Top 5 Graphic Design Courses
Learn how to start a graphic design career, including necessary skills and average salary. Discover five of the top graphic design courses.
Graphic designers create original art for businesses, primarily used for advertising purposes. Graphic designers use several different tools to create art. In 2022, the majority of graphic designers use computers to create digital images. In addition to advertising campaigns, graphic designers are also hired to create art for websites.
Succeeding as a graphic designer requires more than art skills. You must be able to communicate with your clients, taking their wishes and feedback and tweaking your projects to match their designs. Creativity is important, but you must understand the market to create art appropriate for their marketing trends. All of the skills you need to succeed as a graphic designer are taught at graphic design courses. While you can get a full degree in graphic design, there are shorter certification and bootcamp classes available to teach you the basics and begin your career.
Examples of Graphic Design Work
With many businesses making a shift to online stores, graphic design is largely focused on digital art. However, there are still plenty of businesses that need a graphic designer for physical artwork. The responsibilities vary from project to project. In most cases, graphic designers are not responsible for coming up with ideas. However, many clients will present their initial idea and ask for advice, sometimes presenting multiple variants to choose from. For example, a client may present several images with different colored backgrounds, asking which one goes best with the color scheme of their existing website.
Some projects are small, such as designing a website banner or creating a company logo. For physical art, you may be asked to create a company brochure or design a business card. Larger projects include creating graphics for presentations, designing a new website layout or even creating a billboard advertisement.
While graphic designers often work alone on smaller projects, you may be hired as part of a team for larger designs. In some cases, you work directly alongside a graphic design team. Other times, you and the other graphic designers are all given individual assignments which are then combined into a final project.
Most graphic designers work on a per project basis, but some larger companies will keep a graphic design team on retainer. As with other freelancer careers, the average salary of a graphic designer can greatly vary depending on how many projects they take and the nature of each project. According to data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average pay of graphic designers is steadily increasing, largely due to the number of businesses looking to market online. Based on the latest data, the average yearly salary for a graphic designer is around $50,000 to $60,000.
Online vs. In-Person Graphic Design Courses
When considering graphic design courses, an important decision is whether you take classes in-person or online. Online classes are often more convenient, since you can find a class that fits your schedule. Unlike with a traditional degree program, online classes also vary in length, providing even more flexibility. However, online classes often have limited interaction with other students and teachers. If you learn better through direct interaction, or have a hard time with self-motivation, in-person classes may be a better option. Many colleges and universities provide graphic design courses, both as part of a degree program and as independent courses.
Udemy Graphic Design Bootcamp
Udemy is one of the first online schools. Unlike online colleges, it does not focus on degree programs. Instead, it runs shorter classes to help students learn the basics of their chosen profession. There are over 150,000 courses available, including several graphic design classes. Each of the classes focuses on a specific program, with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign being the most popular. Each of the courses is taught by Derrick Mitchell, an experienced graphic design artist and professor, responsible for many other online graphic design tutorials. The coursework consists of on-demand video lectures, written articles and downloadable project resources. The main areas of the classes focus on making logo’s, designing typography, how to properly use colors and even advice for marketing your services as a graphic designer. As of writing, the courses, which includes lifetime access to the material, costs $149.99.
Another popular online class platform is Skillshare. Skillshare offers a wider range of classes, but when the website was first launched, it primarily focused on computer programming and graphic design. Today, there are classes for Adobe products, Illustrator, Affinity Designer, InDesign and other popular programs. The classes range in length and complexity. Shorter classes are designed for beginners, but longer programs are available for experienced students. The flexibility in classes is welcomed by many graphic design students, since their areas of expertise can so greatly vary. Skillshare has options no matter what your profession is. Skillshare offers a free membership, but many of the advanced classes require a paid membership, with Skillshare offering a variety of different tiered subscriptions.
Coursera is another highly ranked online education platform. While it is not as large as some of the other online programs, it has a larger focus on computers, including graphic designs. The courses were developed by Stanford professors who previously taught computer science. Coursera is partnered with many universities, offering beginner courses in both graphic design and print arts. As of writing, there are over 70 programs for both beginner and intermediate students. In addition to design work, the courses cover how to launch a graphic design business, how to lead a graphic design team and even some of the history of graphic design. All the courses are available based on a Coursera subscription, which currently costs $49 each month.
Become a Graphic Designer
Become a Graphic Designer is a selection of courses offered through LinkedIn Learning. While it is advertised as a single program, the coursework is made up of multiple classes taught by different professors, including several who spent years working as graphic designers. There are also lessons and lectures available from current graphic designers, ensuring all the information is relevant and up to date. The majority of the classes focus on learning the basics of graphic design and how to use different programs, but there is also a focus on designing a resume and portfolio and how to market yourself as a freelance graphic designer. LinkedIn Learning has several subscription options, including a free 30-day trial with no content limitations.
UX Designer Nanodegree
The UX Designer Nanodegree program is one of the most unique courses for graphic designers. The program is intended for designers who already know the software, but are having trouble launching their own business. The class still touches on design concepts, but there is a greater focus on networking, teaming up with other artists and how to convert physical art into a digital portfolio. The program is available through Udacity. Some of the courses are available for free, while others require a subscription, based on the overall length of the course.