10 Best Free Online Graphic Design Courses

Arek Dvornechuck — Branding Expert.
Arek Dvornechcuck
Branding Expert

I'm a branding expert and graphic designer based in NY. I specialize in the development of brands: brand strategy, identity & web design. Need help with your project?—Get in touch

Best Adobe Deals 2022
Last updated:
August 16, 2022

Whether you're starting a new career or just need to polish up your skills, here's the list of the best free graphic design courses available online.

In today's digital environment, having great graphic design skills is essential, and good designers are often in demand.

Enrolling in an online course to learn directly from experts is the simplest way to grasp graphic design.

What are the best free graphic design courses online?

There are lots of great graphic design courses you can get online. This collection of online graphic design courses is completely free.

Graphic Design Courses Online

But with so many online courses to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which ones are worth your time.

In this article, I've compiled a list of the 10 best free graphics design courses available on some of the most popular creative learning platforms, including Skillshare, Coursera, Udemy, and more.

10 Best Free Online Graphic Design Courses

  1. Core Principles for Visual Design—Skillshare
  2. Graphic Design Basics—Canva
  3. ‍Customizing Type—Skillshare
  4. Graphic Design for Beginners—Skillshare
  5. Graphic Design Specialization—Coursera
  6. Fundamentals of Graphic Design—Coursera
  7. Introduction to Typography—Coursera
  8. Introduction to Imagemaking—Coursera
  9. Ideas From the History of Graphic Design—Coursera
  10. Brande New Brand—Coursera

These courses range from the fundamentals of graphic design, such as typography, composition, and color, to more advanced topics and industry tips and tricks, depending on your aims and interests.

How to Learn Graphic Design?

Graphic design is the process of graphically presenting information, so you must first learn to communicate well.

The reality is that breaking into the graphic design industry isn't as simple as it appears— there's a lot of competition.

How to become a true skilled graphic designer?

Anyone with a little understanding of Photoshop or Illustrator nowadays claims to be a graphic designer.

However, being a skilled graphic designer necessitates far more than a working knowledge of Adobe products.


How To Learn Graphic Design In 5 Easy Steps.

You must first grasp graphic design history and where it came from in order to become a competent communicator.

Then you must learn how to successfully communicate using various parts of visual language.

You have all you need when you combine your own ingenuity and expressiveness.

Here are the five basic steps to help you get the most out of your learning curve:

  1. Research graphic design history—Knowing the history and present situation of the graphic design industry can provide you with the confidence you need to succeed as a designer.
  2. Understand core design principles—To make your designs more creative and compelling, you'll need to understand key design principles as a designer.
  3. Master graphic design process—Working with your graphic design clients will be more efficient and effective if you follow a systematic procedure.
  4. Follow great designers—To improve your talents and become more creative, you should surround yourself with excellent designers, follow them, and replicate their work.
  5. Build a portfolio and get hired—If you want to get employed and land huge assignments, you'll need to develop your own style.

Like in any discipline, you'll need to learn the fundamentals before moving on to more advanced material.

Best Online Platforms to Learn Graphic Design Courses

  1. Skillshare
  2. Canva
  3. Coursera
  4. Domestika
  5. CreativeLive
  6. Udemy
  7. Envatotuts+
  8. Creative Pro
  9. LogoCore

Are you aware that enrolling as a LogoCore student will save you up to 65% on Adobe Creative Cloud?

Enroll now to take advantage of a student discount available only to LogoCore students.

Adobe Discounts for LogoCore Students

Check out my list of recommended free graphic design courses for 2022.

1. Core Principles for Visual Design

This graphic design course for beginners, covering the essential aspects of graphic design, is presented by renowned designers Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips.

Learn the fundamental principles of graphic design.

Whether you’re a beginner or looking for a refresher, Ellen and Jennifer will teach you how to assess your designs for balance and effectiveness.

Core Principles for Visual Design

This 36-minute online class teaches you how to apply real-world examples in your design work.

I was fortunate enough to host Ellen Lupton on my podcast, where we discussed how to use storytelling in graphic design work.

The course also includes a hands-on project that you can use to practice your skills.

This course is excellent for graphic design students and creatives who want to build a solid foundation in graphic design.

Course details:

  • Duration: 36 minutes
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Language: English
  • Price: 30-day Free Trial
  • Category:

What you will learn:

  • How to recognize and define the five main design principles
  • How to evaluate your own work for effectiveness and balance
  • How can you use each concept in future projects?

Please be reminded that Skillshare offers a month of free trial upon signing-up to their page; there are no commitments; you can cancel your subscription anytime.

Enroll in this course today

2. Graphic Design Basics

The second course on my list also covers the foundations, but in a more practical manner—a quick and easy lesson from Canva.

You will get a brief but comprehensive review of the fundamentals.

This course includes 12 courses that cover the fundamentals of graphic design, as well as an assignment that allows you to apply what you've learned.

Graphic Design Basics

In general, Graphic Design Basics includes tools that can help beginners and intermediates improve their talents.

Every step of the way, you'll get a sense of how designers think: from mood boards to typography basics, color theory, and everything in between.

This course is for you if you only want to dip your toes in the water to acquire a better knowledge of how designers think.

The course is completely free and open to the public; there is no need to register; simply click and begin learning.

Course details:

  • Duration: 21 minutes
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Language: English
  • Price: Free
  • Category: Graphic Design

What you will learn:

  • What we're talking about when we say "design"
  • Why is design important
  • How to think like a designer

Enroll in this course now

3.  Customizing Type

Customizing type is a vital skill for all levels of graphic designers.

Master typography for every branding, logo, and identity project.

This course has around 31,000 students registered.

Customizing Type

Join design icon Aaron Draplin as he shares tried and true techniques for customizing type.

Draplin shows you how to manage the shapes, in-between spaces, and relationships of the letters you're dealing with instead of using "default" typeface settings.

In this 90-minute class, you'll watch as Draplin searches for antique typographic sources.

He will then create his own type treatments to make items for his favorite hometown of Portland.

Course details:

  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Language: English
  • Price: 30-day free trial

What you will learn:

  • Customize letterforms
  • Look for reference materials.
  • Own the space between characters
  • Sketch a type from scratch
  • Prep a file for print
  • Rebuild typefaces from scratch

If you decide to keep it on, the subscription will only costs you $13/mo. and you'll have access to many different courses on Skillshare.

Enroll in this course now

4. Graphic Design for Beginners

This course, like the others on this list, includes a hands-on class project that you can use as a reference.

This is the most in-depth graphic design course for beginners.

Derrick Mitchell teaches this graphic design course, which is available through Skillshare.

Graphic Design for Beginners

For beginners, this is the most comprehensive graphic design course available.

Despite the fact that the lessons in this course are extensive, Derrick had to compress everything about graphic design into less than 2 hours.

This course will teach you how to create and use mockups in Adobe Photoshop, which is an important skill for showcasing your design work.

You'll learn how to make your ideas look fresh and original, as well as how to use fundamental design "tricks" to give your mockups a professional and convincing appearance.

Course details:

  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Language: English
  • Price: 30-day free trial

What you will learn:

  • how to design and use mockups in Adobe Photoshop
  • how to make your designs look fresh
  • how you can apply basic design “tricks” to give your mockups an air of professionalism and conviction

Enroll in this course now

5. Graphic Design Specialization

The purpose of the Graphic Design Specialization is to provide students with a set of transferable formal and conceptual skills in graphic design.

Learn the fundamentals of graphic design and apply them to a thorough branding project.

Michael Worthington is a co-founder of Counterspace in LA, a graphic design firm that specializes in editorial and identity work for cultural clientele.

Graphic Design Specialization

This five-course sequence introduces students to the core skills needed to create complex graphic design.

This foundational skill set will prepare students for formal graphic design courses.

A capstone project brings together the skills learned in each course as well as peer feedback to produce a final branding project fit for a professional portfolio.

This is a required course for students interested in learning more about visual culture and analysis, and no prior experience is necessary.

Course details:

  • Duration: 6 months
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Language: English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, Spanish, Serbian
  • Price: Free from CalArts
  • Category: Arts and Humanities

What you will learn:

  • Learn the basic skills needed to work as a graphic designer.
  • Learn how to work in interface design, motion graphics, and editorial design.
  • Use typography and image-making to communicate.
  • Complete a capstone project to add to your professional portfolio.

Please note that only learners who have received a certificate in each of the four prior specialization courses are eligible to take the capstone.

Enroll in this course now

6. Fundamentals of Graphic Design

Graphic design as a practice is becoming increasingly essential in our culture as it becomes more apparent and ubiquitous in our lives.

Learn everything you need to know about graphic design fundamentals.

This course will teach you the essential principles of graphic design through visual examples such as imagemaking, typography, composition, color and shape work.

Fundamentals of Graphic Design

If you want to be a designer, you must be a creator and a communicator, this course will provide you with plenty of practice activities and projects.

You will learn how to explore and study visual representation using a variety of image-making approaches by the end of this course.

Adobe Creative Suite programs, such as Photoshop, are accessible and have a beginner's level of expertise, which will be of great help if you want to complete the optional briefs.

Course details:

  • Duration: 15 hours
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Language: English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, Spanish
  • Price: Free from CalArts
  • Category: Arts and Humanities

What you will learn:

  • Incorporate the fundamentals of color into your design: visual, rhythm, and pattern.
  • In a composition, use scale, weight, direction, texture, and space.
  • Set type and play around with letter forms.
  • Make your own series of photographs by combining several image-making processes.

Enroll in this course now

7. Introduction to Typography

The art of changing the visual form of language to enrich and control its meaning is known as typography.

As part of the Graphic Design Specialization course, learning the fundamentals of typography is a must.

Anther Kiley is a designer and design educator based in Providence, Rhode Island.

Introduction to Typography

Typography predates modern graphic design by around 500 years; it's full of rules, conventions, and jargon, but it's still a fun place to experiment and express yourself.

In this course, you will analyze, name, and quantify the features of letterforms in this tough introductory course.

You will also delve into the fascinating historical, cultural, and aesthetic backgrounds of well-known typefaces.

You will also learn the practical issues that come up when choosing and mixing typefaces by going over tried-and-true rules and best practices for establishing type.

Course details:

  • Duration: 9 hours
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Language: English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, Spanish
  • Price: Free from CalArts
  • Category: Arts and Humanities

What you will learn:

  • Examine the language and measurement system for describing type
  • Learn about the history of typefaces and how they communicate stories
  • Conduct a typesetting exercise that is peer-reviewed
  • Full-scale typographic poster design

Enroll in this course now

8. Introduction to Imagemaking

Imagemaking is a fluid and engaging area of graphic design that emerges from practice and process.

This course is designed for both experienced and novice photographers.

Gail Swanlund is a writer and graphic designer.

Introduction to Imagemaking

If there is one guideline you must follow in this course, it is that you will not become a graphic designer alone by viewing videos.

In  this course, the emphasis is on making, and you are expected to commit significant time and mental energy to that activity.

The first half of the course gives you the chance to play around with imagemaking and develop your visual vocabulary.

Your tasks may produce something absolutely unknown now or in the future, which is the main purpose of this course.

Course details:

  • Duration: 12 hours
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Language: English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, Spanish
  • Price: Free from CalArts
  • Category: Arts and Humanities

What you will learn:

  • Using image-based research, make educated design decisions.
  • Using photos, create representational ranges.
  • Make your own book's spreads.
  • Create a book using your own photographs.

Enroll in this course now

9. Ideas From the History of Graphic Design

This course is presented from the standpoint of modern design, with the goal of connecting concepts that shaped design practice from the 1850s to the 1960s to how designers think today.

As part of the Graphic Design Specialization course, learning the fundamentals of typography is a must.

Louise Sandhaus is a former CalArts Graphic Design Program Director and current faculty member.

Ideas from the History of Graphic Design

This short survey course concentrates on four significant periods or themes in Western design history.

This is a required course for students interested in learning more about visual culture and analysis, or for rising designers joining the profession.

All public visual communications are included in the definition and practice of graphic design, which is a global profession.

Students will gain a grasp of the origins of today's wide range of design practice.

Course details:

  • Duration: 10 hours
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Language: English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Serbian, Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, Spanish
  • Price: Free from CalArts
  • Category: Arts and Humanities

What you will learn:

  • Discover the origins of graphic design.
  • Understand how design became a recognized profession.
  • Learn about the radicalism in graphic design from the late 1950s to the early 1970s.
  • Make well-informed design decisions.

Enroll in this course now

10. Brand New Brand

This course is the capstone to the Graphic Design Specialization, and it allows you to combine your knowledge and talents into a single project.

From concept to development to presentation, this course walks you through the full design process.

Michael Worthington, a faculty member of the Program in Graphic Design at the California Institute of the Arts, will be instructing this course as well.

Brand New Brand

You will be building and giving a visual identity to an imagined start-up company, as well as applying that visual identity to a variety of forms.

You'll also create a logotype and an accompanying graphic palette to visually represent your business.

This course will also teach you to use that design in a variety of applications to see it in action.

You will also learn the practical issues that come up when choosing and mixing typefaces by going over tried-and-true rules and best practices for establishing type.

Course details:

  • Duration: 25 hours
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Language: English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, Spanish
  • Price: Free from CalArts
  • Category: Arts and Humanities

What you will learn:

  • Through ideation, creativity, and conceptualization, combine typography, imagemaking, composition, and systematic thinking skills.
  • Create a Brand Development Guide to show off your visual research and development talents.
  • Include graphic markings or icons, color, supplementary typefaces, and/or images to broaden the palette of a brand identity.

Please note that only learners who have received a certificate in each of the four prior specialization courses are eligible to take the capstone.

Enroll in this course now

How to Choose a Graphic Design Course

Whether you're new to graphic design or have some experience, there's something for everyone on my list.

There are so many online courses to choose from that it can be tough to know which one is appropriate for you.

How to choose a graphic design course?

Graphic design is a broad term that includes a variety of sub-disciplines such as typography, color theory, layout and grid, and so on.

Depending on where you are in your career, you may want to brush up on the fundamentals with some beginner courses or complement your knowledge with more advanced courses for experts.

Graphic design is a constantly changing field, with new tools and techniques appearing on a monthly basis.

As a result, you must constantly update your skills and seek out new opportunities.

Conclusions

These days, becoming a graphic designer does not have to be done in school.

Learn the basics of graphic design in the comfort of your own home.

There are so many courses available online these days that attending design school for years makes little sense.

You would be much better off spending this time learning from some of the industry's greatest designers, honing your style, and expanding your portfolio.

I guarantee that if you take at least a few of these graphic design courses from my list, you will become an expert in your field.

Which of the graphic design courses on my list do you think is best for you as a creative?

Related articles:

Did I miss something?—Leave a comment below.

Best Adobe Discounts 2022
Best Adobe Deals 2022
Branding Guide

Build a brand your customers will love.

Save money

Best Deals for Creatives

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission.
Start a project

Need help with your brand?