10 Free Courses to Learn Graphic Design


Updated June 2, 2023 · 5 Min Read

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Learning the principles of graphic design is just a click away. These free graphic design courses teach you fundamental skills to thrive in the field or simply bring your ideas to life.

Free graphic design courses allow learners to explore the principles of color theory, logo design, and web graphics. These online classes introduce students to essential software in the field, like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

Free courses in graphic design sharpen existing skills and advance previous knowledge. Practicing graphic designers with undergraduate or graduate degrees in graphic design can learn the latest technologies and practices in this exciting, ever-changing field.

Individuals of all ages can learn graphic design without enrolling in college degrees. Taking free courses in graphic design may pique your interest and inform your decision to earn a degree or start a career in the field.

10 Free Courses to Learn Graphic Design From Anywhere

Without due dates, time constraints, or financial strain, free courses in graphic design provide the information you need without any added pressure. Free graphic design courses let learners to study at their own pace, which is ideal for individuals with busy personal and professional lives.

Free graphic design courses introduce you to the field and help you decide if a degree in graphic design is right for you. If you want to pursue graphic design as a career, find ways to bring your creative ideas to life, or just need a new hobby, free graphic design courses might offer an ideal pathway.


Canva Design School's Graphic Design Basics


Launched in 2013, Canva offers one of the leading design and publishing tools in the world. Canva's design school offers a course in graphic design basics that teaches students how to use design for effective communication. The course emphasizes creating mood boards and finding inspiration. The instructors are dedicated to making an impact with visual media.

Lessons include color wheel basics, tints and shades, and publishing visual content. Instructors intersperse practical activities throughout the lessons.

Our Take:

Canva offers its graphic design basics course in video and written formats, so it is overall accessible. The practical approach offered by Canva and its design experts makes the course ideal for individuals looking to share their vision with the world.


Creative Live's Live Graphic Design Course


Creative Live offers real-time music and audio, money and life, photo and video, and art and design classes. Students can participate in an online graphic design course. Free to individuals who sign up at the Creative Live website, students can also purchase the class for offline access.

In eighteen video lessons, the course covers the history of graphic design, specialties within the field, and tools used by design professionals. Enrollees explore design techniques and learn to build brands using effective graphic design.

Taught by professional graphic designer and educator Timothy Samara, this course suits beginners and graphic designers with some training.

Our Take:

Streaming the course may not offer the most convenient option for some learners because it consists of more than five hours of comprehensive content. Students learn key design concepts and receive insight into effective implementation in the graphic design world.


Envato Tuts+'s Adobe Illustrator for Beginners


By educating people online, Envato Tuts+ also trains them to work remotely. This self-directed beginners course in Adobe Illustrator includes 20 lessons. It takes learners roughly three hours to complete. At the end of the course, individuals should have a firm grasp of using Adobe Illustrator to draw and create patterns.

This course takes a sequential approach to build drawing and technical skills. Taught by Daniel Walter Scott, a certified Adobe instructor, the class includes concise lessons learners can access at their convenience.

Our Take:

The video lessons integrate exercises to help students apply their knowledge of graphic design. Through the course, learners progress from drawing simple shapes and lines to bending and warping shapes and text. The course ends with a lesson on exporting for print and web media.


Envato Tuts+'s Design and Illustration Courses


Classes in design and illustration at Envato Tuts+ cover creative compositing in Adobe Photoshop, restaurant menu design in Adobe InDesign, and how to design business cards. Some courses focus on specific technologies or media platforms. Others emphasize techniques and design elements.

Courses in Envato Tuts+'s catalog last about four hours or less, with some taking under 40 minutes. Experienced professionals and educators teach coursework to provide learners with the knowledge and tools they need. They also provide additional insights based on personal and professional experiences.

Our Take:

Envato Tuts+'s free courses meet the needs of aspiring graphic designers, practicing professionals, and individuals who simply want to pick up some new skills. Envato Tuts+ also provides design and illustration e-books, tutorials, and learning guides for purchase.


Envato Tuts+'s Teach Yourself Graphic Design: A Self-Study Course Outline


Readers can access a self-study course outline as part of Envato Tuts+ offerings in design theory. The outline covers 12 topics and was written by Envato Tuts+'s business editor Sean Hodge.

The outline emphasizes understanding graphic design theory and principles, the historical foundations of graphic design, and the graphic design process. Readers explore visual and conceptual problem-solving, practical graphic design application, and research in graphic design.

The outline also includes information on the importance of continued education, advanced training, and learning from practicing graphic designers. Readers can create portfolios, find communities of graphic designers, and share their work to receive guidance and criticism.

Our Take:

The outline is incredibly helpful and useful. By the end of the outline, readers will have developed a holistic understanding of how to evaluate their interests and skills, next steps, and the exciting opportunities that await them.


Skillshare's Creating Brand Systems: An Overview of Combining Logos and Type


Skillshare offers thousands of classes to equip learners with creative and technological skills, business knowledge, and lifestyle acumen. This course provides an overview on combining logo and type. It uses aspects of design and illustration to effectively create and use logos.

Students taking this course download free trials of Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign and receive access to Hightail cloud service technology.

Our Take:

This beginner-level class integrates video content with practical projects. Participants share their work, ask questions, and gain valuable insight into the branding process. The seven-session course also includes additional content on the collaboration process.


Skillshare's Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles for Visual Design


Students learn about core principles for visual design in just 36 minutes. The class is taught by Ellen Lupton, curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. The course goes through an entire graphic design activity. Enrollees explore basic principles of graphic design along the way.

The nine lessons include information on symmetry and symmetry, framing, grids, and how to bring it all together. The lessons do not focus on simple definitions. Instead, they explore relationships among images, spaces, margins, and text in visual contexts.

Our Take:

Lupton also serves as director of the graphic design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). The class is presented in collaboration with the institution. Lupton is accompanied by her MICA colleague Jennifer Cole Phillips.


Skillshare's Logo Design with Draplin: Secrets of Shape, Type and Color


Taught by Aaron Draplin, designer and founder of Draplin Design Company, this course lasts about 70 minutes. Based in Portland, Oregon, Draplin has a long history of designing for Nike and has developed several brands.

Enrollees implement Draplin's tips on using color, typography, geometry, and Adobe Illustrator skills as they design compelling, dynamic crests.

Our Take:

In this course, Draplin shows students to design a family crest. He walks through his process of designing his own family crest and covers important aspects of the design industry. With a blend of information on research, workflow, and technical skills, students make their own family crests at the end of the course.

Learn Graphic Design on a Budget

Free graphic design courses allow you to learn the principles and practices of graphic design in a convenient, affordable way. Graphic designers benefit from understanding fundamentals and continually developing new skills. Additional opportunities to advance existing skills make free courses an essential resource for graphic designers at all stages in their careers.

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