Education Programs

Free Online Graphic Design Courses

Remote working is a growing trend today, and the number of occupations one can have online is growing rapidly. Graphic design is one of the hottest professions in this niche for a number of reasons. Firstly, the demand for such services is huge everywhere as numerous websites are in need of quality images. On the other hand, this job is usually done and shared with the help of free online tools. A highly paid professional or a young aspiring creator – both would find it convenient to work online, avoiding management and contacting their customer directly.

Still, the more popular your profession is, the better you need to try in order to stay competitive. Thus, it would be wise to get your skills upgraded on a regular basis. Here is a list of online graphic design courses you might consider to take – without having to leave your cosy workplace.

Best Online Graphic design websites

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Graphic Design Bootcamp: Part 1 via Udemy

In-depth guide into creating main types of graphic content using Adobe’s Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Could be useful for experienced artists, freelancers willing to broaden their expertise, and for office workers involved into multimedia content development. The course addresses both ‘pure’ web and print projects, preparing its attendees to various kinds of graphic related problems and solutions. Best practices for creating or editing standard printable imagery types (ads, flyers, company cards etc) will be demonstrated.

The course contains more than 15 hours of educational material (lectures and practical studies). Besides, its attendees are allowed to enter a private Facebook group where they can interact with the lecturer and other attendees. 13 educational documents become available as well. Current price is $19.99 with a 90% discount off its usual price. After enrollment the lifetime access to all the materials and groups is obtained. A certificate of completion will be available after fulfilling all assignments.

Pros: advanced knowledge in media content & printables sphere, program shortcuts, interaction with peers.

Cons: most of the materials are pre-recorded.

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OpenCourseWare by Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A portal of free design lectures and practical seminars from the world’s leading tech institute. It provides access to numerous courses by different professors and specialists, varying in level and focus on a certain field (such as coding or Matlab formulas). The database is constantly updated. Visitors can search course by author’s name, by specialization, field etc..

This is not a formal or semi-formal educational program where you can obtain a certificate, but it is priceless for specialists who are aiming to enhance their skills through self-organized education. Some of the design materials you can find there are parts of bigger educational programs, which can be helpful for getting a broader understanding of related professional skills and their practical application.

Pros: lots of free materials are available, with in-depth knowledge in many specific areas.

Cons: no tutoring and no certificates.

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Web Designing Certification by University of Michigan via Coursera

A popular online course by one of the top US tech schools. Can be attended by experienced designers as well as by beginners. Basics and advanced techniques of design with the help of HTML, CSS and JavaScript are included. Significant focus on the coding part of the graphic content creation process would be useful for creators without significant programming experience. Coursera also allows to pick specific parts of the selected specialization and to cancel the program at any time.

The course is free. It takes 3 months to complete with 8 hours per week recommended. Attendees  are allowed to pick a convenient schedule for themselves. Besides interactive studies, additional materials including videos are available for download. Each attendee has to complete a personal hands-on project. After successful completion, the certificate is obtained.

Pros: free, flexible, lots of options for choosing specific courses, personal practical assignments for each attendee.

Cons: some assignments taken after finishing a course might require additional courses to complete.

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Teach Yourself Graphic Design: A Self-Study Course Outline by Envato Tuts+

Prepared and revised by professionals from a leading online educational network, this paper contains the essentials of self-tutoring for aspiring graphic designers who do not want to spend time and effort on traditional educational programs. The learning goals and the entire process is broken down into simple steps, each containing a number of links to appropriate online resources. Together these steps form a full-scale online course for anyone capable of self-organization and analysis of materials.

All the information is provided by the author for free. Users are invited to follow the links provided in each step of this guide and thus to gain a solid understanding of related information or to get access to useful career or freelancer portals. The article has been published in 2011 so anyone can view lots of other readers’ comments and feedback below i, which helps to evaluate its usefulness.

Pros: free, contains a lot of knowledge and useful links, basics of graphic designer profession are explained in plain and straightforward manner.

Cons: the process is not interactive and no certificate is available.

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Adobe Illustrator: Mastering the Fundamentals via Udemy

Hugely popular among web design beginners, this course provides an in-depth view into the Illustrator tool of the Adobe suite, a common weapon of choice for many graphic content creators, particularly in book publishing sphere. Core options and helpful shortcuts are explained through easy steps, with practical implementation provided as well.

The course consists of 30 lectures with a lot of additional materials available including a 1.5 hours video and several downloadable documents. The price is $19.99 (currently a 64% discount off the standard one of $54.99) and attendees are getting a lifetime access to all course materials. Certificate of completion will be available after attending all lectures.

Pros: lots of useful knowledge for a moderate price, a relevant experience with a popular graphic tool is gained, step by step practical explanations.

Cons: most of practical examples are demonstrated on Mac, so less experienced PC users might get left behind.

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Learn Professional 2D Game Graphic Design in Photoshop via Udemy

An advanced training program dedicated to another famous Adobe’s tool – Photoshop. Intended mostly for intermediate and pro level designers and is focused on gaming content. The money making aspect is specifically addressed, making it quite interesting for aspiring game makers. Developed by a professional graphic designer with a rich portfolio and a vast tutoring experience.

Contains 80 lectures in total, with lots of Practical examples. Additional 6.5 hours of video and 13+ documents are also available. Current price is $19.99 with an 87% discount off its usual price. A certificate of completion will be available in the end.

Pros: detailed and easily understandable, popular tool deeply explored, focused on practical and commercial aspects.

Cons: interesting for game designers only.

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Photoshop for Entrepreneurs – Design 11 Practical Projects via Udemy

Another advanced guide to Photoshop, specifically aimed at entrepreneurs and business executives who feel the need to invest some time and money into upgrading their graphic designer skills. Might be helpful for brand management, corporate content creation or products & services promotion through online or offline channels.

Consists from 64 lectures with practical examples and assignments. Each student has to complete 11 different projects with Photoshop. Additional materials are available: 5 hours of video, 1 article and 14 downloadable resources. The price is $19.99, with 80% discount off the usual one of $99.99. Attendees get lifetime access to all the materials. The certificate of completion is available in the end.

Pros: detailed and easily understandable for beginners, popular tool deeply explored, real business tips provided, brand promotion explained in detail.

Cons: might be not interesting for experienced Photoshop artists.

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Design & Illustration Courses by Envato Tuts+

A database of general and more specialized courses developed by a leading online educational network and led by tutors with years of real commercial experience in graphic design. A lot of different options are available here for aspiring creators as well as for experienced graphic designers: basic principles and best practices of this industry, tips and tricks for successful projects completion and practical examples with most popular design software. 

The portal is free to access for anyone. Inside, a number of free and paid courses can be found. Attendees can subscribe on the same page and enroll into the complete program. Certificates are available for some of the courses, so it is advised to check the terms of the one you’ve selected on beforehand. Numerous additional materials including videos, guides and articles are also available there. 

Pros: a variety of courses to choose, hands-on knowledge provided by experienced designers, lots of free information available. 

Cons: most of free courses do not include certification.

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