10 Free Graphic Design Courses For Professionals & Beginners

Looking for great free graphic design courses? Look no further! Here are 10 awesome courses that will help you brush up your graphic design skills.

Graphic Design
Graphic Design

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Get better at design with these free online courses. Earn a certificate to help you get your next gig, or simply learn how to design better marketing visuals for your business.

Becoming a professional designer takes years of training and, sometimes, a formal degree in graphic design. However, it’s perfectly possible to create visually appealing designs, even without a university degree or even reading lengthy design books.

If you’re a small business owner or starting out as a graphic designer, it’s best to focus on marketing design courses. Marketing design is a vast field that encompasses many design projects, from social media to website design and branding. For that reason, it could be said that learning marketing design is basically learning graphic design. 

However, you should always check exactly what do you learn in a graphic design course. If you don’t know anything about it, the course should cover graphic design basics to help you get started.

Here are some of the best free graphic design courses that can help you design better visuals. 

Best graphic design courses for professionals

Here are some of the best advanced courses perfect for marketing designers or those looking to get their foot in this field. Of course, if you want to become a better marketing designer, you might want to consider taking a marketing or perhaps a social media marketing course instead.

However, for the purposes of this list, we’ll stick to design-focused courses for people that either have some basic design skills or want to learn graphic design in order to become a professional designer.

CalArts Graphic Design Specialization

This free course is offered by the California Institute of Arts through Coursera. It covers some of the fundamentals of graphic design as well as a look at the history of design and ideas you might want to apply to contemporary projects.

Although the course is beginner-friendly, the course material offers a strong focus on design theory. So it might be more useful for someone looking to start a career as a graphic designer, rather than create some ad hoc graphics.

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Designing 4 Advertisements in a Series

If you’re not a total beginner, this course is a course that will use a use case to explain the process of designing ads in Adobe Illustrator and cover some of the most important decisions you have to make as a design, such as the placement of the CTA or use of contrast to make an ad eye-catching but not overbearing. It’s a great course for people looking to master visual communication in a professional context.

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Online Graphic Design Course

While there are plenty of courses that can help you brush up your skills or learn the basics, there aren’t quite as many that allow you to earn a certificate which will be a great addition to your design portfolio, when applying for graphic design jobs.

This course from Shaw Academy allows you to take the course for free with their limited free trial offer. The course content covers the basic principles as well as all the core skills you need to have as a professional designer. One of the modules includes brochure design, which can be helpful for applying for a role as a marketing designer.

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Social Media Mastery

If you want to become a marketing designer, there’s no way of avoiding social media! Perhaps you’re a skilled logo designer, but to be able to master designing for social media you will need to learn a slightly different approach.

This Canva course covers the theory behind designing for social media (goals setting and finding a style), as well as practical skills such as video editing. It’s only about 30 minutes long, so it in no way is a comprehensive course on the topic. But if you want to get into the mindset of a social media marketing designer, be sure to check it out.

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Facebook Ad Creative

This is actually a combination of 5 different courses that cover different aspects of creating ads on Facebook: from optimizing for mobile to stories. It’s a terrific course for graphic designers who want to learn the ins and outs of Facebook ads.

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Free graphic design courses for beginners

Want to learn the basics and start creating useful visuals for your business in no time? Then some of these great free courses are definitely worth checking out.

Beginners Guide to Graphic Design Without Paid Software

If you’re a business owner doing your own design, this online course is definitely one to bookmark! Although a professional designer needs professional software, if you simply want to tweak existing templates or make simple visuals, a free version can still do wonders.

So, what do you learn in a graphic design course like this? The course teaches you how to create graphic design (including video editing) in several programs including Canva, an app called Typorama, Google’s AutoDraw, RawShot (video editing and animations) and Preview (photo editing software available for Mac computers). 

It’s not as detailed as some of the other graphic design courses online. However, it’s a great starting point for those looking to master simple DIY design.

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Adobe Photoshop CS6 Essential Tools

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most well-known graphic design software, but you can often hear that it has a steep learning curve. This is probably true. If you’ve only ever used intuitive drag-and-drop alternatives, getting to grips with Photoshop can be a bit of a challenge.

Luckily this free online course covers all the essential tools of Photoshop. If your marketing assets use photographs, this course is a great way to learn how to improve their quality and make them look professional even if they weren’t done by a professional photographer.

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Adobe Illustrator for Beginners

Whether you’ve never used Illustrator or tried to and got overwhelmed, this course is right for you. You will learn the basics of working in this all-time favorite program for creating vector graphics, including skills like drawing and creating patterns.

You’ll also learn how to create and manipulate different design elements such as text, shapes, lines and icons.

There are many graphic design courses online focusing on different software. However, Illustrator is probably the best tool you can master, thanks to its range of options and possibilities for creating versatile marketing graphics.

And, since Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator come from the same family of software, it’ll be a lot easier to master Photoshop with subsequently.

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Canva for Beginners

When you think of DIY design, the first thing that probably comes to mind is Canva. This beautiful and fund drag-and-drop web app allows you to create anything from social media posts to presentations and even web design! You can choose from hundreds of their free and paid templates, or design something from scratch.

Canva is very easy and intuitive to use, but if you would like to use it to its full potential, then you should definitely check out this course. Aside from the basics, you’ll learn about Canva’s more advanced features such as collaborative design process and audio and video editing.

It’s one of the best marketing graphic design courses you can find, since Canva has an awesome library of marketing templates, and handy features like publishing directly to your social media.

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Introduction to Graphic Design

There are plenty of similar graphic design courses online that are similar to this one; for example, Udemy has a great one, however, you would have to pay for it.

For a free version, we suggest you check out this course available on LinkedIn. You’ll be introduced to basic design principles and get a hands-on perspective of working with programs like Photoshop and InDesign.

This is a great type of course for entrepreneurs and business owners to take, not just as a way of bettering your DIY marketing graphics. One day, when you can perhaps afford to hire a professional designer, knowing the basics can make the collaboration and design process a lot easier and smoother.

This is a great type of course for entrepreneurs and business owners to take, not just as a way of bettering your DIY marketing graphics. Basic graphic design training will help you collaborate with designers better and provide better feedback.

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Final word

If you’ve been googling “how much are graphic design courses”, we hope this puts your worries to rest.

There are many great free graphic design courses online, and this is by no means an extensive list. It’s best to understand what type of graphic design you want to create, and which software you’d like to use.

For more helpful reads and answers to frequently asked questions on graphic design, check out our articles the graphic design process and tips for creating graphic design. If you want practical challenges, check out our design prompts and start creating!

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.

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