25 Best Online Graphic Design Courses for 2020 πŸ’»

Learning graphic design can be confusing for beginners. Knowing where to start is the first hurdle. With this in mind, we’ve laid out the best online graphic design courses you should take for a smooth learning process.

We’ll start with the software and theory you’ll need to learn and then focus on the specialisms within graphic design.

Adobe Illustrator Courses πŸ“

Adobe Illustrator is the most commonly used software in graphic design. It is a vector-based graphic program, which means it works with mathematical lines to create shapes. Vector-based shapes can be enlarged to any size without any loss of quality. As a result, graphic designers make logos and other branding imagery using vector-based programs like Adobe Illustrator.

If you’re a beginner graphic designer, we recommend that you should first learn how to use Adobe Illustrator. Below is the online Illustrator courses we recommend.

1. Adobe Illustrator CC – Essentials Training

Adobe Illustrator CC – Essentials Training Skillshare Course

This Skillshare course taken by Daniel Scott teaches you the essentials of Adobe Illustrator. It is designed for those with little to no experience in the program. You’ll learn how to use the fundamental tools in illustrator, and many of the most commonly used functions. Included in the course are exercise files that students can download and follow along with. By the end of this essential training, students will have a firm grasp of Adobe Illustrator and be ready to move onto more advanced training.

Daniel Scott is a Digital Designer, Teacher at ‘Bring Your Own Laptop’ international, UI/UX Expert, and Adobe Certified Trainer. Daniel brings fourteen years plus of teaching experience to his online classes, where he has taught thousands of students software and graphic design skills.

2. Adobe Illustrator CC – Advanced Training

Adobe Illustrator CC Online Graphic Design Course

This advanced Adobe Illustrator Skillshare course taken by Daniel Scott builds on the foundations of the essential training course, of the same series. In this course, you’ll learn the more advanced functions Illustrator has to offer, as well as the more complex techniques used by designers. Lessons include using the different shapes and pen tools, complex color creation, cross-software management, and much more. Once you’ve completed this course, you’ll be able to turn your hand to any Illustrator task with ease.

Daniel Scott is a Digital Designer, Teacher at ‘Bring Your Own Laptop’ international, UI/UX Expert, and Adobe Certified Trainer. Daniel brings fourteen years plus of teaching experience to his online classes, where he has taught thousands of students software and graphic design skills.

3. Illustrator 2020 Essential Training

Linkedin Learning Adobe Illustrator Graphic Design Course

This Linkedin Learning course, taken by Tony Harmer, takes students through every tool an illustrator user needs to understand in the program. By the end of this 5-hour 41-minute course, students will feel comfortable using all the main tools in Illustrator and, as a result, will be comfortable moving onto more advanced tutorials in the future.

Tony Harmer is an instructor and Adobe Certified Expert with more than 160 certifications and thirty years of experience in the industry. He is one of only a few to achieve status as a Creative Suite Master.

4. Illustrator CC 2020 Masterclass

Udemy Illustrator Masterclass

In this Udemy Illustrator CC Masterclass, Martin Perhiniak teaches students practically every tool and technique that graphic designers use in the program. The course provides over 12 hours of on-demand content, eight downloadable resources, and two articles. Martin has served over 84,000 students to date and maintains one of the highest ratings in the category.

Martin Perhiniak is a graphic designer, Adobe Certified Instructor, and the founder of Yes I’m A Designer. In his years of design work, he has worked for companies like Pixar, the BBC & Mattel.


Adobe Photoshop Courses πŸ“·

Despite being primarily a photo editing suite, Photoshop is still widely used by graphic designers. Photoshop is a raster graphics editor program, this means it works with pixels to create and manipulate images and shapes. Photoshop is used widely for web-based graphics, such as website artwork, social media banners, online advertisements, and many more. It is an essential piece of software in the graphic designer’s toolkit.


5. Adobe Photoshop CC – Essentials Training Course

Photoshop Essentials Course

This Skillshare Essentials Training Course, taken by Daniel Scott will help students get stuck in with Photoshop in the fastest way possible. Photoshop’s controls are similar to those used in other Adobe programs but are also different in a number of ways that a first time user will find confusing. Scott takes viewers through the basics of the program ensuring a solid knowledge foundation is created. Using this course will allow students easier viewing for more advanced or specialist tutorials in the future. As always, with a Skillshare subscription, access to all courses and therefore the Advanced Photoshop class is included.

Daniel Scott is a Digital Designer, Teacher at ‘Bring Your Own Laptop’ international, UI/UX Expert, and Adobe Certified Trainer. Daniel brings fourteen years plus of teaching experience to his online classes, where he has taught thousands of students software and graphic design skills.

6. Adobe Photoshop CC – Advanced Training Course

Photoshop Skillshare Advanced Course

In this Skillshare course, Daniel Scott follows on from his Essentials Training Course with this Advanced Photoshop course. During the 13+ hours of available content, students will learn several complex techniques within Photoshop. Examples include advanced masking, removing objects from a scene, levels, and curves tricks, correcting ‘hard to fix’ images, parallax effects, and many more. For those with a Skillshare subscription or free trial, both the Essentials Training Course and the Advanced Training Course are a great bundle to watch.

Daniel Scott is a Digital Designer, Teacher at ‘Bring Your Own Laptop’ international, UI/UX Expert, and Adobe Certified Trainer. Daniel brings fourteen years plus of teaching experience to his online classes, where he has taught thousands of students software and graphic design skills.


Adobe InDesign Courses πŸ“‘

Adobe InDesign is a desktop publishing and typesetting software application. You can think of it as a super-powered Microsoft Word. It is used to format and design text-based products. This includes books, e-books, magazines, leaflets, flyers, brochures, and more. If you’re looking to produce any of these types of documents, then one of these graphic design courses will be helpful!


7. Adobe InDesign CC – Essentials Training Course

Adobe InDesign CC Skillshare Course

In this 73+ lesson Skillshare course, Daniel Scott helps students understand the essentials of InDesign. Students will learn how to move and manipulate objects, work with RGB vs CMYK for digital or print, importing text, working with PDFs and many more. This is one of the most comprehensive online InDesign courses you’ll find on the web, so it’s a fantastic one to check out!

Daniel Scott is a Digital Designer, Teacher at ‘Bring Your Own Laptop’ international, UI/UX Expert, and Adobe Certified Trainer. Daniel brings fourteen years plus of teaching experience to his online classes, where he has taught thousands of students software and graphic design skills.

8. Adobe InDesign CC – Advanced Training

Skillshare InDesign Advanced Course

Adobe InDesign CC – Advanced Training is designed for those already familiar with InDesign or those who have completed the InDesign Essentials Training. You can have access to both of these courses with a Skillshare subscription or free trial. This course includes lessons on: advanced typography and fonts, advanced shape creation, adding interactive elements, indexing, workflow speed tips and more.

Daniel Scott is a Digital Designer, Teacher at ‘Bring Your Own Laptop’ international, UI/UX Expert, and Adobe Certified Trainer. Daniel brings fourteen years plus of teaching experience to his online classes, where he has taught thousands of students software and graphic design skills.


Layout Theory Courses πŸ“

Layout is the foundation of graphic design. You can have all the right elements, but if they’re placed incorrectly, your design will not work. Learning the rules of layout and the theory behind it will take your work to the next level.

9. Graphic Design Fundamentals: Layout

Creative Live Online Graphic Design Course

In this Creative Live class, Timothy Samara teaches the fundamentals of graphic design layout. Students will learn about; Arrangement, logic, and rhythm; Contrast and visual hierarchy; Unifying type and imagery, and finally Working with grids. Purchasing a Creative Live yearly subscription will give you access to Samara’s other online graphic design courses, which include topics on color, type, form, and imagery.

Timothy Samara is a New York-based graphic designer and educator with over 25 years of industry experience in visual identity and branding, communication design, and typography. Samara has written eight books on design. They have been translated into ten languages and is used by design students all around the world. You can keep up with Samara over on his LinkedIn.


10. Layout Design Theory – Create Strong Designs

Graphic Design Layout Skillshare Course

Lindsay Marsh takes this 41-minute Skillshare course, teaching students the foundations of Layout Design Theory. Layout Design Theory is one of the most important topics any aspiring designer must learn. Without it, designs will fall flat, and frustratingly, beginners may not understand why. In this course, students will learn how to create an effective layout, the grid system, design theme, and an introduction to both UX and editorial design.

Lindsay Marsh is a Graphic Designer, Brand Manager, Teacher, and Freelancer with over 14 years of experience. She is the host of a staggering number of online courses and has taught thousands how to hone their digital and creative skills online.


Color Theory Courses 🎈

Color is a incredibly important aspect of graphic design that is often overlooked by beginners. If you’re looking to improve your designs, without a doubt, the best way is to learn color theory. Here are some courses we recommend.


11. Color for Design and Art

Color for Graphic Design and Art Linkedin Learning Course

In this Linkedin Learning course, Jim Krause teaches the basics of color theory. Students will become familiar with the terms used when talking about color, the science and theory behind color, and how to use color in original designs.

Jim Krause is an American designer, photographer, illustrator, and writer with over four decades of experience in the industry. In this time he has done work for companies such as Microsoft, Kodak, Seattle Public Schools, and Levi Strauss. Jim has also authored 3 books on color; these including Color Index, Idea Index, and Design Basics Index.

12. Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, & Application

Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, & Application Creative Live Course

This Creative Live course taken by Richard Mehl is a deep dive into the world of color for aspiring designers. At 8 hours and 14 minutes of content, Mehl’s course is one of the longest on color on the web. Lessons include Hands-On Color Grids, Color Illusion in Practice, Everyday Foundation Color and more.

Richard Mehl is a designer, author, and educator. He has taught two-dimensional design, color theory, and typography at the School of Visual Arts for over 12 years. Here, he saw his students go on to become successful, award-winning designers and art directors for prestigious design studios, including Bloomberg, New York Magazine, The New York Times, and Sagmeister & Walsh. Mehl is also the author of ‘Playing with Color: 50 Graphic Experiments for Exploring Color Design Principles’.


Illustration Courses ✍

Digital Illustration is essentially artwork created through the use digital tools on a computer. You can use a mouse, artist tablet, or touch screen, and will require software like Photoshop, Illustrator or one of their alternatives.

There are many different styles of digital illustration, and discovering your style isn’t easy. The best way to begin is by practicing with different styles and methods of drawing until you land on your own! Here are a few courses to get you started and hopefully give you some inspiration!

13. Digital Illustration: Learn to Use Procreate

Digital Illustration: Learn to Use Procreate Skillshare Course

This Skillshare Original course taken by Jarom Vogel is one of the fastest ways to get up and running with illustration in Procreate. During the just over 60 minutes of teaching time, students will learn the fundamental tools in the program for illustration. These include brushes, layers, the selection tool, color, shadows, textures and more. You can check out some of his past students work over on the course page!

Jarom Vogel is an American freelance illustrator and designer with a degree in Illustration at Brigham Young University. He has worked with clients like Apple, Procreate, Nobrow/Flying Eye Books, First Round Capital, HarperCollins UK, Aquila Magazine, Harmonix Music, and Cotopaxi. You can follow Jarom’s work over on his Instagram or at his website jaromvogel.com/illustration.

14. Digital Illustration: Streamlining with Adobe Tools

Digital Illustration Skillshare Graphic Design Course

Jing Wei takes this 30 minutes Skillshare Original on Digital Illustration. The course is intended to help students streamline their illustration process from sketching to Adobe. The course also offers an insight into Wei’s artistic style, allowing students to create their own similar designs. You can see examples of other students work over on the course page.

Jing Wei is a Brooklyn-based illustrator and artist known for her surreal print-inspired style. She has worked with clients such as Airbnb, MailChimp, and the New York Times. Her work has been used in projects from advertising to editorial to surface and packaging design. You can follow her work over on jingweistudio.com or her Instagram.

15. Character Illustration: Drawing Faces, Figures & Clothing

Character Illustration Skillshare Course

This Skillshare Original course taken by Gabriel Picolo is all about character illustration. Picolo takes students through his process of character creation. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of the illustration process including, poses, expressions, clothing, color and more.

Gabriel Picolo is a well-know Brazil-born illustrator and comic book artist with over 2.7 million Instagram followers. He is most recently known for his work on the DC Teen Titans comic series. You can follow his work on his Instagram @_picolo or on Twitter @_gabrielpicolo.


Logo Design Courses 🐞

Logos are often the primary way in which brands communicate their message to customers or patrons. Because of this, excellent designs are always in demand. It’s not just new designs that organizations are after, either; existing logos need updating or re-imagining to keep up with ever-changing trends. A great logo designer will always find work. If you think logo design might be your chosen path in graphic design, then be sure to check out this selection of specialized courses.

16. Logo Design with Draplin: Secrets of Shape, Type and Color

Logo Graphic Design with Draplin Skillshare Course

In this 70-minute Skillshare Original course, graphic designer Aaron Draplin shares his process behind creating an amazing logo. Students will follow Draplin as he creates a family crest logo. Each lesson focuses on a different aspect of the logo creation. Lesson’s include Research, Workflow, Shape Architecture, Typography, Color and more.

Aaron Draplin is an American graphic designer, author, and entrepreneur working out of Portland, Oregon. Draplin has worked for many high profile clients over the course of his career, including Nike, Burton Snowboards, Esquire, Red Wing, Ford Motor Company, and the Obama Administration. His courses online have helped over 100,000 students improve their logo design work.

17. George Bokhua’s Logo Design Classes (III Part)

Logo Design with Grids: Timeless Style from Simple Shapes Skillshare Course

These Skillshare Original classes taken by George Bokhua focuses on teaching students the techniques the skills every professional logo designer should know. Over the course of these three classes, students will learn everything needed to go out and create their own unique logo. Topics include, Sketching, Gridding, the Golden Ratio, Negative Space and much much more. If logo design is your thing, then these courses are not to be missed!

George Bokhua is a New York-based graphic designer. His specialty is creating amazing and timeless logos. In his career as a graphic designer, he has worked for companies like Disney, New Balance, NFL, and Wired Magazine. You can follow Bokhua and keep up to date with his work over at his Behance page or his Instagram.

18. Logo Design Mastery In Adobe Illustrator

Logo Design Mastery In Adobe Illustrator Course

Lindsay Marsh is a Graphic Designer, Brand Manager, Teacher, and Freelancer with over 14 years of experience. She is the host of a staggering number of online courses and has taught thousands how to hone their digital and creative skills online. You can follow Marsh’s designs over on Behance or Instagram.

19. Logotype Masterclass with Jessica Hische

Logotype Masterclass with Jessica Hische Skillshare Course

In this Skillshare Original Jessica Hische teaches how to master the art of Logotype. In this 13 lesson course, Hische takes viewers through her start-to-finish process. Students will learn how to evaluate a letterform, sketching, vectorizing, how to add adjustments and more. You can check out the class preview and other students work over on the course page!

Jessica Hische is a letterer, illustrator, and graphic designer. She holds a degree in Graphic and Interactive Design from Tyler School of Art and has years of industry experience in senior positions at numerous design agencies. Jessica’s clients include Wes Anderson, Tiffany & Co., The New York Times, Penguin Books, Target, Leo Burnett, and Wired Magazine. You can keep up with Jessica either over on her Twitter @jessicahische or her Instagram.


Icon Design Courses πŸ“΅

Throughout history, humans have used images to represent ideas and communicate with one another. From cave-paintings to street signs, it remains one of the most enduring forms of communication. Nowadays, you’ll see iconography everywhere, signs, smartphone icons, emojis, etc. For graphic designers, this is good news; it means there’s plenty of work!

Designing icons is not easy, but you can learn. If you fancy delving into this graphic design niche, then why not try these courses out.

20. Icon Design: Creating Pictograms with Purpose

Icon Design: Creating Pictograms with Purpose Skillshare Course

This short Skillshare Original taken by Edward Boatman teaches students how to create their own unique icons and pictograms. The course covers everything from concept to context, sketching to vectoring. With the Skillshare free trial or subscription, users will have access to Edward’s other course Illustrate Your Day: An Intro to Symbol Design, which will help bolster students’ knowledge in icon design.

Edward Boatman is an explorer, designer, and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of The Noun Project, an organization that focuses on building a global visual language that everyone can understand.

21. Icon Design: Create a Cohesive Icon Set

Icon Design: Create a Cohesive Icon Set Skillshare Course

In this Skillshare Original, Adam Whitcroft takes students through the design process of creating a set of professional icons using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. By the end of this class students will “develop a theme, iterate on initial sketches, and polish a complete icon set that’s perfect for clients, colleagues, or personal work”.

Adam Whitcroft is a UK-based, South African graphic designer and iconographer. You can follow his work over at his Dribbble, and Instagram.

22. Drawing Vector Graphics: Iconography

Linkedin Learning Iconography Course

If you’re looking for a longer, more thorough course on icon design, this this Linkedin Learning course taken by Von Glitschka might be for you. This nearly 4 hour Linkedin Learning Course offers a deep dive into the end to end icon design process. Students will learn both the theory behind icon design and the process of creating an icon from start to finish.

Von Glitschka is a designer, illustrator, online educator and creative director of Glitschka Studios. He regularly speaks on creative and design topics, and is also the author of six books. You can follow Glitschka over on Twitter at @vonster or see his work at glitschkastudios.com.


Poster Design Courses πŸ”²

Despite being in the digital age, the art of the poster is still alive and well. Brands still use the conventional printed poster in their campaigns; however, nowadays, this tends to be done digitally on social media or electronic billboards. The skills are the same as those used in creating social media banners, infographics, etc.

23. Digital Poster Design: Combining Images & Type for Powerful Visuals 

Digital Poster Design Online Course

In this Skillshare Original, Digital Artist Temi Coker takes students through the process of creating an amazing poster by combining a photograph with eye-catching background visuals. This course is focused on learning-by-doing. By the end of the 14 lessons in this course, students will have a poster of their own and the skills to go out and create more.

Temi Coker is a Nigerian born Digital Artist and Photographer. He was one of the seven Adobe Creative Residents for the 2018/2019 year. You can follow his work over on his Website or at his Twitter and Instagram

24. Baugasm Poster Design Series By Vasjen Katro

Baugasm Poster Graphic Design Series Skillshare

This Baugasm Poster Design series on Skillshare taken by Vasjen Katro is amazing look into how a professional creates a complex poster design. There 10 individual courses available in this poster series. Each acts as a follow-along, teaching the student how to create a specific poster design. With a free trial or subscription, users will have access to all of the courses.

Vasjen Katro is a Graphic and Visual Designer and Photographer from Albania. He has over a decade of experience in designing Mobile Applications, Websites and Ads. Katro is most well known for his Baugasm poster series, in which he designed a poster everyday for a year. You can follow his Graphic Design work on Dribbble and his Photography work over on his Instagram @vasjenkatro.


UX/UI Design Courses βœ…

User Experience and User Interface Design is an incredibly important part of the digital media creation process. Only recently are individuals and companies waking up to the necessity of great interface design. As a result, this means that the industry is only set to grow in the future. Whilst the coding of a UI is still left up to developers, it is still left to graphic designers to design it. A course will help you get to grips with this fast-growing area of graphic design.

25. Illustrator CC for UX Design

Illustrator CC for UX Design Pluralsight Course

This course taken by William Everhart on Pluralsight explores using Adobe Illustrator for UX Design. Students will learn Illustrators drawing and document features, creating a wireframe for your UX design, producing a full-color mockup, and much more. Once completed, students will be familiar with the UX Design process in Adobe Illustrator and be able to complete a project ready to hand off to a graphic designer.

William Everhart is a Graphic Designer, online teacher, and Entrepreneur. He is the founder and owner of his consulting firm Astute Digital Solutions. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Enjoy our online graphic design course list and are looking for more? Then why not check out our Ultimate List of Online Learning Platforms πŸ”°