Graphic design is a challenging, competitive, and exciting discipline that lets you express your creative side. For example, making your own book covers, company newsletters, or social media profile headers can be a lot of fun, even if you don’t intend to look for paid work in this field.
There are now dozens of reputable online resources that can supplement, or even replace, a traditional design education. Whether you want to pick up a few skills to use in your current job, start a new hobby, or embark on a complete change of career, these resources will help you start off on the right foot.
Here are Resources to Help You Learn Graphic Design in 2019
Now in its 10th year, Udemy is a well-respected online learning platform that offers thousands of courses on hundreds of subjects, including art and design. You can read verified user reviews before committing yourself to a course, which start at around $25 each.
Twelve million learners have already enrolled in Alison’s courses, which are free. To date, they have published over 1,000 courses spanning nine categories. Their Visual and Graphic Design course offers an overview of basic design principles, and will teach you how lines, textures, and other elements are combined to create effective visual displays.
Canva bills itself as the “simplest, easiest design tool.” Although it started life as a photo editing app, it can be used to create book covers, flyers, social media posts, and more. To help those new to design, Canva has created dozens of lessons covering both the application specifically and the principles of design in general, including advice on how to build a brand.
Bear in mind that if you are mixing images and text, you need to consider each element separately and together. If you lack writing skills, do not try to compensate with graphic design. PickWriters’ Chief Marketing Officer emphasizes the importance of professional copy. “Beautiful images are key in marketing,” she says, “But you also need to make sure your writing tells a meaningful story that resonates with your audience.”
Envato Tuts+ has created over 1,200 video courses that can help anyone grow their technical and creative skills. Their Design & Illustration courses cover poster design, book cover design, tips and tricks that will help you make the most of popular design tools, and much more. For a modest monthly fee, you can access all courses, plus templates, themes, photos, and design assets.
Skillshare offers over 20,000 classes, of which more than 8,000 center on illustration and design. For an affordable monthly fee, you gain access to all their classes. Skillshare members benefit from ad-free viewing, offline access, and discounts on benefits and services if they choose annual billing. Their site also contains over 500 free courses. If you are a student, you are eligible to receive a 50% discount.
Hackdesign offers a simple, linear approach to learning graphic design. The website offers a comprehensive list of lessons, and overview of the tools you will need to learn as a designer. When you sign up, you will receive a carefully constructed design lesson in your inbox every week. The creators have assembled 50 free core lessons that will give you an overview of key design principles.
If you are interested in learning graphic design with a view to working in UI/UX design roles, check out Design Lab. They offer courses that cover the general principles of design, before then introducing you to the steps designers take when devising interfaces. You can also elect to take a 4-week branding course, which demonstrates the importance of building a company brand, and how to create a logo.
You will need to reserve your place on each course, but you do not need to pay until it starts. Note that these courses are expensive, but the price includes mentoring, mock interviews, and community critique. So far, they have helped over 3,000 students move into design careers.
Veerle Pieters is a web and graphic designer. Her blog contains hundreds of articles spanning numerous design-related topics. She writes about industry software, trends in design, and how to maintain an organized workflow as a designer. Clicking the “Inspiration” tab at the top of the page will take you on a journey through outstanding examples of graphic design that will help you overcome any creative block.
Creative Pro is a design magazine for both novice and experienced creatives. The site contains free articles and tutorials that will introduce you to the world of design and inspire your next project. Creative Pro excels at breaking down technical processes into short videos and written tutorials. The “News” section, which will keep you up to date with recent developments in the design industry, is a nice bonus, as is the Creative Pro channel on YouTube.
The founders of Creative Live have created an online community of people passionate about design, photography, and other related disciplines. Their vision is to pass on skills to anyone who wants to build a career in the creative sector.
You can choose from hundreds of courses, including 55 on graphic design. The courses cover industry software, design theory, branding, and how to create an online portfolio that will impress employers and clients. You can pay for courses on an individual basis, or sign up for course bundles. Courses begin at around $17 each. Creative Live also hosts free, professional-led workshops in Seattle and San Francisco. The Creative Live Blog contains further tips, tricks, and inspiration.
Learn at your own pace
You may not have a lot of time to spend practicing your new skills if you lead a busy life. Fortunately, most course creators and instructors take this into account when building online resources, breaking content down into small chunks that help you gradually build your skills over weeks and months. Even if you can only set aside 10-20 minutes each day, you’ll soon see dramatic improvements.