Graphic design is a challenging profession – whether it is your main job, or even a side hobby. It may have happened so that you wanted to give it a try but could never do it because of your other job, kids, or a number of other things. You might be one of the people who has stepped back from graphic design due to the expenses that could be incurred from learning a new skill – especially graphic design classes.
But in this entire struggle, you probably forgot one of the most potent mediums ever – The Internet. Given that all the work happens online these days, a lot of courses are also available online that could help you learn and nurture your skills and hobbies. These professional courses ensure that they do absolute justice to your time, whether you are a beginner or an expert. And you haven’t even heard the best part yet – many of them are free!
The word ‘free’ excites almost everybody, and believe it or not; it definitely encourages you to take up some courses even if you’re only slightly interested in the subject. Online courses give you the freedom to work during your free time from the comfort of your home, and you can always stop whenever you feel like. There isn’t any accurate assessment of work unless you join one on one sessions, but these courses definitely teach you just as much as you could learn in a degree course!
So what are you waiting for? We’ve listed down a few free graphic design courses you can take while working from home. Five major platforms provide online graphic design courses – Skillshare, Udemy, Canva, and Coursera. You can run along and check out the details of each!
Skillshare offers a lot of online courses for students and professionals interested in graphic design. There are both free and paid courses that you can access using a subscription. This class is taught by Mike Ski and Jesse Jay, the designers from True Hand. This course primarily focuses on how creating a brand system comes into being. Through a sequence of 6 classes, Mika and Jesse elaborately explain how they created a Kensington Quarter logo and eatery in Philadelphia. This course mainly challenges designers and illustrators about the various issues in logo design, along with a walkthrough effective design techniques.
Conducted by Rawson Uddin, this course provides about seven-hour on-demand video material, full-time access, and also a completion certificate towards the end. However, as it is an advanced-level course, it comes with one essential requirement – some preoccupied knowledge about Adobe Illustrator. This course not only gives you the knowledge about your logo design projects but maybe even starting a logo design company on the sides. It embodies the following aspects gracefully –
- Choosing the right typeface
- Effective ways of using simple shapes
- Negative Space designs
- Color theory for the logo
- Other effects for your designs
The course also provides a necessary file to practice as you grace through the classes. Professional Logo Design in Adobe Illustrator offers a wholesome experience for anyone willing to start designing logos for a living.
While not all the classes on Coursera are free, they offer courses from certified Ivy League universities such as Yale and Stanford. Coursera also allows you to ‘audit’ the route, which means you do not have to complete the assignments. This also assures that you would not be qualified for a certificate of completion.
Conducted by David Underwood, this course engulfs a wide array of topics. The basics of graphic design also look forward to honing your presentation skills relating to resume, reports, and PowerPoint presentations using all the taught skills and principles. This course teaches you how to make your work look inspired and fresh, along with an air of professionalism and confidence. You shall learn to take criticism constructively and make your project from good to high.
When you begin your career as a graphic designer, you work on every project as well as your branding too. What about your website’s typography or your business cards or your collaterals? There are high chances that these might get neglected. Also conducted by Ellen Lupton, a contemporary design curator at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, this course aims to help differentiate between bad and good typography and the effects of both.
You would learn a lot about fonts as well as types during this course. A few highlights would be:
- Slab+Customization: Learn the potential uses of slab faces.
- Sans+Structure: What gives a sans serif font its special features.
- Serif+Details: In depth knowledge about the details of the serif type family
It is a platform for all sorts of online courses. However, they have some remarkable graphic design courses too. You can explore all levels of graphic design through Udemy. However, we have noted down the few best ones. When it comes to the basics of graphic design, there are a lot of rules and principles that one must keep in mind. This course mainly revolves around all these things and gives a better understanding of the subject along with some useful tips and tricks. You do not require any additional software or hardware; you would be creating projects using Canva.
If you’ve always been interested in graphic design but couldn’t even sign up for a paid class, this is the course for you. It engulfs every aspect of the subject and also effectively conveys what is necessary for graphic design. This course is suitable for first-timers pro-level designers. Divided into 16 lectures, you would learn Canva and also how to use all these skills in your daily projects of Logo Design and Business cards, etc.
Alison Online is one of the lesser-known yet beneficial platforms for taking free graphic design courses online. The peculiar aspect of this website is the test-based evaluation before giving out a completion certificate that is perfect for students currently studying graphic designing. While certificates might not make sense if you are a professional, it is always an added benefit for those looking to start again or be interested in freelance opportunities. Founded by Mike Feerick is the founder of ALISON. However, the certificates given by Alison are not officially recognized by employers. They describe themselves to be a new world of free certification learning. Alison covers a plethora of topics and courses that are worth testing out.
It is conducted by Michael Worthington, who is a faculty member from the California Institute of Arts. This course revolves around many topics. Skills such as image-making, creating image series, using the techniques of visual rhythm, pattern, textures, scale, direction, weight, space, and a lot more. The course is lavishly spread over four weeks, wherein each week focuses on a new topic:
- Week 1: Fundamentals of Image-Making – Focusing on connotative and denotative qualities of images.
- Week 2: Fundamentals of Typography – Basic rules and terminology related to typography.
- Week 3: Fundamentals of Shape and Color – Using shapes and colors as essential elements of your design.
- Week 4: Fundamentals of Composition – Use of visual contrasts, cropping direction, and hierarchy of elements for composition.
Within six years of providing its services, Canva launched an online design school for all of those interested in graphic design. While it is a great starter pack for beginners, professionals can experiment and try new things online. For more natural learning, the projects break down into various modules that provide different essential factors for graphic designing.
Right from a beginner to an old pro, everybody needs a point to start from. This course gives you exactly that. Conducted over not more than 35 minutes, it takes you through the world of graphic designing and addresses five essential principles of the same. Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips teach you how these principles can be honed and used in not only graphics but also creative design, marketing, and photography.
The course of this class majorly revolves around the five basic principles of design, critiquing your work to make it more useful and how each aspect can be applied to your future projects. Perfect for beginners to set a goal, this course is free and worth the time.
An LA-based graphic designer, Anther Kiley, addresses this advanced-level course. Basic knowledge of Adobe InDesign, along with access to the software, is required to make most out of this course. This course, too, is a four-week assessment that is divided into four weekly topics that are taught intensively. This is how the course is broken down –
- Week 1: Talking Type -Learning different types of typefaces, and considering them as artworks.
- Week 2: Typefaces and their Stories – Focuses on how typefaces could have connotative meanings, ending up telling a meaningful story.
- Week 3: Putting Type to Work – Engaging the audience with visual principles and conventions of typesetting is the main focal point of this week. This week also talks about how changing spaces between the blocks of the letter and/or the weight of characters can also change the meaning of your design.
- Week 4: Making Meaningful Type – In the final week, you would learn how typographic form has potential to change the meaning of the written language too.
These are a few free graphic design courses that you can take while working from home.
As you can see, most of these courses specialize in two aspects of graphic design – understanding the basic principles and building on your typography skills. You can always take these free classes to polish your existing skills if you are a professional graphic designer. It is true that revisiting old projects and also proves to be insightful. Hence you can work on your past projects using these new techniques. Make sure that you save all your work as iterations and mention it in your portfolio, even if it wasn’t finalized.
A lot of paid versions of these basic level courses are also available on the mentioned website. Usually, paid versions last longer in terms of duration as well as effect given their intensive structure. If you wish to look into any particular skill – may or may not be related to graphic designing – you can look into the various filters available on these websites. There are many options to select from, and sometimes you can even customize a combination of courses based on your immediate requirements.
You can also find some great paid graphic design courses on these following websites –
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Lynda/LinkedIn Learning
- Creative Live
- The Graphic Design School
Choosing the right course for you can be a tedious job given the vast array of courses available. Especially when you are about to spend the remaining few hours of your busy day to hone a skill, you would want to make the most out of it. Hence, the courses mentioned above are not only practical but also flexible according to your time and efforts. Most of them offer completion certificates too, which can prove to be a great addition to both your resume and the recommendation for jobs.