fbpx

Best Online Graphic Design Courses

Benzinga Money is a reader-supported publication. We may earn a commission when you click on links in this article. Learn more.

Online graphic design courses can be helpful if you’re interested in pursuing a career in the field. The knowledge you’ll gain can also be useful in your own business. And if you’re already working in the industry or as a freelancer, advanced courses can enhance your skills. 

We’ve researched many course offerings to help you take the guesswork out of finding the best online graphic design course for your skill level and budget. 

Quick Look: Best Online Graphic Design Courses 

Here’s a quick look at the best online graphic design courses:

What Makes a Graphic Design Course Great?

Wondering how to decide which courses are worth your time? There are many stellar courses to choose from, so narrow your list by only considering courses that meet these criteria: 

Starts with the Basics

Whether you’re new to graphic design or experienced in the field, it’s best to begin with a review of foundational elements before diving into more complex material. 

Demonstrates Real-World Application 

Graphic design requires you to be hands-on with all your projects. So, why sit through a course that’s full of dull lectures if there’s no real-world application of the concepts being taught? 

Online graphic design courses that you’re considering should include examples from the instructor. And for the more advanced courses, look for those that require you to complete assignments to demonstrate your ability to apply the concepts and techniques learned in the class. 

Taught by an Industry Professional 

Anyone can experiment with software and teach themselves graphic design. But industry professionals who are educated and have hands-on experience working in the field will have a vast knowledge of techniques that can make your work shine. For this reason, you want a course that’s taught by an industry professional so you can learn tried and tested strategies from their years of invaluable experience. 

Unsure of how to vet the instructor? Take a look at their bio to view information about their educational background, work in the field and applicable credentials. Also, read reviews from past students to get a feel for their teaching style. 

Our Top Picks

Below are our top picks organized by skill level. We’ve included beginner, intermediate and advanced courses from leading online learning platforms, like Coursera, edX, LinkedIn Learning, Skillshare and Udemy. 

There’s also a description and pricing information included with each course, so you’ll have everything you need to make an informed decision. 

Online Graphic Design Courses for Beginners 

New to graphic design or need a quick refresher? Start with these courses for beginners: 

1. Fundamentals of Graphic Design by California Institute of the Arts 

  • Who’s it for? Beginners
  • Price: Free

Fundamentals of Graphic Design is the first class in the Graphic Design Specialization from the California Institute of the Arts. It is designed to teach beginners about the fundamental principles of graphic design along with techniques that can be applied to their own work. 

Instructor Michael Worthington, a faculty member in the School of Art, will introduce you to the fundamentals of color, image-making techniques, typeset and more. You will also be equipped with the necessary skills to analyze visual representations and explore more specialized areas of graphic design. 

Although the course is designed for beginners, you should have basic knowledge programs in the Adobe Creative Suite. These include InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. 

Enrollment is free, and the estimated time to complete it is 14 hours. 

Get this course. 

2. Graphic Design by University of Colorado Boulder 

  • Who’s it for? Beginners
  • Price: Free

Offered by the University of Colorado Boulder, this free 7-hour course is ideal for beginners who want to improve visual communication through their work. Design and media teaching consultant, David Underwood, shares tricks on how to start projects with confidence, handle revisions like a pro and create stimulating work. 

It includes 4 modules — the first module covers the basics of graphic design and the subsequent modules discuss the blank canvas and tricks of the trade you can use to enhance your work.  And in the final module, you will learn how to revise your work based on constructive feedback from others. 

Basic proficiency in InDesign, Keynote and PowerPoint are prerequisites for enrolling in this course. 

Get this course. 

3. Introduction to Graphic Design by LinkedIn Learning (Formerly Lynda.com)

  • Who’s it for? Beginners 
  • Price: Free with the $29 monthly membership

Led by Tony Harmer, an Adobe creative master and illustrator, Introduction to Graphic Design explores key concepts and software that every graphic designer should master. 

The course is delivered in approximately 4 hours of video with lessons on the creative process, layout and composition, typography, color, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. There’s also a quiz at the end of each module to test your comprehension. 

Enrollment is included in the $29 LinkedIn Learning monthly membership. If you aren’t subscribed, grab a seat in the class for free with a 1-month trial. 

Get this course. 

Intermediate Online Graphic Design Courses

Once you’ve acquired the foundational knowledge needed to excel at graphic design, these intermediate-level course options are ideal: 

4. Graphic Design Masterclass: The Next Level by Udemy 

  • Who’s it for? Intermediate students 
  • Price: $179.99

Take your graphic design skills to another level with this in-depth masterclass from Udemy. This course is ideal for intermediate-level students who are interested in learning more about logo design, ad design, digital design and social media ad design. You will also learn the mechanics of Photoshop editing and manipulation.

The enrollment fee of $179.99 includes lifetime access to 11.5 hours of on-demand video and 15 downloadable resources. And the class is backed by a 30-day, money-back guarantee. 

You should have experience with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator before signing up. You’ll also need access to Adobe Creative Cloud to complete the course assignments. 

Instructor Lindsay Marsh has over 15 years of experience as a freelance graphic designer. She’s also served more than 60,000 students in 16 courses on Udemy and boasts an instructor rating of 4.5.

Get this course. 

5. Computer Graphics by UC San Diego  

  • Who’s it for? Intermediate students 
  • Price: Free

Are you looking for a course that will teach you how to create stunning images of 3D scenes using the computer? Consider this 6-week class from UC San Diego. 

Led by Ravi Ramamoorthi, the course is comprised of 4 segments: Overview and Basic Math, Transformations, OpenGL and Lighting and Raytracing. Course material is delivered through video lectures, program exercises and homework assignments. 

You should have a C/C++ programming background and a working knowledge of linear algebraic expression before enrolling. An up-to-date computer — preferably a Windows, Linus or MacOS — is also required to complete the coursework. 

There’s no fee to enroll in the course, but you have the option to add a verified certificate for only $99. 

Get this course

6. Passive Income Course for Graphic Designers by Udemy 

  • Who’s it for? Intermediate students 
  • Price: $199.99 

Interested in earning passive income by selling your design work online? Consider this highly-rated comprehensive course from Udemy. 

When you enroll for $199.99, you will have instant access to 5 hours of on-demand video and 6 downloadable resources that demonstrate how to generate passive income through your design work. 

Instructor Angelina Samadhi will show you the exact process she used to sell over $350,000 in graphics online. You will also learn how to build an eCommerce website using WordPress and implement proven strategies that attract online customers with ease. 

This course is ideal for intermediate-level graphic designers that have experience using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. 

Get this course. 

Advanced Online Graphic Design Courses

If you’re already working as a graphic designer, you may find these advanced courses useful: 

7. Brand Identity Design: How to Design Brands People Care About by Skillshare

  • Who’s it for? Advanced students
  • Price: Free

Learn how to create meaningful brands in this 45-minute class from Skillshare. It begins with crucial insights on what makes a brand unforgettable, followed by best practices to develop a strategy and start building a visual identity from the ground up. 

Core skills introduced in this course include laying, designing, telling and crafting. You will also be tasked with creating your own beverage brand. 

The class is taught by Alex Center, an experienced graphic designer that spearheaded the strategy and design vision for major Coca-Cola brands, including POWERADE and Smartwater. He is also the founder of CENTER, a design and branding firm.  

Get this course. 

8. Brand New Brand by California Institute of the Arts 

  • Who’s it for? Advanced students 
  • Price: Free

Merge all the beginner and intermediate skills you’ve learned in Brand New Brand. It is the 5th class Graphic Design Specialization from California Institute of the Arts. 

In this 7-week course, you will create a brand development guide for your own fictitious company. The layout is as follows:

  • Week 1 – Ideation: Invent Your Client 
  • Week 2 – Visualization: Make Your Fake 
  • Week 3 – Logotype: Brand Your Brand
  • Week 4 – Palette: Expand Your Brand
  • Week 5 – Application: Apply Your Brand 
  • Week 6 – Publication: Display Your Brand 
  • Week 7 – Final Review 

This class is also taught by Michael Worthington, a faculty member in the Graphic Design Program at the School of Art. 

It’s free to enroll, and you should expect to spend 13 hours working through the assignments. 

Get this course. 

9. Motion Graphic Design: Animation by LinkedIn Learning

  • Who’s it for? Advanced students 
  • Price: Included in the $29 monthly membership

In a little over 1 hour of instruction, Illustrator and Motion Graphic Designer Angie Taylor will show you how to create stellar motion graphics and animations using the principles of animation. The course includes 3 lessons: Animation Setup Stages, Animation Principles and Physics and Animation Rules to Add Emphasis and Excitement. And you’ll learn how to apply these concepts by completing a project. 

If you’re a member of the LinkedIn Learning community, there’s no fee to enroll. But if you have not yet registered for the $29 monthly membership, you can try the class for free with a 1-month trial.

Get this course. 

Choosing the Right Online Graphic Design Course for You

Get started with a career in graphic design or accelerate your skills with one of these courses. There are options to fit every learning style and budget.

Best of all, you can work at your own pace to master techniques that will make your work stand out from the masses.