10 Best Online Graphic Design Courses (Free & Paid)

The number of graphic design courses available online has skyrocketed in recent years. The digital age offers endless opportunities for people with graphic design skills.

Whether you’re interested in making logos, designing games, or building beautiful websites, there’s something for everyone.

In this article, we’ll review the best graphic design online courses. We’ll be looking at training classes targeted at a range of different learners, from advanced professionals hoping to design a stand-out brand, to graphic design classes for absolute beginners.

Top 10 Online Graphic Design Courses

1. Graphic Design Basics By Canva

Graphic Design Basics CourseGraphic Design Basics Course

Canva’s “Graphic Design Basics” course is one of the most highly rated online courses available today. With more than 159,000 happy students, the class has earned a reputation for being one of the most accessible learning avenues for beginners.

As a leader in graphic design software, Canva brings multiple experts together to introduce us to the basics of design. You’ll hear from professionals like Jason Little, Johanna Roca, Joe Moore, and Lynneal Santos about foundational design concepts.

Why enroll in this course?

Canva’s graphic design course provides an easy entry point to thinking like a designer for beginners. I found it to be a wonderfully inspirational experience. In each class, you don’t just learn about graphic design, you discover what it means to become a graphic designer.

Canva’s easy-to-follow course addresses a number of important topics, like learning how to communicate meaning with your designs. With Canva you will:

  • Discover what “design” really means
  • Learn how to think like a designer
  • Cover topics like “proximity”, “moodboards” and “designing to communicate”
  • Hear from genuine experts and business leaders
  • Cost: Free
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Level: Beginner
  • Certification: No

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2. Graphic Design Fundamentals By CreativeLive

Graphic Design Fundamentals CourseGraphic Design Fundamentals Course

A well-known source of educational content, CreativeLive gives creatively-minded people the skills to turn their talents and hobbies into a source of income.

The “Graphic Design Fundamentals” course, by Timothy Samara, provides an 18-lesson introduction to graphic design history, specialization areas, toolkits, and work processes.

I was particularly impressed by the easy-to-follow instructions of Samara, who shares his behind-the-scenes knowledge gained from 25 years as a New York-based graphic designer and educator.

Why enroll in this course?

Over 30,000 students have already enrolled in the Graphic Design fundamentals course from CreativeLive. The course benefits from short, easy-to-consume classes, which you can explore in your own time, at your own pace.

You’ll learn about the history of graphic design and follow along with hands-on classes on how to design a book, a website, or a poster. With help from Timothy Samara, students:

  • Explore the history and evolution of graphic design
  • Learn how to become a graphic designer, with specific areas of expertise
  • Discover key elements of the designer toolkit, like color, typography, and layout
  • Navigate typical work processes and what designers do each day
  • Find out how to design books, websites, and posters
  • Learn about the various elements of brand identity
  • Cost: $49
  • Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Level: Beginner
  • Certification: No

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3. Graphic Design Masterclass by Udemy

Graphic Design MasterclassGraphic Design Masterclass

I often browse through Udemy’s vast course selection when searching for ways to build my skills. There are plenty of different categories to explore, including graphic design.

The “Graphic Design Masterclass”, created by Lindsay Marsh, is one of my favorite options for discovering design theory, branding, and logo design.

Going beyond the basics of design theory covered in most courses, the Graphic Design Masterclass leaves each student with a thorough toolkit of skills.

You’ll learn about color theory, typography, branding, and how to use crucial tools like Photoshop and Illustrator.

Why enroll in this course?

The Graphic Design Masterclass from Lindsay Marsh is one of the more comprehensive educational experiences I’ve found for beginner to intermediate learners.

If you want to learn actionable skills you can put them to the test immediately, this is an excellent way to do just that.

Step-by-step walkthroughs show you the skills involved in photo editing, logo design, and vector tracing.

You can also work on your own flyer, vectors, and other assets while following along with your teacher. The Graphic Design Masterclass:

  • Covers the basics of design history without the fluff
  • Shows you how to use common graphic design tools like Adobe
  • Provides guidance on logos, branding packages, and asset design
  • Discusses impending design trends and changes
  • Constantly updated with new lessons, like how to use Photoshop mockups, or how to give and receive feedback as a graphic designer.
  • Cost: $99.99
  • Duration: 25 hours 30 minutes
  • Level: Beginner / Intermediate
  • Certification: Certificate of completion.

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4. Fundamentals of Graphic Design by Coursera

Fundamentals of Graphic Design CourseFundamentals of Graphic Design Course

Coursera is one of the best online learning platforms I frequently visit to find online graphic design courses and other sources of education. In my experience, there are plenty of great lessons on this platform, and the educators are usually very friendly, succinct, and easy to understand.

The Fundamentals of Graphic Design by Michael Worthington is among the most popular graphic design classes available, with more than half a million enrolled students.

The course features flexible deadlines, so you can learn at your own pace, and according to the stats, around 24% of students started a new career after completing their education.

Why enroll in this course?

I find many graphic design courses focused on covering the basics can either make the mistake of being too in-depth, or too vague. This isn’t the case for Michael Worthington’s lessons.

The flexible syllabus walks you through various aspects of graphic design and essential knowledge, with short, easy-to-consume videos and activities.

You can start with the basics of image-making, then head to typography, or explore composition and work backward through classes on shape and color.

The Fundamentals of Graphic Design course from Coursera offers:

  • A range of readings, activities, and videos to enlighten students
  • Easy-to-follow chapters of study, each with multiple videos
  • Quizzes and reading sections to test your knowledge
  • Flexible deadlines to suit your schedule
  • Comprehensive insights into the basics of graphic design
  • Cost: $39
  • Duration: 15 hours
  • Level: Beginner
  • Certification: Certificate of completion.

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5. Beginners Guide to Adobe Photoshop by SkillShare

Adobe Photoshop For Beginners CourseAdobe Photoshop For Beginners Course

Many of the graphic designers I’ve worked with in the past, have recommended SkillShare as a tool for updating your education. The platform is vast. And packed with a number of reputable experts, including Kate Silver, the creator of the Beginner’s Guide to Adobe Photoshop.

These online graphic design courses cover a specific part of the graphic design ecosystem – working with software.

Adobe Photoshop is essentially the gold standard tool to master if you want to become a graphic designer. This easy-to-follow course will ensure you know the basics of editing and creating graphics from scratch.

Why enroll in this course?

It’s hard to accomplish much in today’s graphic design landscape without a good grasp of Adobe Photoshop. With Kate Silver’s instruction, you’ll learn how to edit images, how to create graphics for social media and more.

Kate is a teacher at the UK’s leading Adobe Training Center, so she knows what she’s talking about. With the beginner’s guide to Adobe Photoshop, you’ll get:

  • A full guide to cleaning and editing images
  • Insights into graphic manipulation and retouching
  • A step-by-step exploration of Adobe Photoshop’s features
  • Tips on how to create assets for social media
  • Complete support for beginners
  • Cost: $19/mo
  • Duration: 3 hours 4 minutes
  • Level: Beginner
  • Certification: Certificate of completion.

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6. Adobe Photoshop Mastery by Fiverr Learn

Adobe Photoshop Mastery CourseAdobe Photoshop Mastery Course

Another of the best graphic design programs we’ve seen for mastering Adobe Photoshop, this course by Daniel Walter Scott is a must-see. Scott is an Advanced Adobe Certified instructor with over 15 years of experience, and he’s also a multi-award-winning designer.

Through a series of over 100 bite-sized lessons, you’ll learn how to make complex and advanced selections in Photoshop, adjust colors and tackle complex challenges, like correcting blur, and how to create trending visual styles.

Daniel covers everything from reusable mockup creation to methods of speeding up Photoshop if it’s running too slow.

Why enroll in this course?

The Adobe Photoshop Mastery class is an excellent way to build on your basic knowledge of Photoshop and master the most important features. You’ll learn how to enlarge images without distortion, as well as how to batch process multiple images and export them for web design.

Every lesson is wonderfully visual and engaging, with expert support from Daniel to lead you through the experience. Benefits of this course include:

  • Over 100 mini lessons about Adobe Photoshop
  • Tips on how to use Photoshop features, and improve software functionality
  • Guidance from an award-winning Photoshop professional
  • Practical examples and downloads to help hone your skills
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Cost: $24
  • Duration: 13 hours 20 minutes
  • Level: Intermediate / Advanced
  • Certification: No

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7. Online Graphic Design Course By Nyiad

Online Graphic Design CourseOnline Graphic Design Course

What better way to prove your skills as a graphic designer, than with a certification from an accredited academy like the New York Institute of Art & Design. This convenient online course from Nyiad features hours of video instruction, with more than 100 on-screen tutorials.

I found this course to be particularly good at keeping me engaged and active during the learning process. You don’t just see people creating content in videos, you get to practice the techniques and methods yourself.

Every project is reviewed by a mentor and given feedback to help you grow as a designer. Plus, you’ll get instruction from a man with more than 10 years of experience, Keith Gallagher.

Why enroll in this course?

A certificate from the New York Institute of Art & Design will look impressive on any resume. With this course, you get a highly professional learning experience, brimming with activities to make you a more proficient expert in your field.

You’ll learn how to navigate crucial tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and design your own assets for evaluation. With this online graphic design course, you’ll get:

  • Insights into building your own graphic design portfolio
  • Certification from an accredited academy
  • Guides to using some of the most popular design tools
  • Opportunities to test your skills and gain mentor feedback
  • 24/7 access to course materials so you can learn at any time.
  • Cost: $1,349
  • Duration: 8 / 12 months
  • Level: Intermediate / Advanced
  • Certification: Graphic Design Certificate.

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8. Visual and Graphic Design by Alison

Visual Graphic Design CourseVisual Graphic Design Course

Published by XSI1, the online graphic design course from Alison is free to access, but you will need to pay for your certification at the end of your lessons. The easy-to-follow lessons provide a little over three hours of instruction on things like composition, balance, and design hierarchy.

As you explore the most important parts of graphic design, you’ll get a taste of what it means to become a graphic designer in the real world. If you do choose to pay for your certification, you also get the benefit of knowing it should really stand out on your CV, as an official CPD

Why enroll in this course?

The Visual and Graphic Design course from Alison is easy-to-follow and packed with useful information. I found the content to be interesting and engaging, with plenty of unique tips on how you can optimize your view of the world as a graphic designer.

While you might not cover some of the most advanced concepts in this free course, you will learn all the fundamentals of graphic design, like how to use shape, form, and texture to your advantage.

The modules include plenty of visuals and guidance to help you too. With the Alison graphic design classes, you’ll get:

  • Easy to follow lessons in bite-sized chunks
  • Professional instruction from a trained expert
  • Assessments so you can put your skills to the test
  • An overview of design principles and elements
  • Free education with the option to buy a certificate
  • Cost: Free
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Level: Intermediate / Advanced
  • Certification: Graphic Design Certificate (Paid $25)

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9. Graphic Design Course Online by Shaw Academy

Graphic Design Course OnlineGraphic Design Course Online

I’ve spoken to a number of graphic designers over the years who commend Shaw Academy for its engaging learning experiences. If you want to learn graphic design while interacting regularly with real teachers and professionals, Shaw Academy is a good choice.

This Graphic Design Course comes with a globally recognized certification and has more than 2.2 million graduates. During the course, you’ll learn about the principles and fundamentals of design, and learn how to use tools like Photoshop and Illustrator.

I was particularly impressed by the guidance on how to start a portfolio and build your own graphic design business, which will be great for budding freelancers.

Why enroll in this course?

Shaw Academy’s graphic design classes show lessons don’t need to be complex to be comprehensive. The course lasts for about 16 weeks in total, during which time you’ll cover 32 lessons, complete with assessments to test your skills.

Your lessons are all segmented into different “fundamentals” for graphic design education, including sections covering the elements of design, and how to use Adobe illustrator. The main benefits of enrolling in this course include:

  • Actionable assessments to test your skills
  • Insights into Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Opportunities to design your own assets for your portfolio
  • Guidance from a teacher during regular live video sessions
  • Globally recognized accreditations
  • The opportunity to learn at your own pace
  • Cost: Free (for 4 weeks then $69.99 per month)
  • Duration: 16 weeks
  • Level: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced
  • Certification: Graphic Design Certificate

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10. Become a UX Designer Course by Udacity

UX Designer DegreeUX Designer Degree

Running over the course of 3 months, Udacity’s graphic designer course covers everything you need to know to start a career in graphic design. You’ll discover what it means to create an incredible user experience with design fundamentals like positioning and structure.

The UX Designer course also comes with assignments to help you test your skills, like challenges that ask you to create impactful elements for a web design project.

This course is ideal for anyone who wants regular support from a real teacher, as technical mentors are on-hand to answer your questions.

Why enroll in this course?

The Udacity graphic designer course is an end-to-end program for would-be design professionals. You can experiment with projects guided by real-world industry professionals, and develop a deep knowledge of the UX industry.

The Udacity course also comes with resume support, and Github portfolio reviewing, to help you get a career after you’re finished learning. Other reasons to take this course include:

  • Ultra-flexible learning to suit your schedule
  • Help to build your UX portfolio and advertise it to employers
  • Assessments and assignments to test your skills
  • Thorough insights into high-fidelity and low-fidelity prototyping
  • Dedicated support from a technical mentor
  • Cost: $399/mo
  • Duration: 3 Months
  • Level: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced
  • Certification: Nano Degree

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Who should follow a graphic design course?

Graphic design courses aren’t just for people who want to become graphics designers.

While you can definitely use the courses listed below to improve your chances of a high-paying graphic design job, there are other reasons to enroll too.

For instance, taking one of the best online graphic design courses could give you the foundations you need to customize an eye-catching website for your new business.

Graphic design classes can pave the way to a future in freelancing or give you a unique way to make your resume stand out.

With an education in graphic design, you can:

  • Expand your existing creative skills
  • Start a side hustle or launch your own business from home
  • Earn certifications to put on your resume
  • Start a career in graphic design
  • Increase the number of services your digital business currently offers

Why are these the best graphic design courses?

We chose these particular graphic design courses based on a number of factors, including their accessibility, available learning paths, and unique features.

To bring you the best courses on the market, we’ve extensively reviewed dozens of available learning options. Hours of research allowed us to find the best free and paid courses for professionals and beginners alike.

Is Taking an Online Graphic Design Class Worth It?

Personally, I find online classes to be extremely useful. These days, it’s much easier to develop your skills in virtually any industry with access to extensive online learning. A class in graphic design can be particularly useful for creatively-minded professionals.

Earning online certifications and skills in graphic design opens the door to a host of valuable earning opportunities, as well as new career avenues.

If you want to become a graphic designer, or simply build your skills in graphic design, starting with an online course is a good idea.

The table below shows the best online graphic design courses and their associated cost.


Graphic Design Basics

Graphic Design Fundamentals

Graphic Design MasterClass

Fundamentals of Graphic Design

Beginners Guide to Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop Mastery
Fiverr Learn

Online Graphic Design Course

Visual and Graphic Design

Graphic Design Course Online
Shaw Academy

Become a UX Designer Course

If you know of a high-quality online graphic design course that should be part of our list, let me know in the comments below!