Top 10 Affordable Graphic Design Online Courses

Have you been searching for affordable graphic design online courses to kick-start your designing career? Or you’ve been looking for a comprehensive course to fine-tune your designing knowledge? You’re at the right place.

In this article, we’ll reveal to you detailed graphic design online courses you can take, no matter your level. As a beginner, you will find one or two courses in this list that will give you the necessary fundamental guides. Even as an intermediate designer, there are courses here that will propel you to a level you never imagined.

But before we go into the courses proper, let us understand what graphic designing is and what it takes to be a pro designer.

What Is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is a creative art that uses images, texts, motion images and videos to communicate to an audience. You can also see it as visual communication.

It is an art that requires the combinations of words, shapes, images, color, etc. to create a product that is attractive to the eyes.

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Types Of Graphic Design

User Interface Design

A user interface (UI) is that point of connection between a user and a computer, website or application. The user interface design of a website determines to a great extent the level of engagement the website will receive.

A very responsive and appealing design will always be preferred by users. A good UI needs to be responsive, simple and easy to navigate

Visual Communication

A visual communication design is a form of graphic design used to create a strong brand identity. Here, graphics like business logos, fliers, and typographies are created.

The aim is to communicate, educate and inform the target audience using those visuals. 

Web Design

In this form of design, the focus is on the layout and appearance of a website. Things like how the texts appear (fonts), the image positioning and alignment, the format and responsiveness of the drop-down menus, etc. are what web designers are tasked with. 

Motion Graphic Design

Motion graphics design is that form of graphic design where images, texts, and other graphic objects are set in motion. It simply means putting graphics in motion. Animations, TV title sequences are clear examples. 

Publication Design

Newspaper layouts, magazines, product catalogs, brochures, newsletters and even books are typical examples of publication designs.

The graphic designers here focus on producing aesthetically looking publication. They create layouts that are not only appealing, but maximizes space too.

Product Design

This refers to the art of creating product models and designs that meets customers’ needs and expectations. Here, the designer makes prototypes and iterations until he achieves the desired design.

How Much Do Graphics Designers Earn?

Graphic Designers make from $28,300 to $97,700. The median salary of graphic designers is estimated to be around $53,380.

Career In Graphics Designing

As a graphic designer, you can work as an in-house staff in the creative department of companies. Or open a creative agency where companies contract their creative requirements to you.  You can as well work as a freelance designer and make your living right from the comfort of your room. 

Tools Used By Graphic Designers

The tools used by graphic designers are in two categories:

  • Hardware and
  • Software tools.

Hardware Tools:

  • Pen and Paper
  • Computer
  • Graphics tablet
  • Smartphone
  • Camera
  • Storage
  • Monitor calibrator

Software Tools:

  • Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, illustrator, Premiere Pro, InDesign)
  • CorelDRAW
  • Affinity Photo
  • macOS-exclusive Sketch
  • Canva
  • Snappa
  • Design Wizard
  • Cloud Storage
  • Graphics Repositories like Behance, Shutterstock, Pixabay etc

You’ll find these courses useful as a graphic designer:

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Free And Affordable Graphics Design Online Courses

1. Design Thinking: Ideation, Iteration and Communication – edX

Access: Free (Optional Upgrade available)

Completion Time: 6 Weeks (8-12 hours per week)

Curriculum Level: Open to All

Every solution begins with an idea. Then it goes through several iterations until a satisfactory result is achieved.

This course on Design Thinking is offered by Rochester Institute of Technology and handled by Principal Lecturer, Mike Johansson.  Mike will walk you through the process of creating the perfect solution to every problem. The art of creative design is solution driven.

In this course, you will learn the design-thinking process that produces amazing results. You will also learn how to choose an appropriate visualization technique to present your ideas. Mike will discuss with you the graphic best practices for communicating your ideas.

You’ll get an in-depth explanation on the ideation techniques below and when to use each one.

  • Brainstorming
  • Mind Mapping
  • Role Playing
  • Storyboarding
  • Concept sketching
  • Model making
  • Strategic idea mapping

Take the course here

2. Graphic Design Bootcamp: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign – Udemy

Access: $40

Completion Time: Approximately 16 hours

Curriculum Level: Beginners

If you’ve been looking for a project-based graphic design course suitable for beginners, then this is for you.

In this course, you have a lifetime access to approximately 16 hours on-demand videos on graphic design. The instructor, Derrick Mitchell, will teach you how to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to create both print and web designs.

Reviews from over 113,000 students who have taken this course shows the wealth of value you’ll be getting. You’re sure to develop the skills and confidence it requires to work in the creative industry.

Though no prior design knowledge is required, having a good understanding of how to use a computer will make it easier for you to learn. Also, you’re required to have access to the Adobe Creative Suite. The major software required are Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

Most importantly, you have to have the desire to learn. Most often than not, a strong desire is what sets apart the great achievers from the mid-level players.

Below are the topics mike discussed in this course:

  • Print and Web Projects with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign
  • Typography and color usage
  • Making Composite Images with Photoshop
  • File Packaging and exportation
  • EBook design using InDesign
  • Setting up a Logo Mood Board
  • Product presentation to Clients

You can access the course from here

3. Fundamentals of Graphic Design – Coursera

Access: Free Audit. Certificate comes with a fee

Completion Time: Approximately 15 hours

Curriculum Level: Beginners

The instructor Michael Worthington of the California Institute of the Arts made a strong promise in this course. He promised that you will not be watching boring videos of someone talking about design in this course. Rather, you will walk the path of creative designing by following the practical illustrations given in this course to make your first design.

He promises to teach you, through visual examples, the fundamental principles of graphic design. From image-making to typography, to composition, color and shape combination, you will get your hands dirty with exercises and practical projects while learning.

The course is loaded with lots of value and directions to propel you from a complete beginner to a creative designer with a robust portfolio. This will be made possible through the topics outlined here:

Course Overview

  • Fundamentals of Image-making
  • Fundamentals of Typography
  • Fundamentals of Shape and Color
  • Fundamentals of Composition
  • Extra resources for continuing your graphic design studies

Click here to take the course

4. Branding: The Creative Journey Specialization – Coursera

Access: Free

Completion Time: 5 Months (2 hours per week)

Curriculum Level: Beginners

In this course, the instructors of IE Business School presents you a complete branding toolkit. You will learn everything there is to learn about branding. From the point of understanding what a brand means and how to build a successful one to brand promotion and strategies.

Branding doesn’t just stop at designing logos, fliers and other visual contents. It goes beyond that, to the point of producing memorable contents through quality storytelling. It also entails assessing branding activities from the perspective of the customers.

All these and more will be taught by the four awesome instructors assigned to this specialization. Maria Eizaguire Dieguez (Marketing and Branding Professor), Pedro Cifuentes Huertas (Branded Content and Journalism Professor), Brian Hallert (Visual Communication and Branded Content Professor), and Michael Thompson (Customer Experience Professor) are the key instructors in this course. Below are the topics discussed:

  • Brand Identity and Strategy
  • Storytelling in Branding and Content Marketing
  • From Brand to Image: Creating High Impact Campaigns That Tell Brand Stories
  • Branding and Customer Experience

Take the course here

5. Design and Make Infographics (Project Centered Course) – Coursera

Access: Free

Completion Time: Approximately 9 hours

Curriculum Level: Intermediate

In this project-based course, you will learn to create quality infographics using Adobe Illustrator. The instructor will take you through the journey of making your first infographic.

You will learn to plan and sketch the layout, create charts, make a map and finally assemble them into an infographic.

The instructor, Karl Gude of Michigan State University, will teach you to design an infographic from start to finish through these topics:

  • Plan and layout an infographic
  • Make a chart
  • Make a map
  • Make an infographic

You can access the course here

6. Graphic Design Masterclass Intermediate: The NEXT Level – Udemy

Access: $40

Completion Time: 17 hours

Curriculum Level: intermediate

Taught by Lindsay Marsh, the Next Level Graphic Design Masterclass is structured to teach you how to produce complex photo manipulations, a typography only poster and the advanced usage of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.  You will also learn to build a strong graphic design portfolio. And sketch logo design and concepts with ease.

You will also study the Golden Ration and how to create a graphic illustration with it.

The Graphic Design Masterclass does this by introducing you to the following topics:

  • Creating effective Highlights & Shadows on mockups
  • Create a Dynamic Seamless Instagram Carousel Post
  • The guide to Print Design
  • Logo Design Presentation
  • Mastering Isometric Grids
  • Portfolio building
  • Creating a magazine Front Cover and Article Spread
  • Create Compelling Infographics
  • Create a Poster using only Typography
  • How to Price your freelance projects
  • The Legal Side of Design

7. Professional Logo Design In Adobe Illustrator – Udemy

Access: Free

Completion Time: Approximately 7 hours

Curriculum Level: Advanced (a good understanding of Adobe Illustrator is required)

There is a reason Rawson Uddin (the instructor) focused the entire course content on logo design. Logos are the first point of brand identification. They create a visual representation of the entire brand. A logo is what your customer pictures in his mind when your brand is mentioned.

In this course, Rawson explains in detail the components and techniques used to make the most successful logos. He does this by deconstructing an already designed logo. Separating it parts by parts and explaining the different components present and the impact they made in the final outcome.

At the end of this course, you will learn to create logos in color, black and white, and in different other formats.

The over 278,000 students who have taken this course can’t be wrong with their positive reviews. A good number of them has said they designed their first logo completely from the lesson learned in this course. And they’ve gone ahead to design professional logos for their clients.

You, too, can have the same experience as them by simply clicking here to take the course. To understand further what you’ll learn in this course, here are topics:

  • Choosing the right typeface
  • Designing with simple shapes
  • Adding shine, texture, beveled edges, and transparency
  • Designing with negative space
  • Choosing logo colors
  • Preparing final files

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8. Create and Design Digital Products using Canva – Coursera

Access: Free

Completion Time: 2 hours

Curriculum Level: Advanced

Digital products like eBooks, journals, digital courses are in high demand. This course will walk you through the entire process of creating and designing digital products using color schemes, images and other design elements.

Stacey Shanklin-Langford will introduce you to the diverse world of creative product design using one of the World’s leading drag-and-drop design platforms – Canva.

You’ll learn to protect your designs using watermarks and other digital protection tips revealed in the course. You’ll also learn strategic ways to present your product designs to land clients easily.   

Here are the things you will learn:

  • Create a workbook template
  • Set up an eBook cover
  • Create a journal template
  • Protect product designs
  • Prepare your designs to sell using watermarks

Here is a quick access link to the course.

9. Graphic Design Basics – Canva Design School

Access: Free

Completion Time: approximately 30 minutes

Curriculum Level: Beginners

What better platform to learn design from than a platform fully dedicated for designing? The Canva Design School curated this course to teach you how to make use of its platform effectively.

You’ll learn the principles of graphic designing. These principles are applicable everywhere, no matter the software or program you’re using. The lessons in this course are broken down into short video series. This is to help you concentrate better and assimilate. Ultimately, the goal is to make it easy for you to follow through with the hands-on practices presented in the course.

You can click here to take a look at the video series and start taking your design lessons now.

10. User Interface Design and Implementation – MIT

Access: Free

Completion Time: 13 weeks (26 sections in all)

Curriculum Level: intermediate

Coming from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), this course offers to immerse you in the world of human-computer interaction. The course covers a range of interesting topics on User Interface design and implementation. Starting from human capabilities to design principles, prototyping techniques, evaluation techniques, and the implementation of graphical user interfaces.

The instructor Robert Miller presents you with a wide range of practical projects and assignments to horn your skills with. Below are the topics discussed:

  • Usability
  • Learnability
  • Visibility
  • Efficiency
  • Errors and user control
  • User-centered design
  • Task analysis
  • Generating designs
  • User Interface (UI) software architecture
  • Layout
  • Output
  • Input
  • User testing
  • Controlled experiments
  • Experiment analysis
  • Web-scale research methods
  • Prototyping
  • Graphic design
  • Information visualization
  • Color design and typography
  • Accessibility internalization
  • Animation
  • Heuristic evaluation
  • Input/Output technology
  • Mobile User interfaces

Click here to be redirected to the course platform

Conclusion

In this article is an amazing collection of graphic design online courses you can easily access. This is one of the numerous benefits of the internet.

From the comfort of your home, you can move from being a complete novice to competing with experts in any field of your choice. All it requires is the zeal, an internet connection and a roadmap to follow.

The roadmap to graphic design mastery is what you will access in one or two of the graphic design online courses presented here.

By the time you’re done reading this article, you won’t just have access to the best affordable graphic design courses online. You will also get a clear understanding of what is required of you as a graphic designer and tools needed to excel as one.

Frequently Asked Questions on Graphic Design 

Can I Learn Graphics Designing By Myself?

Yes, you can learn graphic design by yourself. Just like in every other skill, all you need is the desire, dedication and a roadmap to follow.
That is why I recommend you take one of the graphic design online courses listed in this article. With that, you will have a fundamental knowledge of graphics and know where to go from there.

Can I Become A Graphics Designer Without A Degree?

You can become a graphic designer without a degree. That is one of the numerous benefits of the graphic design courses available online. All you need is to learn to design efficiently, build a graphic design portfolio and pitch to clients who would need your services.

Can I Learn Graphics Design In 3 Months?

You can learn the basics of graphic design in 3 months. However, three months is too short to get you to the mastery level you might be aspiring to get to. That would require prolonged learning and practical experience.

Can I Become A Graphics Designer If I Can’t Draw?

You do not need to know how to draw to become a graphic designer. With basic sketching skills and understanding of graphics, you can be an expert graphic designer.

How Do Beginners Learn Graphics Design?

To learn graphic design as a beginner, here are the steps you need to follow:
Have passion for the craft
Learn principles and rules of designing
Enroll in a course
Master the tools used in designing
Get a mentor
Network with other designers
Practice until you feel confident. 

Where Can I Get Free Graphic Designing Courses With Certificates?

Coursera offers graphic design courses with certificates. However, they are not free. You can learn some courses for free. But if you need a certificate, you would be required to pay a certain amount of money.

Are Graphics Designers In High Demand?

Graphic designers are in high demand. This is because the world is becoming more and more digital. Businesses are building a strong digital presence. For them to stand out amongst their competitors, they need strong visual communications. That is the role of graphic designers. 

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