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Top 10 Online Graphic Design Courses

ASO Staff Writers
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Updated February 27, 2024
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    Find the Best Open Online Classes for Graphic Design

    Graphic design has become an integral part of modern communication, commerce and art, affecting the way many people receive and interpret information. Advances in technology can help aspiring graphic designers in two main ways: computer-assisted design tools that allow people of varying skill levels to make images and layouts digitally, and the increasing availability of online graphic design courses that allow users to learn skills without moving to a large city and investing in a formal degree program. Graphic design hobbyists, students, professionals and those in between can use this guide to learn more about online graphic design classes and where to find them along with tools and resources to help along the way.

    Online Graphic Design Courses Search Tool

    The vast number of online graphic design courses available is both exciting and intimidating. On the one hand, it’s likely that budding designers will find the right class to suit their interests; on the other, more options means more work sorting through them. The search tool below can help individuals looking for online graphic design classes find just the right ones by filtering for price, course length, institution and start date.

    The vast number of online graphic design courses available is both exciting and intimidating. On the one hand, it’s likely that budding designers will find the right class to suit their interests; on the other, more options means more work sorting through them. The search tool below can help individuals looking for online graphic design classes find just the right ones by filtering for price, course length, institution and start date.

    What is this type of course?
    CertificateFor-creditInformational
    A certificate of completion validates that a student completed the course with a specific success rate. While they don’t typically translate to college credit or professional certification, certificates of completion can validate a student’s skills in certain areas of graphic design.Some online graphic design classes can earn students college credit. These are typically offered by universities and cost the same as regular college courses. Those who take informational graphic design courses online will gain new skills but won’t have any sort of certificate or credit to show for it. These courses are generally free or very low-cost.
    Who takes this type of course?
    Established professionals looking to increase their skillset and/or validate their skills.Graphic design students looking to earn a degree and become professionals.Hobbyists, people looking to gain new skills without much obligation and those testing the waters to see if they would like to pursue graphic design in more detail.

    Spotlight: Top 10 Online Graphic Design Courses

    There are hundreds of online graphic design courses out there, and it can be hard to tell a quality course from one that doesn’t quite cover all of the need-to-knows. The top 10 online graphic design classes listed below cover courses for beginners looking for a quick rundown to professionals wanting to hone specific design skills.

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    Top 3 Reasons to Take an Online Class in Graphic Design

    Graphic design has a large appeal to many different types of people, ranging from design professionals to small business owners to hobbyists and visual artists. The following highlights the main advantages to taking an online course in graphic design:

    1. Stay on top of current design trends.

      The most skilled graphic designers can spot trends and adapt to them to deliver images and layouts that are fresh and current. One of the best ways to find these trends and learn how to create them is through online graphic design courses, where students from around the world share and review each other’s ideas and designs.

    2. Build your online design portfolio

      Many online graphic design classes are project-focused, so students create products while learning skills. Not only can students use the projects they create in class for their portfolios, they can also take the skills they learn to create more designs and give their portfolios variety and depth. Online portfolio on websites like 99designs, Coroflot and Dribble can help graphic designers take on freelance projects or find steady employment.

    3. Navigate new design programs and technologies

      Design programs change and update frequently, so it’s important that graphic designers take advantage of and keep up with the latest technologies. Many online graphic design classes focus specifically on teaching graphic designers how to use the latest version of various programs, like Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.

    Apps & Podcasts for Graphic Design Gurus

    Apps

    Inspiration often strikes at unexpected–and sometimes inconvenient–times, but professional and aspiring graphic designers alike need not put inspiration on hold with the many intuitive apps available for creatives. These apps allow users to design and share ideas from anywhere. An extra perk? Many of the highest rated and most popular apps for graphic design students and professionals are free.

    Adobe Illustrator Draw

    Free
    Adobe’s illustration app allows users to create vector images using a selection of brushes, up to 10 layers, graph and perspective grids and other tools. Images can be shared, sent to Illustrator and Photoshop or stored in a cloud library.

    Infinite Design

    Free Android
    Infinite Design is a popular vector design app that allows Android users to create images on their phones and tablets. The app features an infinite canvas, unlimited layers and unlimited undos and allows users to easily import and export images.

    SketchBook

    Free Apple
    Android
    Sketchbook is a comprehensive program for both desktop and mobile devices, which makes jumping between the two an easy process. This drawing tool is favored by many designers and features an array of customizable brushes, color fill options, selection tools, perspective lines and grids.

    Adobe Comp CC

    Free
    Adobe’s layout app allows users to create design compositions on the go and easily share and store them so they can be fine-tuned on a desktop. Rough drawings are given smooth, professional edges, placeholder text is created easily and users can share and collaborate with one another.

    Paper

    Free
    Paper is an innovative app that combines note-taking, photos and sketches to make sure users get their ideas down quickly and effectively whenever inspiration should strike. With Paper, users can create checklists, draw on photos and create original drawings all in one place.

    Podcasts

    Budding designers can sometimes find themselves crippled by self-doubt, and even the most skilled graphic designers aren’t without the occasional creative block. Listening to graphic design podcasts is an excellent way to gain inspiration and validation, learn new techniques and engage in productive procrastination. The compelling and informative podcasts below can even be listened to while working on design projects.

    Design Matters
    Debbie Millman
    Recent Episode to Try:
    Doug Powell

    Design Matters offers an array of conversations between host Debbie Millman and leading graphic designers, artists, educators and authors. The podcast began in 2005 and is one of the most popular design-focused podcasts.

    The Graphic Sound
    Brandon Rike
    Recent Episode to Try:
    Andy J. Miller – Creative Pep Talk

    Graphic artist Brandon Rike’s show, The Graphic Sound, aims to uncover what drives creative people to do what they do through conversations about graphic design, illustration and other artistic endeavors.

    Adventures in Design
    Mark Brickey
    Recent Episode to Try:
    The DKNG Show: Chapter 3

    In this high-energy talkshow, host Mark Brickey banters, discusses, jokes and gossips with his friends and other creative professionals about design and other creative careers. “Sometimes educational, sometimes off topic but always entertaining!” it boasts.

    The Deeply Graphic DesignCast
    Wes McDowell, Mikelle Morrison, Nick Longo
    Recent Episode to Try:
    The 2016 Logo Trends Report

    This podcast covers a different graphic design-related topic in every episode. Each episode also has a portion dedicated to answering listener-submitted questions, so it’s a great podcast to get specific information on the industry.

    The Reflex Blue Show
    Donovan Beery
    Recent Episode to Try:
    Terri Trespicio

    Hosted by graphic designer Donovan Beery, The Reflex Blue Show covers graphic design, web design, pop culture, working in the industry and where these elements collide. Beery hosts a variety of guests and covers design conferences.

    Expert Advice for Taking Online Graphic Design Courses

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