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Best Online Classes And Programs For Beginners In Graphic Design

The median annual wage for graphic designers was $50,370 in 2018, and employment is projected to increase by 4 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

And with the emergence of these online courses, it has never been easier to develop the skills you need to become a graphic designer. And the best part is, you can take these courses from the comfort of your own home!

Whether you want to become a full-time graphic designer, want to beef up your resume, or are just interested in learning more about the subject, we have put together this list of affordable and free online courses to get you started quickly.

Here are our handpicked online courses and programs for beginners in graphic design.

Introductory Courses in Graphic Design

1. The Complete Graphic Design Theory for Beginners Course

Through The Complete Graphic Design Theory for Beginners Course, you will learn the basics of graphic design theory as well as valuable information regarding logo design, color theory, branding, and copyright laws to protect you from potential violations. For this course, you will not need access to programs like Canva, Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign.

  • College credits: NO — Udemy Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale ($179.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 5 hours
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English and Italian
  • Vendor: Udemy

Note: Prices for all courses listed in this article are true on the date of publishing, but are subject to change.

2. Graphic Design Fundamentals: Getting Started

Graphic Design Fundamentals: Getting Started” is an 18-part course taught by Timothy Samara, a professional graphic designer and university lecturer. In this class, Samara will walk you through all of the fundamentals of graphic design, including form and image, color theory, typography, and layout and composition. What makes this class unique is that Samara shows you his professional portfolio and explains the business side of graphic design. This class could be useful for those who wish to make graphic design their profession.

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: $41 on sale ($49 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 18 classes ranging from 1 minute, 42 seconds to 42 minutes, 46 seconds
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: CreativeLive

3. Graphic Design

Offered by the University of Colorado Boulder, this Graphic Design course is the second course included in the Effective Communication: Writing, Design, and Presentation Specialization. Upon completion, those who take this course will develop the skills to effectively create graphics that could be added to and improve the quality of presentations displayed on PowerPoint and other mediums.

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: Free to enroll, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarships: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 7 hours
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Italian, and Arabic
  • Vendor: Coursera

4. Graphic Design Bootcamp: Part 1

This Graphic Design Bootcamp course is perfect for beginners who want to establish a strong foundation in graphic design. Specifically designed for beginners, you will leave this course with a “clear understanding” of how to manage print and web projects in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. But, in order to take the class, you must already have access to these design platforms. Additionally, this course is built to help you become confident in your ability to create flyers, business cards, web graphics and more. Upon completion, those who take this course will learn how to build a skill set that could eventually make them employable in the field.

  • College credits: NO — Udemy Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale ($199.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 15 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Polish and Romanian
  • Vendor: Udemy

5. Graphic Design Masterclass

The Graphic Design Masterclass is a great option for all aspiring graphic designers, as it will teach you design theory, how to create logos and branding packages, and how to use common graphic design tools, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. You will, however, need access to these design platforms in order to take the class. This is the top-rated graphic design course on Udemy.

  • College credits: NO — Udemy Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale ($194.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 12 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Indonesian, Italian and Thai
  • Vendor: Udemy

6. Graphic Design Masterclass: Learn Graphic Design in Projects

Those who choose to enroll in the Graphic Design Masterclass: Learn Graphic Design in Projects course will learn graphic design principles, typography, and color theory, so that they can create effective designs on Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign. While no prior experience in graphic design is needed to take this course, you will need a subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud or have older versions of Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator if you want to follow along and “put what you learn into practice.”

  • College credits: NO — Udemy Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale ($94.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Indonesian, Polish, Romanian, and Thai
  • Vendor: Udemy

7. Become a Professional Graphic Designer

You don’t need experience in graphic design to take this course, but you will leave it with the foundational knowledge to become a professional in the subject. In this course, you will learn the “principles of great graphic design,” what professionals do “on the job,” and how to receive your first job as a graphic designer, among other things. To take this course, however, you will need access to some version of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat and Dreamweaver. But, if you haven’t purchased these platforms already, you can always take advantage of free trials.

  • College credits: NO — Udemy Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 ($34.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 20 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: Udemy

8. Social Media Graphic Design For Beginners (Using Free Tools)

This course, titled Social Media Graphic Design For Beginners (using Free Tools), will teach you the skills needed to create “eye-catching designs” for social media sites, such as Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms. In this class, you won’t be using expensive software. Instead, you will learn how to use free and simple tools to create moving GIFs and vector graphics, among other things. What you learn in this class likely won’t prepare you for a career in graphic design, but it could help you build and improve your personal or professional social media presence.

  • College credits: NO — Udemy Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale ($89.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 4 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages:  English with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Udemy

Graphic Design Using Canva

9. Fundamentals of Canva

Canva is one of the most popular software platforms used by graphic designers today. And in this 15-part class, instructor Matt Stevenson will walk you through the fundamentals of how to use it. Specifically, Stevenson will teach you how to use Canva to build graphics for social media, customize templates, combine images and text, and share and download projects, among other things.

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: $24 on sale ($29 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 15 classes ranging from 2 minutes, 3 seconds to 29 minutes, 22 seconds
  • Languages:  English
  • Vendor: CreativeLive

10. Canva for Beginners – Your Guide to Canva for Graphic Design

Those who take this Canva for Beginners course will leave with a foundational understanding of how to use the platform. Specifically, course-takers will learn how to navigate Canva’s layouts and templates, create their own professional looking graphics on the platform, save and share their designs through email and social media platforms, and more.

  • College credits: NO — Udemy Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale ($99.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 34 minutes
  • Languages: English with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Udemy

Graphic Design Using Adobe Photoshop

11. Photoshop CC Beginner

This Photoshop CC Beginner course will teach you the fundamentals of Adobe Photoshop — one of the top-used photo editing and design platforms. After taking this class, you will understand how to work with colors, filters, and effects on Photoshop, and you’ll have the knowledge needed to retouch images and create quality graphic design projects.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate only
  • Price: 7-day free trial and then subscriptions are $39.99 a month on sale (typically $44.99 a month)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 2 hours
  • Language: English
  • Vendor: QuickStart

12. Graphic Design: Beginner’s Graphic Design Guide to Photoshop

Those who take this Graphic Design: Beginner’s Graphic Design Guide to Photoshop class will leave with an understanding of modern graphic design and how to create up-to-date designs using the many tools available through Photoshop. The full class is only one-hour long, and Photoshop is required to take the course.

  • College credits: NO — Udemy Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale ($69.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 1 hour
  • Languages: English with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Udemy

Graphic Design Using Adobe Illustrator

13.  Illustrator CC Fundamentals

Through this Illustrator CC Fundamentals course, you will learn the fundamental skills needed to create graphics on Adobe Illustrator, which is one of the most commonly used platforms by graphic designers and artists. The graphics created on Illustrator can be used on web and print. To take the course, however, you must already have access to Illustrator.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate only
  • Price: 10-day free trial and then $35 billed monthly or $299 billed annually for Personal plan; $449 billed annually for Premium plan
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 4 hours, 30 minutes  
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Pluralsight

14. Illustrator – Basic

This course is designed to teach aspiring graphic designers and artists the fundamentals of Adobe Illustrator, so they can create “breathtaking works of art” using the platform. Perfectly designed for beginners, this course will walk you through Illustrator by showing you video tutorials and encouraging you to engage in practice tutorials.

  • College credits: NO — CPD Certification only
  • Price: Access to all courses for $39.99 a month
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 3 hours, 28 minutes
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: GoSkills

Graphic Design Using Adobe InDesign

15. Adobe InDesign CC – Essentials Training Course

InDesign is a commonly used tool by graphic designers, and since it is made by Adobe, it is compatible with both Photoshop and Illustrator. This Essentials Training Course will give you all you need to know to effectively use InDesign at a beginner level. InDesign is also useful for those in all types of industries who want to build quality newsletters, brochures, annual reports, and more for their company. To take this course, however, you must have access to InDesign.

  • College credits: NO — Udemy Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale ($199.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 6.5 hours
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Italian, Portugese, and Spanish
  • Vendor: Udemy

16. InDesign CC 2019 MasterClass

Although no prior education is needed, this InDesign CC MasterClass course will prepare you to use InDesign at a professional level. Through the class, you will learn the ins and outs of the design platform, and you’ll have access to practice exercises and quizzes to improve and test your skills. To take this course, however, you must have access to InDesign, and the instructor suggests that your version should not be older than InDesign CS6.

  • College credits: No — Udemy Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale ($199.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 10 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Portugese, Romanian, and Thai
  • Vendor: Udemy

Online Programs in Graphic Design

17. Graphic Design Specialization

Offered by the California Institute of the Arts, this Graphic Design Specialization is a 5-course path structured to teach you the foundational tools that you will need to grow as a graphic designer. Upon completion, you will understand how to “communicate through image-making and typography,” and you will learn “everything you need to know to work in interface design, motion graphics, and editorial design,” among other things.

The 5 courses:

Course 1:Fundamentals of Graphic Design

Course 2:Introduction to Typography

Course 3:Introduction to Imagemaking

Course 4:Ideas From the History of Graphic Design

Course 5:Brand New Brand” — A capstone project

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: Free to enroll
  • Financial aid or scholarships: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 14 hours
  • Languages: English with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Coursera

If you’re interested in exploring specific tools used for graphic design, we have also assembled comprehensive lists of affordable online courses on Canva, Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.