most popular graphic design apps and software in the industry. However, if you prefer to learn with video and hands-on projects, you may want to enroll in online graphic design courses.

That's why we created this guide. We evaluated the best online courses for graphic design based on depth, expertise, and overall value (including the price). We prefer graphic design classes online for their flexible schedules and remote environments, and we give higher marks to those with projects.

If you’re ready to try a graphic design course, we’ve curated the full list of the best below. Let’s get right to it!

1. (Udemy) Graphic Design Masterclass – Learn GREAT Design - Best Graphic Design Course Online Overall

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Key Information:

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Author: Lindsay Marsh
  • Duration: 29 hours of on-demand video; self-paced
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Prerequisites:
    • Access to design software like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. You can also use Affinity Photo, Designer, or Publisher
      • If using Adobe products, the author recommends version CS6+ or the current Creative Cloud (subscription) version to be able to follow along better

Why We Chose This Course

If you’re looking for the best online graphic design courses, Lindsay Marsh’s Graphic Design Masterclass: Learn GREAT Design is undoubtedly at the top. This course is one of the most popular in the graphic design category at Udemy. With more than 200,000 enrollees and a solid rating of 4.7/5 stars, author Lindsay Marsh created a hit course that teaches the fundamentals of graphic design.

In this course, you’ll be able to gain an understanding of design fundamentals and elements like typography, layouts, color theory, and more. The course also touches on topics like logo design, photo optimization, branding, etc. Because the course is designed for beginners, it also goes over how to do certain things using your design software.

If you already know the fundamentals, then this course may not be for you. In that case, you can try another course by Lindsay Marsh: Graphic Design Masterclass Intermediate: The NEXT Level.

It’s worth mentioning that author Lindsay Marsh releases monthly discount coupons for her courses (for those who have enrolled in at least one before), which will allow you to purchase at a much more affordable rate. You may want to look out for these coupons or one of Udemy’s regular sales before you buy!

Pros

  • Covers everything you need to know about graphic design fundamentals
  • Also teaches you more about being a graphic designer, including some of the ins and outs of working in the industry
  • Goes on sale relatively often, and the author releases monthly coupons
  • Constantly updated with new information, projects, etc. to ensure content is fresh and current
  • Author Lindsay Marsh is hands-on

Cons

  • Doesn’t go too in-depth and covers mostly basics, so if you’re already somewhat knowledgeable you may want to go for the intermediate course
  • Pricey when not on sale
  • Requires access to graphic design software

2. (Coursera) Graphic Design Specialization by CalArts - Best Graphic Design Course for Beginners

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Key Information:

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Author: California Institute of the Arts
  • Duration: 6 months at 3 hours per week
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Prerequisites:
    • A computer and an internet connection
    • Access to (plus at least some beginner knowledge of) Adobe’s creative suite like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator
    • Some art materials

Why We Chose This Course

The Graphic Design Specialization offered by CalArts at Coursera is in contention for the best online graphic design course for beginners. This specialization covers design fundamentals, typography, and more — including graphic design history and branding. At the end of your program, you can start a career in design with some portfolio projects and a certificate of completion from the California Institute of the Arts via Coursera.

Pros

  • Learn from experienced faculty at CalArts
  • Interesting courses with projects to help cement your learning
  • Self-paced, you can go faster if you wish
  • Free to audit

Cons

  • Caters to beginners; more experienced learners may want to look elsewhere
  • Coursera subscription isn’t the most affordable

3. (CreativeLive) Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory & Application - Best for Learning About Color Theory

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Key Information:

  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Author: Richard Mehl
  • Duration: 8 hours and 14 minutes of on-demand video
  • Difficulty Level: All Levels
  • Certificate: No
  • Prerequisites:
    • Access to a computer and an internet connection
    • Access to graphic design software

Why We Chose This Course

If you’re looking for topic-specific graphic design online courses, Color For Designers: Exploration, Theory, & Application is a fantastic option. This course covers everything you need to know to better understand color terminology and meaning so you can apply it effectively to your designs.

This class has over eight hours of video-on-demand, which allows you to learn at your own pace. As mentioned earlier, that benefit caters especially to professionals working full-time outside of the field. Note that the course instructor has more than a decade of experience teaching in the industry.

Pros

  • Includes everything you need to know about color theory, terminology, and meaning
  • Incredibly in-depth
  • Learn through hands-on experience and projects
  • The course author has been teaching for over a decade at the School of Visual Arts

Cons

  • Somewhat long

4. (Udemy) Graphic Design Masterclass Intermediate: The NEXT Level - Best for Intermediate Learners

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Key Information:

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Author: Lindsay Marsh
  • Duration: 17 hours of on-demand video
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Prerequisites:
    • Basic working knowledge of graphic design
    • Knowledge of design software like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator (alternatively, Affinity Photo, Designer, or Publisher)
    • If using Adobe products, at least version CS6 recommended; better if Creative Cloud version (available via subscription)

Why We Chose This Course

If you already finished a basic graphic design online course, or if you’re otherwise already knowledgeable, you might want to skip some of the fundamentals courses and go straight to Lindsay Marsh’s Graphic Design Masterclass Intermediate: The NEXT Level. This course picks up where her basics masterclass left off and covers topics that can benefit you as an intermediate learner. If you’re looking for one of the best graphic designing courses for intermediates, this is certainly one of them!

As we’ve previously mentioned, Lindsay Marsh offers coupons each month to help you purchase her courses at a much more affordable rate if you have previously enrolled in one of her classes. This course also goes on sale relatively often, so you can save some cash by being a bit more patient!

Pros

  • Picks up where the beginner masterclass leaves off and covers topics well-suited to intermediate designers
  • Constantly updated with new information to ensure the latest and greatest information
  • Uses projects and hands-on learning to make it easier to understand each lesson
  • Goes on sale relatively often and the author provides a monthly coupon that you can use to save money

Cons

  • There have been complaints about some of the topics being a bit on the basic side (or repeated from the basics course)

5. (Udemy) The Branding Masterclass: The Entire Brand Design Process - For Designers Learning about Branding

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Key Information:

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Author: Lindsay Marsh
  • Duration: 8.5 hours of on-demand video
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner - Intermediate
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Prerequisites:
    • Access to a raster photo editing and a vector editing program (Adobe Photoshop or Affinity Photo; Adobe Illustrator or Affinity Designer)
    • Basic knowledge of the above apps

Why We Chose This Course

Yes, this is yet another course by Lindsay Marsh! The Branding Masterclass offers graphic designing training for those who want to get into this niche of graphic design. Every organization, company, business, and brand needs a strong and well-designed identity to stand out and be memorable in a sea of competition. This course will teach you everything you need to know to get started, covering the entire process from beginning to end.

Lindsay Marsh will teach you the branding process starting from the planning sketches to the client presentation. You’ll learn how to ask your client the right questions so you can formulate a plan and identify your client’s target customers and more.

If you’ve previously enrolled in one of Lindsay Marsh’s courses, you can get her monthly discount coupons in your e-mail inbox. It may benefit you to wait for these coupons or a sale to save a bit on cash.

Pros

  • Covers the whole branding process from start to finish
  • Frequently updated with new information to keep it current
  • Lindsay Marsh discusses topics and lessons in an easy-to-understand way

Cons

  • Best for beginner to intermediate designers, not for more knowledgable professionals

6. (CreativeLive) Typography Fundamentals - Best for Learning About Typography

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Key Information:

  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Author: Ilene Strizver
  • Duration: 6 hours of on-demand video
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner to all levels
  • Certificate: No
  • Prerequisites:
    • Access to graphic design software

Why We Chose This Course

If you want to succeed as a graphic designer, you’ll need strong knowledge and a working understanding of typography fundamentals. What you might eventually learn is that typography is one of the pillars of design, and it’s honestly quite more complex than just picking fonts to go together. And if you’re looking to improve your skills in graphic design, the best online courses on typography can help.

Typography Fundamentals by Ilene Strizver is one such course, covering six hours' worth of content, including the do’s and don’ts of typography. You also learn more about the types of typefaces available, as well as how to match them together most optimally.

Pros

  • Offers six hours of content covering thirteen lessons
  • Course is taught in a fun and engaging manner
  • Affordable
  • Comes with learning materials

Cons

  • Best suited for beginners to intermediates

7. (LinkedIn Learning) User Experience (UX) for Non-Designers - Best for Beginners Learning User Experience

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Key Information:

  • Author: Tom Green
  • Duration: 3.5 hours of on-demand video
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Prerequisites:
    • Access to a computer and an internet connection

Why We Chose This Course

Although User Experience (UX) for Non-Designers doesn’t necessarily offer much by way of practical projects, you will need to pass six quizzes to complete the course. In this LinkedIn Learning course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of UX design. Author Tom Green frames the lessons in such a way that it makes it easy for new and non-designers to learn.

Pros

  • Plenty of in-depth learning
  • Quizzes to help cement your learning
  • Great for beginners
  • Includes a certificate of completion

Cons

  • Doesn’t quite have practical exercises

8. (Skillshare) Logo Design with Grids: Timeless Style from Simple Shapes - Best Short Course for Learning Logo Design

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Key Information:

  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Author: George Bokhua
  • Duration: 32 minutes of on-demand video
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Certificate: No
  • Prerequisites:
    • Access to a vector graphic design program like Adobe Illustrator or Affinity Designer

Why We Chose This Course

Logo design is part and parcel of being a graphic designer. If you want to succeed in the industry, you’ll need to know how to design a logo from start to finish. Some designers choose logo design as their niche, while others keep logo design skills in their designer toolbelt without specializing. No matter which category you fall into, this quick 30-minute course is a great way to learn!

Pros

  • Short and straight to the point
  • Shows you an example but also sets you up with what to do in the future
  • Great for beginners and busy learners

Cons

  • Short

Best Online Graphic Design Courses: Our Top Picks

If you’re asking the question, “Where can I learn graphic design?” you can find some of the best places below. We summarized our list of this year's best graphic design courses right here.

Course

Description

Certificate

Key Information

(Udemy)

Graphic Design Masterclass – Learn GREAT Design

Best Graphic Design Course Online Overall

  • Author: Lindsay Marsh
  • Duration: 29 hours of video-on-demand (VOD)
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner

(Coursera) 

Graphic Design Specialization by CalArts

Best Graphic Design Course for Beginners

  • Author: California Institute of the Arts
  • Duration: 6 months at 3 hours per week
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner

(CreativeLive) 

Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory & Application

Best for Learning About Color Theory

  • Author: Richard Mehl
  • Duration: 8 hours and 14 minutes of VOD
  • Difficulty Level: All Levels

(Udemy)

Graphic Design Masterclass Intermediate: The NEXT Level

Best for Intermediate Learners

  • Author: Lindsay Marsh
  • Duration: 17 hours of on-demand video
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate

(Udemy)

The Branding Masterclass: The Entire Brand Design Process

For Designers Learning about Branding

  • Author: Lindsay Marsh
  • Duration: 8.5 hours of on-demand video
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner - Intermediate

(CreativeLive)

Typography Fundamentals

Best for Learning About Typography

  • Author: Ilene Strizver
  • Duration: 6 hours of on-demand video
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner to all levels
  • Certificate: No

(LinkedIn Learning)

User Experience (UX) for Non-Designers

Best for Beginners Learning User Experience

  • Author: Tom Green
  • Duration: 3.5 hours of on-demand video
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner to intermediate

(Skillshare)

Logo Design with Grids: Timeless Style from Simple Shapes 

Best Short Course for Learning Logo Design

  • Author: George Bokhua
  • Duration: 32 minutes of on-demand video
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate

How We Selected the Best Graphic Design Online Courses

As we put together this list of graphic design classes, we considered a few factors to ensure that we only included the best of the best.

First, we considered which platform the course was on. We chose courses published and hosted on trustworthy, reliable platforms known for the quality of their offerings. Next, we considered the course authors to make sure that they are authorities on the subject and have the credibility to offer up lessons. We also looked at graphic design course prices to guarantee that we offered up options suited to any budget.

We looked closer at each course and checked the syllabi or lesson plans for each to ensure that the topics covered can help set you up for a good start as a graphic designer. And finally, we checked reviews to see what previous students think about the programs.

Once we considered all the factors above (and a few more, such as whether the courses offer certificates of completion), we came up with our list of recommendations for the best graphic design courses online.

Conclusion

There are many different ways to learn graphic design and many of them you can do right from the comfort of your own home during your free time. Beyond books and tutorials on YouTube, you can also enroll in self-paced graphic design courses that can teach you everything you need to know to get started on your career as a designer. Just remember to choose a course that’s suited to your level (or slightly above if you want a challenge!).

We hope that our recommendations for the best graphic design courses online have helped you find a course to try. Good luck!

If you are also looking for Photoshop-specific courses to help you master the industry-standard software, check out this list of the Best Online Photoshop Courses.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Qualifications Do You Need for Graphic Design?

Although some employers require applicants to have bachelor’s degrees, it’s entirely possible for you to find work as a designer without one. If you want to become a designer, here are some things you’ll need:

  • The fundamentals of graphic design, including color theory, typography, etc.
  • How to use some of the most popular design software like Adobe Photoshop, Affinity Designer, and more
  • A great portfolio showcasing some of your best work and, sometimes, previous design experience
  • A creative mind, knowledge of other design and art techniques, and willingness to continue learning

Some employers or clients will also want you to know how to do 3D, motion graphics, etc.

2. Can I Learn Graphic Design on My Own?

Absolutely! If you’re determined to learn and want to know how to become a graphic designer, it’s entirely possible to teach yourself. You can scour the internet for all the information available on design fundamentals, read design books, sign up for UI and UX design courses, and more.

 

By Chriselle Sy

Chriselle is a passionate writer and graphic designer who graduated with a BFA in Information Design. She's passionate about tech and loves learning new things everyday.

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