15 Extremely Helpful Free Graphic Design Courses

CreativeLive offers a range of online courses geared towards designers and artists. The full courses typically aren’t free. However, there is a wide range of free video lessons available that can help you learn graphic design.

For example, there are free graphic design courses on topics including Colors and Their Relationships and What Makes a Successful Book Cover.

However, only the video lessons are free. You don’t get access to course materials like readings and practice assignments unless you pay for them.

Another issue with the site is that when you’re browsing through the large database of lessons, there’s no easy way to tell which lessons are free until you click on one. But once you visit the page for a lesson, it will show you all the lessons from the same course that are free.

If you want to sign up for a full course, they typically cost around $30 to $50 each. Alternatively, you can sign up for a subscription for $25 a month that gets you access to as many courses as you want.

Despite these gripes, the sheer amount of helpful graphic design classes available on CreativeLive make it well worth a visit.

This introduction to design is offered through the California Insititute of Arts on Coursera. Coursera offers online courses from a wide range of universities and companies. The California Institute of Arts has five different free graphic design courses available on the site, under its graphic design specialization section.

The Fundamentals of Creative Design is a great starting point as it covers the basics of topics from typography and image-making, to shape, color, and composition. But all of the courses in CalArt’s graphic design specialization are worth checking out, as they delve into each of those topics in more detail.

One thing that sets these graphic design classes apart from many of the other options out there is that they are much more than just slide shows. Instead, they include a combination of video lessons, readings, and practice exercises.

To have your work marked by an instructor and to receive a certificate when you complete the course, you have to pay to enroll. Typically, to enroll in a specialization and get access to all of its related courses costs between $39-$79 per month. You can search through the website to find different instructors that suit your learning style.

However, you can get access to all of the course content for free. All you have to do is choose the “audit the course” option when you sign up (avoid the “free trial” offer as it just means you start paying after seven days).

The high quality of these courses and the ability to access all of the content for free makes them an ideal way to learn graphic design.

This online graphic design course from the University of Colorado is another one that’s offered through Coursera. That means you can get access to all the videos, readings, and exercises for free.

This course is a great choice for inexperienced graphic designers. That’s because it is part of a four-course program on effective communication. That means it is aimed at a more general audience and doesn’t require any previous knowledge of graphic design.

It offers easy-to-understand lessons that teach students some design “tricks” that will make it easier to get started on design projects with confidence. It also includes practice exercises where students are presented with example designs, and then have to use what they’ve learned to identify the designs’ strengths and weaknesses.

So while it is perfect for those who are just starting out and are unsure about how to learn graphic design, it also has no shortage of valuable information. If you take the time to go through this free graphic design course, you’ll be off to a great start!

This online graphic design course is offered by the Maryland Institute College of Art. It is available through Kadenze, which is an online learning platform that is very similar to Coursera. They have courses from universities and institutions around the world, and you can get access to all of the course content for free.

This course on graphic design history provides background knowledge that will be useful to any graphic designer. The course description says that to know where graphic design trends are going, you have to understand where they began, what shaped them, and how avant-garde artists reinvented them along the way.

The topics covered include the origins of text and graphic design, liberated styles of the late 1800s, mechanical abstractions and photomontage, practicality in typography, international styles, and more.

The course is packed full of content. It is made up of seven sessions that each involve multiple video lessons and coursework such as quizzes and practice assignments. Another cool thing about this course is that it gives you access to the class discussion forum even as a free user.

So if you are looking for a free graphic design course that you can really sink your teeth into, this is a perfect choice.

This online course was created by the Cornish College of the Arts and is offered through Kadenze. It focuses on the integration of design principles and drawing skills. It’s recommended that participants should already have some understanding of fundamental design theory before taking this course, so it is a good choice once you’ve taken some of the other courses listed here.

The course syllabus covers some topics in design theory such as the principles that make illustration effective for communication. It also covers more hands-on topics including digital tool demos to show some advanced techniques for Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign.

Similar to the course listed above, each session in this course is made up of multiple video lessons. They also include assignments that will give you a chance to apply the knowledge you’ve picked up. It is a great option for designers who are looking to expand their illustration skills.

So now you know some of the options that are out there when it comes to learning graphic design for free. These online graphic design courses will let you expand your abilities and career prospects, all from the comfort of your home and working at your own pace. The wide range of classes available means you should have no problems finding something that matches your skill level and needs. So start brushing up on your graphic design skills today!

Skillshare is an online learning platform that offers a variety of different courses. There are over thousands of courses available from marketing to branding and graphic design to videography. There are both free and premium plans for Skillshare, so anyone can start learning on their platform.

The courses from Skillshare offer an option to interact with the community and the educator. There are optional assignments that can be completed as well. While there is no guarantee that the instructor will participate during your learning, they may sometimes respond to your messages on the board. However, the community on Skillshare is very engaging. Other students and learners provide great feedback and insight into the courses you are taking.

Ellen Lupton’s course, Demystifying Graphic Design: How Posters Work, is one of the most popular and a great one to consider if you’re looking to learn more about graphic design. With over 41,000 students, this short one-hour class explores how posters work and explore moves that make modern graphic design so compelling.

In Ellen’s course, you will be able to explore different posters from movie posters to political propaganda. Learning about the story behind each graphic design, as well as how you can create effective and emotional posters that are impactful.

If you are looking for even more Photoshop resources, we curated a list of 61 of the best Photoshop tutorials that you should check out!

This article was updated January 5, 2020.