Which Graphic Design Course is Best?

Graphic design as an industry has skyrocketed in the last decade, so it’s not surprising that learning the graphic design tools of the trade is also a popular choice in recent years.

There are many courses to choose from, to suit a range of skill levels, budgets and artistic abilities. Choosing the right one for you can be difficult as there is such a wide variety, all claiming to be the course you need.

Worry not, as all of the difficult research and hard work has been done for you! Today we are happy to present our list of top graphic design courses available to study right now, from the comfort of your own home. 

In no particular order…

The Best Graphic Design Courses in 2021

1. Become a Graphic Designer – LinkedIn Learning 

Pros:

  • Hands on practice with Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign
  • Develop a solid start in all key design elements: typography, layout, color palettes
  • Transcripts and live Q&As with educators and other learners for every video
  • Receive an official certificate upon completion

Cons:

  • No specific feedback or exercises to be graded by instructors

Presented by a team of experts, including official Adobe employees, LinkedIn’s impressive graphic design course is ready to equip you with a whole arsenal of skills. 

Using the best in industry-leading software, you’ll learn all of the necessary know-how to become an on-demand visual communicator, with almost thirty hours of professional quality video learning content.

Not only will you learn how to be a graphic designer, but what it takes to get onto the career ladder and start collaborating with others creatively.

2. How to Become a Graphic Designer – Complete Guide – Lindsay Marsh, Skillshare

Pros:

  • Quick guide to becoming a professional graphic designer
  • PDF step-by-step downloadable guide as well as video lessons
  • Learn cheaper alternatives to expensive popular software
  • Unlimited access to all other Skillshare classes

Cons:

  • More of a beginner’s introduction than a beginning to end course

You’ll notice Lindsay Marsh is featured several times on this list, as she has a great deal of experience and expertise to share. Her first offering is this Skillshare course, which promises a fully fledged walkthrough on the world of graphic design.

Answering such common questions as “do I need to be able to draw to be a good designer,” “what software do I need to learn?” and “do I need a formal degree to be successful?” this is an easy and accessible introduction to the subject.

Bear in mind this is targeting complete beginners with zero former knowledge, so intermediates and beyond should consider an alternative.

3. Graphic Design Specialization – CalArts, Coursera

Pros:

  • From leading college CalArts – industry experts and lecturers from the top graphic design courses in the US
  • Six months’ worth of learning at a pace of three hours a week
  • 100% to your own schedule – begin whenever you’re ready
  • Shareable certificate for your CV once complete

Cons:

  • Big commitment – not a quick and easy course

Presented by the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), who have secured their reputation as leaders in the realm of visual arts in the US, this course is designed to provide you with the fundamentals necessary for sophisticated graphic design.

Learning not just the process, but historical context, typography and communication through images by completing a capstone project (basically a brief with multiple parts), you will receive peer feedback and a finished product suitable for use in a professional portfolio.

4. Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles for Visual Design – by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips, Skillshare

Pros:

  • From two industry experts, both with published books on graphic design (this course is a condensed version of their co-authored text, Graphic Design: The new basics)
  • Receive all class slides on a PDF and further your learning 
  • Learn how to apply each core concept in future projects
  • Discover how to effectively critique your own work

Cons:

  • Quite short – just one 35 minute session

Brought to you by a curator at the Smithsonian and her co-director, Graphic Design Basics is a half hour class that takes you through the absolute essentials of graphic design, separated into five basic principles. 

Learn to create icons, magazines, web pages and beyond by understanding advanced principles like layers, time and motion, transparency and other key skills, including how to use InDesign and other software.

5. Graphic Design Masterclass (Learn GREAT Design) – by Lindsay Marsh, Udemy

Pros:

  • Recently updated in February 2021, will continue to receive frequent updates
  • Extensively cover color theory, layout, composition, typography and branding just to name a couple of topics
  • Become familiar with the top three software programs used in graphic design
  • Sure to teach anyone something new – from beginners to professionals

Cons:

  • Software not included – requires access to Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign at version CS6 or higher if possible

The second contribution from Lindsay Marsh (we said she’d be back!) is her ultimate masterclass in graphic design, available on Udemy. Covering InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and other software, as well as branding, theory and logo design, be prepared to take your skills to the next level.

From fonts and typefaces to package design, editorial spreads and even book covers, you’ll even explore upcoming design trends for 2021, and how you can incorporate them into your work to get ahead of the game.

6. Graphic Design Bootcamp: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign – by Derrick Mitchell, Udemy

Last but most certainly not least, we have Derrick Mitchell’s Graphic Design Bootcamp, which has seen over 90,000 students since it began.

Covering print and web design, you’ll develop everything necessary for creating many common design projects, including confidence in your own ability!

Updated to feature more than 15 hours of on demand content, which includes advice on uploading an online design portfolio, as well as a PDF with the most-used shortcut codes in Adobe software, there are over 98 lectures to sink your teeth into!

Pros:

  • Instructor with decades of experience, having worked with the likes of Nintendo, Netflix and MTV
  • More than 15 hours of content to explore in almost 100 mini lectures
  • Develop a clear understanding of the most commonly created graphic design products and projects
  • Great for beginners, employers, entrepreneurs and aspiring designers – a range of skillsets

Cons:

  • Access to the Adobe Creative Suite is required – instructor uses a Mac, but those using Windows should be fine to follow along
About Chris Craft

Hi! I'm Chris(topher) Craft. I'm a believer, husband of an amazing woman (Wanda), and father of three talented kids (Naomi, Maria, and Elijah). I love writing, making music, learning about God's Hand in History, entrepreneurship, and basketball. Thank you for reading my stuff! ❤️ Connect with me on Twitter @CraftWrites.