Best online graphic design courses for students, beginners, artists, creative consultants, digital marketers, content creators, bloggers, and online business owners. These online courses and the guide very helpful to learn basic and advanced graphic design skills and tools that will help you in digital content creation, online marketing, branding, video creations, infographics, photos editing and raster graphics works, jobs, and business.
Graphic Design is creative and artistic skills. You can learn creative and artistic skills by doing the designing work, online graphic design courses, through video tutorials, blogs, and live webinars. But there are thousands of sources and methods to learn graphics design online. It’s tough for many students to choose which one is less costly, less time consuming and more effective to learn graphic design.
That’s why in this in this post, I am sharing with you step by step process to learn graphic design online. I am also sharing the tools, platforms, sources, guides, works and important graphic design skills. And I am 100% sure if you follow any of these online graphic design courses, guides, and methods, you will be able to do any kind of graphic design work, jobs, and business success.
Let’s get started with basic graphic design skills.
Basic Graphic Design Skills or Methods that help:
Basic graphic design skills are not related to the tools. Tools are just the method of making things possible. So, then what are the actual graphic design skills that matter most:
1. Imagination and creativity:
The use of Imagination and creativity are the most powerful tools, methods, and skills that work not only in graphic design but all kinds of inventions and innovations. Imagination is also the source of creativity and the source of imagination and creativity is learning. When you saw the current visual object, layer, data, information, image, graphics or any source with curiosity then you learn. When you see and learn the object with full focus then you imagine (your brain imagines) the next possible drawing, animation, art, editing, typography, advertisement, templates, business card, navigation bar, website banner, and many other things.
Many artists are natural in imagination and they create unique things. The concept of design is very deep and artistic. But today, we see that people imagine less and copy more and mix multiple existed designs to create one design that also creativity. And there are many Artificial Intelligence tools or applications and websites to do it such as online logos, banners, web templates, landing pages, popups, websites, and many other things. In which you just use templates or AI applications just produce the designs from templates. And that’s not effective for the final design, but yes, good for inspirations if there is any.
So, the first thing that is very important in graphic design is imagination and creativity. You have to imagine what kind of product design, User Interface, User Experience you can create. You have to imagine the business card, you have to imagine the logo, you have to imagine each and every graphic before you create that. And you have to improve your imagination and creativity through learning and curiosity and by learning from other designers.
Remember, tools or applications don’t make you a graphic designer. Your imagination and creativity are the most important thing that makes you different. When your imagination is strong then it does not matter which tool do you use.
2. Courage and confidence:
To imagine and create unique, different graphic designs you have to be courageous and confident. Many times, you reject your creative ideas. It happens because you judge your creativity with logic or you care about other things or compare your designs with experts’ designs. And in this process, logics wins and creativity fails. Always remember, you’re unique and you have your own imagination and ideas. No one can compete with you. But you don’t have to copy others instead you can learn. Nor you have to compare your designs with others. Be like the artist and let others judge and provide feedback.
If something is good then it will be liked and appreciated.
So, as a graphic design student and to become successful in the graphic design field, you have to believe in your imagination and creativity and you have to be courageous and confident in your art.
It’s highly possible that your designs will be rejected by people or bosses and clients many times in a single task. But it doesn’t mean your work is not good.
The simple trick for you is this, don’t reject your designs because someone is not liked especially when it’s clients or you’re working under the boss. Keep them to yourself to use later.
3. Sales Skills:
Sales skills are important to become a successful graphics designer. No matter how artistic you’re but if you’re not able to sell your designs, concepts, and creativity then it’s highly possible that you will earn an average income.
What are sales skills in graphic design?
Your designs are the product. And you have to explain (sell) why it’s useful, impactful for the customers of your clients, boss, and mangers.
What happens without sales skills with graphic designers?
A graphic designer will keep designing the object until it’s not liked by the clients. The quality, usefulness depends on the client and boss. Even if she/he doesn’t’ know about the abcd of designs. But still, keep telling the designer that which color suite the most.
It’s possible that something is not good, it means designers will then make the changes. But if someone keeps telling to make 10+ changes in single design then it’s tough.
It happens with those designers, who are unable to convince the ideas behind the designs. It’s possible. That’s why I recommend learning sales skills.
Once you understand the sales it will help you not only to explain your designs effectively but also you will design the things that will sell easily.
4. Use of fonts, size, and typography:
The effective use of fonts in graphics, banners, logos, posters most important graphic design skill. You have to understand what kind of fonts can make an impact and increase engagements in certain objects or designs. Fonts are the face of the text.
Fonts are selected based on the concept, text, and theme.
For example, the font family for the wedding card text will be different in the business card.
The selection of fonts also depends on the use of words in the text.
Following are the two different sentences and they create different emotions:
- Best graphic consulting services. – I will use the Roboto Font family – especially Roboto condensed.
- Learning is fun, enjoy it. – I will use Century Gothic for “learning is fun” and for “enjoy it”, I will use a dancing script.
So, I hope you got the idea of how and why it’s important to learn about fonts and their uses as per the design, theme, text.
Even the selection of fonts will make common text or sentences impactful.
Along with the font family, you also have to learn about the selection of font size. The selection of font size impacts the readability for the audience. Too big or too small and random use of font size and fonts make it difficult for the audience to read the content.
You have to become a master in the use of h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6 heading sizes and normal text.
For bigger heading, you can use h1 and subheadings you can use h2 and h3.
Learn to create and practice fonts and sizes in eBooks, banners, document files, web content, and presentations and for both print and web.
5. Basic and effective use and creation of color palettes:
It can take 3 months to 1 year to become a master in color selection including CSS color palette, Hex, and RGBA. Colors in logos, banners, documents, books, headings, subheadings, letterheads, website navigation bars, menus, advertisements, image backgrounds are very important. That’s why it’s important to learn and practice colors on a variety of objects. So that you can explore the creativity in the highest manner.
In the beginning, you don’t need to go to various variants of colors. You can follow the combination of dark and light (bright) colors. And many times, you can use both colors those are opposite to each other contrast.
For example, Red + Green is not a combination. But through practices with various color variants of both red and green, you can use them both.
Not only that, when using colors, you also have to consider audience interest and field of business. And you can use colors after finding their meanings such as light blue for technology apps or application, dark blue for education, orange for creativity, red for power/passion and many others.
Each color impacts the user differently each day. So, when learning graphic design then also invest more time to learn about colors. And learn to create color plates on your own.
You can also learn to use the colors from nature. For example, analyze the color combination in trees, flowers, land, grass, water, sky, clouds and also learn the various colors, patterns on animals.
In the beginning, just master yourself with a few common colors such as the use of blue and white, light orange and black along with the white smoke background. Not only that you can also learn to create a color palette on your own. There are various color palettes, gradient, RGB, hex color generator on the web.
But if you want to go more organic and natural, you can create color palettes after taking photos of the natural trees, gardens, flowers, fruits and many other physical items. Then you can open that image in photoshop or just open it on the web and then find the color through a color picker. And after that, you can use that color directly into your graphic. It will help you to understand various colors and their impact on the graphic and you will be able to use color effectively.
6. Graphic/Image Background:
White background, blue background, grayscale or smoke white, which is best? you will learn it through practice.
The color, image, pattern in the background help to present the main object in the graphic effectively and efficiently. Especially when you design and retouch eCommerce website images or product images. And the background of the image makes the product, photo and graphic look more beautiful. So also analyze various photos, display, and video advertisements, images, graphics on the web, TV, social media, magazines and newspapers. Then you observe the more ideas you will create in your mind for your next design or project.
Analyze and understand how the colors were used in charts/images/backgrounds/text/size of advertisements and banners in newspapers. Learn how different is scoreboard chart on TV and how they are different when you’re seeing them on mobile and desktop.
You learn graphics designs from experts, professionals, and teachers in the class. That’s ok. But to learn more you can analyze and observe various objects and methods of designing that you use or see in use in your daily life. Such as signboards in the market, number plates in vehicles, sporty stickers in the cars and trucks, the background behind the news anchor in the studio, dress colors of sports players, logos of various companies and organizations and the background colors in the entry of hero and various graphic and animated effects in movies.
When you observe you understand more about graphic design then you will be able to use backgrounds, colors, font family and sizes effectively and creatively.
7. Visual communication skills:
Visual communication is another branch of communication. In graphic design, you communicate with people through creativity, designs, colors, shapes, font sizes, and images.
Not only that but the colors/pattern of your clothes/cars also visual communication about yourself.
So, it’s important that you learn about how to communicate your message through the poster, art, image, graphics.
8. Presentation skills:
You have created a great design. And you sent it for the checking to the client. But after an hour or 2 days clients sayings that the colors are not looking correct. The fonts are too small. And please change the font family.
Now the client is looking for changes in designs. While you know that it’s correct. But the problem is in the presentation.
If you’re presenting a light color designed logo in a thin font family in the white background then it’s tough to read and identifies the concept.
The solution is that you have to learn presentation skills. How do you present your designs that impact the client and customers to like it or not?
Search on google for design presentations. And see the images. You will get the ideas about how designs are presented by the designers and creative agencies. And test them by removing their background. And then you will find that without the correct color combination and patterns in the backgrounds the design looks very common.
Important graphic design tools/Programs/Platforms:
The demand for digital content is rising. While I am writing this post there are 4417008625 internet users according to the https://www.internetlivestats.com/ using the internet. And 90% of them are consuming, creating, distributing digital content. All kinds of digital content need graphics, colors, fonts, shapes. Without graphics, there will be no existence for content.
Internet users consume content like food and that’s why it’s more than important that content looks new, fresh, creative, unique and turn a prospect into the lead.
So, to generate leads, to produce digital content and to market or promote business online, graphic and graphic design tools play the biggest role. Graphic design tool makes it possible to convert imagination and creativity into an object, product, image, banner, poster, and templates.
And due to that, there are various graphic design web and desktop applications that are in use to create digital content, branding, information and marketing material.
Following are graphic design program/application or tool in which you can become master:
1. Adobe Photoshop:
Adobe Photoshop is one of the oldest software for raster graphics, photo editing, logo design, website template design works that are developed and marketed by Adobe Inc. and it’s in the use since 1988.
Adobe Photoshop is not only software but today it’s one of the biggest tools that helping thousands of people online and offline to create digital content and earn a living.
What you can do in Adobe Photoshop?
The use of any software is not based on why it is created, but the use depends on how someone uses those functions, programs creatively. The use is more than our imaginations. But the following are the common things:
- You create and design a website logo.
- You can create website banners, templates, menus, icons.
- You can design and create eBook cover pages.
- You edit any kind of graphics and photos.
- You can use it for photo editing, retouch and color correction.
- You can change image backgrounds.
- You can create featured images for blog posts.
- You can create a wedding and birthday posters.
- You can create quotes images.
- You can create YouTube, Facebook, twitter thumbnails, and banner images.
- You can create background texture and patterns.
- You can design landing pages, websites, apps.
- You can use it to create CSS color palettes from the photos.
and many others.
Learn more: Uses of Adobe Photoshop in Our Daily Life
Following are the top YouTube channels and free videos to learn Adobe Photoshop:
Following are online courses that I think will be very helpful for you to learn adobe photoshop and various graphic design skills:
2. Affinity designer: –
Affinity designer is one of the popular vector graphics editors. It’s the easiest and low-cost graphic design software in the market. If you want to start learning graphic design then start with affinity publishing software. And it’s also best for those who are not able to pay subscription cost of adobe creative cloud.
It’s very lightweight graphic design software and this will not make your laptop and computer slow. There are three variants that you can use in affinity designers such as Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, Affinity Publishing.
Here you can learn https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/learn/ free video tutorials/training provided by affinity designer. So that you can be creative, effective and professional in all kinds of graphic design works through affinity designer.
Following are the videos and YouTube channel to learn affinity designer:
- Affinity Designer
- Basics of affinity designer
But if you want to stand out from the crow in graphic design work and want to communicate your message through the designs that are readable, visually appealing and good looking then learn and get skilled in affinity designer.
So that you can combine your creativity with tools to create stunning digital content for your business, clients. For that in mind, I think following online courses can be very helpful to learn and become skilled in Affinity Designer:
3. Adobe Illustrator
Adobe illustrator is another popular and very valuable vector graphics creator and editor software. It’s similar to Affinity Designer.
Adobe illustrator used to create, design and edit graphics, digital content, website and software icons, logos, apps icons, drawing, sketches, books cover pages, eCommerce website product images, templates, artistic work, typography, and various other digital and print materials. You can do similar works in affinity designer, adobe photoshop as well. But vectors graphics are more useful on the web than a jpeg or static designs.
Following are the online courses to learn Adobe illustrator skills:
But if you want to learn for free or more then the following resources will be helpful:
4. Adobe InDesign
Adobe InDesign is one of the popular graphic design applications for desktop publishing, print,, and digital content. You can create movies poster & ars, events/seminars posters, you can create business and product flyers and brochures, you can create and design magazines, books, and newspapers. And you can also use to create presentations, newsletters, and social media or display advertisements.
Following are the online courses to learn Adobe InDesign skills:
IF you want to get just ideas about Adobe Indesign, then the following videos will be helpful for you:
5. Corel Draw
Corel draw is another popular and oldest vector graphics editor. You can find it in almost all printing press offices. It is been used to create and design books, notes, notebooks, bill books, marriage cards, business cards, degree and diploma certificates, advertisement leaflets, coupon cards, packing designs, carry bag design and almost all kind of printed material that you can touch can be designed in Corel Draw. And you can also use or edit your Microsoft windows paint files (bitmap images) in Corel draw.
I suggest that if you learn to use Corel Draw only in this list then it’s enough for you to get a good job within a few months and days. But for the combination of Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, Illustrator will be good in the first 3 months.
Following are the online courses I think will be helpful for you to become skilled in Corel Draw:
If you want to watch free video tutorials to learn Corel draw:
6. Some of other best online graphic design courses and skills:
The list is big, it will never end. But at least you have to start your career in the graphic design field with few tools.
If you can’t afford these graphics design applications right now, then you can also use online graphic design software for free or through low subscription fees and as per your work.
Few other things to remember:
- Knowledge of Cloud Storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive) is also helpful.
- Knowledge of image file extensions such as .psd, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .cdr and many others.
- Also, improve your graphic design vocabulary. Each profession has its own words and phrases. Such as banners, icons, vector, blur, layer, crop, raster, dimension, pixel, RGB, hex, wave, format, pattern, texture, and many other words. Once you learn these and many other words related to designs, it will help you to communicate with clients, bosses. And also help you in interviews and explaining your knowledge and skills.
When you’re seeing this graphic design tools and applications then one thing is very important for you to understand is that these tools are not a fixed graphic design tool. It can be 10 tools. But it doesn’t’ mean you have to learn all. But if you know all then great.
I mean it’s possible that you’re an expert in adobe illustrator, but your client or company is using affinity designer for vector graphics.
Similarly, if you’re skilled in Adobe Photoshop to create logos, but then your client/boss wants to create it in Corel Draw.
This is a problem actually freelancers face the more. So my suggestion for you is that you have to start with one tool and have to become a master in that and after a few months or experiences then you can start practicing and using another graphic tool. And you can choose any one of these graphic applications that suit you best as per the cost and time.
But remember it’s not necessary to learn all or to use all these applications. And it’s not mandatory to use these graphic design tools. If you are skilled, talented and creative, you can create a logo, banners in PowerPoint and Google drawing as well. But to become more professional and compete with other graphic design agencies you have to pay for professional functionality and to speed up the designing and collaboration.
List of graphic design exercises ideas to learn and practice:
- See and observe all the advertisements on TV, Social Media, Websites, Newspapers and magazines then try to design them. It will help you to become skilled and educated in designing advertisements. Try to create at least 50 advertisements.
- See movie posters on walls and on the web, then try to create them through your own images. This will help and improve your photo editing skills. Design at least 30+ posters to become skilled in photo editing.
- Visit eCommerce or shopping sites and see how the products are presented. Learn to create similar product images. And try to do photo retouch, background removal, color correction. Try to design almost all kinds of product images such as bottles, chargers, books, mobile phones, clothes, shoes and all kinds of fashion, entertainment and daily needs products. You can design and practice at least 100+ product images. It will help you to design and become skilled in eCommerce product designing works.
- Search on Google for creative photoshop images. Get inspiration and then use your own personal photo or other images and then create creative designs. The more you practice the more you become interested in learning graphic design.
- Visit the freelancing website, and watch the graphic design projects. Try to create them for practice. It will help you not only to understand graphic design projects but also help you learn and use specific graphic design skills.
- When you see in an attractive and well-designed website, then try to create that for practice and sample. Do at least 50 mockups.
Always see things with curiosity and then think, how I can design this. And try to follow the above ideas similarly in logos, banners, posters, wireframes, apps icons, layouts, and templates. I am 200% sure that if you practice your skills, creativity on the existed materials, it will make you skilled, professional in graphic design. And also, if you learning graphic design on your own then it’s just that you should practice the same skills that you’re learning online. Create the same graph that you’re watching in the video tutorials. And practice a single design more than 2-3 times.
How to Learn Graphic Design Online Step by Step
The first thing you can try is by watching video tutorials on YouTube.
Select any graphic design tool that you want to learn. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW are best to start.
Once you have created at least 50 designs through learning through free video tutorials. Then you can start doing a particular course. It will help you understand more advanced tricks and methods of graphic designs faster.
After learning adobe photoshop, adobe illustrator and CorelDraw. You will be able to use any kind of graphic design tool. It will take 6 months to 1 year to become skilled in all these graphic design programs. But you can do it faster. For that, you have to learn more and practice. And have to create at least 500+ graphics while you watching video tutorials and learning from online courses.
Why learn graphic design skills?
Graphic design is a creative field. which means each day you need new ideas for the next project. You can’t design the same type of logo for 50 companies. Each company’s demand is different. And not only that you have to stand out from the competition. And it will make you a unique and successful graphic designer.
So, if you like creativity, if you like creation, inventions, innovation, discoveries, if you like excitements, colors, shapes, typography then graphic design field is best suited for you.
The demand for digital content is on the rise. Not only you can do jobs after graphic design skills, but you can also start your own online business.
What are the scopes for entrepreneurship and business?
You can start various types of online business. Each online, offline company, eCommerce website, app, digital marketing agencies, blog website needs graphic, branding and marketing content all the time.
The demand is growing from the last 2 decades more than ever. It will be triple in the next 10 years.
Not only businesses and companies need graphics, but all the users on the web consume digital content. The digital content without graphics is like tea without sugar.
Following types of business that you can start after learning graphic design skills:
- Provide graphic design services as a freelancer.
- Sell your designs on your own website.
- Provide specific services such as logo design, poster design, photo editing, website designs etc.
- You can also create and run bogs related to any specific graphic design skill.
- You can start a graphic design-related affiliate marketing business.
- You can start a YouTube channel in which you teach and educate other people with graphic design skills.
- You can inspire people by creating artistic graphic works in videos.
There are thousands of people already doing similar businesses and jobs online. And you can try and test your own idea.
Challenges in Graphic Design Business, Jobs and works:
There is no field IT and business in which you don’t find challenges and obstacles. There are also many challenges that you will face before becoming a successful graphic designer such as:
- You have to compete for works with other experts and agencies. You can defeat this challenge through your own creativity, price and sample work.
- You have to pay subscription fees to use popular graphic design software such as the creative cloud. But you can defeat this challenge by using low-cost solutions, by getting more work, by raising your price and solutions.
- You will need lots of images. For that, you have to pay to use stock images. But you can use your mobile phone/camera to capture the various kind of images.
- You have to deal with low paying clients. You can handle this by explaining the cost to the client. And also if the client has more work, then you can lower down your rates.
- Lack of consistent works. There are lots of people in the graphic design field and many are not getting high paying clients or 100000+ priced projects. In that case, you can pay for advertising.
Top things you can consider to become successful in the graphic design field:
- You have to do marketing and have to sell your designs and skills. And you have to do it daily for at least 2 hours.
- Select the project/clients who help you to achieve your financial and professional goals.
- Manage your time effectively.
- Do each day a different thing related to graphic design.
- Try to create at least two income sources. Get paid for works from clients. And 2nd build your own website, YouTube, affiliate marketing, online course, and any other passive income stream.
- Don’t rely too much on a single client and a single method of marketing. Always feel hunger to get more clients and get more work done.
How you can learn graphic design skills fast?
Create and practice at least 500+ graphic designs or samples while doing online courses, watching video tutorials on YouTube and while observing other people’s designs. Set to create a minimum of 5 designs each day and within a few months, you will be ready to work.
What kind of works you will get as a graphics designer:
You will get a variety of works such as:
- You will get photos in which you have to remove the background.
- You will get work to design logos and icons.
- You will get works from digital marketing agencies to design a website banner.
- You will get works from bloggers to create infographics and featured images.
- You will get work from people to design birthday cards, wedding cards, and business cards.
- You will get works from Ecommerce website owners /Amazon sellers to edit and design product images.
- You will get work to design event posters and marketing material.
- You will get work to design movie posters.
- You will get works to design events logos.
You will get works from all over the world, but more and good works from Australia, Singapore, USA. And you will be able to learn a good income. That you save and invest in other things.
But one thing you have to remember is that never gives up based on others’ thoughts. Talk to experts and professionals whenever you get doubts and problems.
If you want to know more let me know.
Hi, my name is Vijay Sharma and I am a freelance IT consultant.
I like to write and share useful, practical, professional tips, insights, data, information, and experiences here that are focused to grow and enhance your personal and organizational IT capabilities.
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