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Best Courses Guides

6 Best Graphic Design Courses for Beginners for 2024

From design principles to presentation design, learn graphic design from top courses to make your designs dazzle.

Graphic Design is presenting information through graphical and textual elements designed for a specific function. When creating visual assets with the right principles, you will convey a more powerful and effective message to your audience.

Whether you want to improve your designing skill or are considering a career as a graphic designer, this Best Courses Guide (BCG) has a selection of the best Graphic Design courses from over 900 Graphic Design courses in our catalog, including popular options from Udemy, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and YouTube.

If you want to edit your designs like a pro, check out our BCGs on Photoshop, Illustrator, Figma, and Canva.

Click on the shortcuts for more details:

Our Top Picks

Course Highlight Workload
Best Graphic Design Course for Beginners (CalArts) 78 hours
Also Great Graphic Design Course for Beginners (LinkedIn Learning) 14 hours
Best Graphic Design Theory or Beginners Course (Udemy) 10 hours
Best Presentation Design Course (University of Colorado Boulder) 29 hours
Best Practical Graphic Design Course (Udemy) 29 hours
Best YouTube Courses Various

Why are Graphic Design Skills Important?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for graphic designers was $57,990 in May 2022.

Employment of graphic designers is projected to grow 3 percent from now to 2032, while, on average, about 22,800 graphic designing jobs in the U.S. are projected each year over the decade.

However, even though the need for digitally based graphic design is growing, a decrease in print media may limit opportunities for graphic designers who create print-based publications.

In a 2021 article, Forbes said that AI is making its way into the world of graphic design. Technology is bringing sophisticated design tools to us, replicating human work and providing a more efficient outcome. However, even with the correct use of technology, AI cannot replace the human touch, and graphic designers will still be in the market.

BCG Stats

  • Combined, these courses have accrued over 1.7M enrollments.
  • 3 courses are free or free-to-audit and 3 courses are paid.
  • The Graphic Design subject is followed by over 21K learners on Class Central.

Best Graphic Design Course for Beginners (CalArts)

Michael Worthington, instructor

Graphic Design is a free-to-audit specialization offered by California Institute of the Arts on Coursera. To access the free-to-audit option, visit each course page linked below. For more information, see A Guide on How to Sign up for Coursera Courses for Free.

This five-part specialization will teach you how to create eye-catching designs, the design process, historical context, and how to communicate effectively through image-making and typography. The five parts are:

  1. Fundamentals of Graphic Design: Image-making, typography, composition, working with color and shape.
  2. Introduction to Typography: The history of typefaces, the best practices in setting type, and the expressive, meaning-making potential of type.
  3. Introduction to Imagemaking: Experiment with a range of materials and techniques to make images, expand your visual vocabulary, and learn how to create compositions.
  4. Ideas from the History of Graphic Design: Explore ideas that helped formulate design practice from the 1850s through the 1960s to the ways that designers think today.
  5. Brand New Brand: Explore the entire design process, from ideation to creation to presentation.
Institution California Institute of the Arts
Provider Coursera
Instructors Anther Kiley, Gail Swanlund, Lorraine Wild, Louise Sandhaus, Michael Worthington
Level Beginner
Workload 78 hours
Enrollments 345K
Rating 4.7/5.0 (15.8K)
Certificate Paid

Also Great Graphic Design Course for Beginners (LinkedIn Learning)

Sean Adams, instructor

Become a Graphic Designer on LinkedIn Learning is a collection of nine short courses. Each course teaches a specific aspect of graphic design, from basic concepts and technicalities to creating inclusive content and advanced principles.

The courses included are:

  • Introduction to Graphic Design: Concepts
  • Graphic Design Foundations: Ideas, Concepts, and Form
  • Graphic Design Foundations: Layout and Composition
  • Graphic Design Foundations: Typography
  • How Design Makes us Think
  • Color for Design and Art
  • Creating Inclusive Content
  • Working with Inclusive Imagery
  • Layout and Composition: Advanced Principles
Provider LinkedIn Learning
Instructor Sean Adams, Tony Harmer, Ina Saltz, Jim Krause, and Nicte Cuevas
Level Beginner
Workload 14 hours
Enrollments 280K in total
Rating 4.7/5 (8.4K in total)
Certificate Free

Best Graphic Design Theory for Beginners Course (Udemy)

Lindsay Marsh and Jeremy Deighan, instructors

The Complete Graphic Design Theory for Beginners Course contains all you need to master graphic design theory. Knowing the fundamentals of graphic design such as color, typography, layout, composition and branding is extremely important, and this course teaches you that. No experience needed.

Provider Udemy
Instructor Lindsay Marsh, Jeremy Deighan
Level Beginner
Workload 10 hours
Enrollments 71K
Rating 4.6/5.0 (17K)
Certificate Paid

Best Presentation Design Course (University of Colorado Boulder)

Quentin McAndrew (left), William Kuskin (center), and David Underwood (right), instructors

Graphic Design is a free-to-audit course offered by University of Colorado Boulder on Coursera. This practical course teaches you the theory and basics of graphic design, and also encourages you to apply those concepts and create your own designs in any presentation software.

Institution University of Colorado Boulder
Part of Effective Communication: Writing, Design, and Presentation specialization
Provider Coursera
Instructor David Underwood
Level Beginner
Workload 29 hours
Enrollments 135K
Rating 4.8/5.0 (3K)
Certificate Paid

Best Practical Graphic Design Course (Udemy)

How to encourage and spark creativity

From design theory, branding and logo design to Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, Graphic Design Masterclass – Learn GREAT Design covers just about all the aspects of graphic design. With this course, you’ll be able to apply your knowledge to real-world projects to create incredible designs.

Provider Udemy
Instructor Lindsay Marsh
Level Beginner
Workload 29 hours
Enrollments 220K
Rating 4.7/5.0 (55K)
Certificate Paid

Best YouTube Tutorials

Beginners guide to Graphic Design (Gareth David Studio)

This is one of the most popular graphic design courses on YouTube taught by designer Gareth David. Aimed at beginners, this course will be super helpful to get you started as a graphic designer.

Fundamentals of Graphic Design (Envato Tuts+)

Taught by Lara Keung, a graphic designer with over 15 years experience, this course will take you through the main rules for creating compositions that work and convey the message for your audience.

Graphic Design Theory (Yes I’m a Designer)

Theory is indispensable to any subject, and so is it for graphic design. Designer Martin Perhiniak will take you through just about everything there is to know in graphic design theory, so that you become confident in your graphic design skills.

Why You Should Trust Us

Class Central, a Tripadvisor for online education, has helped 60 million learners find their next course. We’ve been combing through online education for more than a decade to aggregate a catalog of over 150,000 online courses and 200,000 reviews written by our users. And we’re online learners ourselves: combined, the Class Central team has completed over 400 online courses, including online degrees.

Archisha has designed presentations, posters, thumbnails, and banners using Adobe Photoshop, Canva and Microsoft PowerPoint. Archisha is also a Guided Project Instructor and Beta Tester at Coursera. She has taken over 50 online courses. Archisha’s experience as an online learner and teacher has given her some perspective on what to look for in an online course.

Fabio also has experience as a learner and as a tutor who revised the research and the latest version of this article.

How We Made Our Picks and Tested Them

Trying to find “the best” can be daunting, even for those of us who live and breathe online courses. Here’s how we approached this task.

First, we combed through Class Central’s Catalog and the internet to find a variety of free and paid courses.

Second, when choosing courses, we considered the following factors:

  • Renowned Institutions: We picked the most recognized institutions in Graphic Design.
  • Instructor experience: We looked for instructors with extensive experience in Graphic Design.
  • Course content: We looked for courses that covered a wide range of topics, from the basics to more advanced techniques.
  • Student reviews: We read student reviews (when available) to get a sense of the quality of each course.

To evaluate each course, We watched some of the course videos and read the course syllabus. We also looked at the course’s rating and reviews on Class Central.

Ultimately, We used a combination of data and our own judgment to make these picks. We’re confident these recommendations will provide you with the knowledge to take your first steps in becoming a graphic designer.

Archisha Bhar Profile Image

Archisha Bhar

I am a Civil Engineer from India. Other than engineering, I take interest in art, music, computer, psychology and creative writing.
Fabio Dantas Profile Image

Fabio Dantas

Content writer with a degree in chemical engineering. I'm passionate about creative writing, process improvement, productivity, and mindfulness. I aim to empower learners through my articles by providing practical tips, inspiration, and a deeper understanding of learning.

Comments 5

  1. Renu sharma

    Hello Archisha .. just read your content its amazing… today i learned so many things from you Thank you so much for your guidance .

  2. Vaishaki

    The LinkedIn Learning Course is not free. I was only able to access the first two courses.

    • Fabio Dantas

      Apparently this was a temporary offer that was still valid until recently. Thanks for letting us know! The guide will be updated to reflect this change.

  3. mariam

    Please recommend the best out of the 10 for a busy computer science university student, I want to be able to freelance parallel to studies and I would like to finish a course of these before the semester starts next September.


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