Last updated:

If you love visual design and have a knack for spotting the trends and coming up with fresh ideas, then you should think about enrolling in a graphic design course.

These programs will not only help you hone your skills but also give you the knowledge and knowhow to land a job in this field. However, there are various types of graphic design courses out there – basic vs advanced, generalist vs specialist, catalogue vs elective – and it’s easy to get confused about which one is right for you.

Graphic Designers

Our Top Picks of Best Graphic Design Courses (UK) ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง

Considering a career in graphic design? Here are a few things that our favourite graphic design courses should go into more depth on:

  • Graphic designers use a variety of different tools and techniques to create visual designs. They may use software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create digital art and layouts, or they may use tools like sketchbooks, markers, and graphic pencils to create traditional art. Graphic designers may also use a variety of tools such as rulers and stencils to create layouts or lines.
  • ๐Ÿ‘จ‍๐Ÿ’ผ Many graphic designers also manage their teams, clients, and projects. They may work closely with marketing and advertising teams to create designs for their campaigns, or they may create designs for product packaging. 
  • Graphic designers may also manage events such as trade shows or conferences.

Top Graphic Design Courses 2023โ€“ Reviews ๐Ÿ“˜

CourseRating
1. Graphic Design Specialisation by CalArts (Coursera)โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…Click Here
2. Graphic Design Elements for Non-Designers Specialisation โ€“ by University of Colorado Boulder (Coursera)โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…Click Here
3. Graphic Design Masterclass by Udemyโ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…Click Here
4. Graphic Design Basics by Canvaโ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…Click Here
5. Graphic Design Fundamentals by CreativeLiveโ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…Click Here


1. Graphic Design Specialisation โ€“ Top Graphic Design Course by CalArts (Coursera)

CalArts is the first world-renowned arts school that has adopted online education to share its knowledge and experiences with a wider audience.

With this noble intention, CalArts launched a series of online courses on Coursera titled “Creative Strategies”.

History

In 2016, the school launched a new initiative called “Creative Strategies”. This initiative is a system of online courses on Coursera aimed at helping learners to develop their creative thinking, communication, and design skills. The courses consist of interactive video, photography, and graphic design lessons, delivered by experts and available for free to anyone with an internet connection . 

What You Will Learn

The course is a 7-week program consisting of 12 courses. Each course is around 2 hours long. The courses are all interactive and available on your computer or device. The course covers a wide range of topics, including how to plan a creative strategy, develop a creative strategy, execute a creative and measure the success of a strategy, discover new patterns and insights, make your strategy relevant in the current context, and how to transfer your creative strategy to the next project.

Overview

The CalArts Graphic Design Specialisation is a unique program that allows students the chance to take their design skills and apply them to a certain area in the field. If you’re interested in taking on a new field of study or looking for something different, then this might just be the right fit for you. A Graphic Design specialisation at CalArts has many benefits that are not only worth exploring but also challenging enough to make you want to pursue it even deeper. The benefits of completing the CalArts’ Graphic Design Specialisation are as follows: 

  • Gain exposure to the most advanced design knowledge available 
  • Top-notch design studios and practices
  • Gain comprehensive knowledge on how to create unique and impactful designs 
  • Create engaging and impactful designs

How to register for the CalArts’ Graphic Design Specialisation Course

Register for the online course here: https://www.coursera.org/course/graphicdesign  

Follow the registration process until you are successfully registered. You need to provide your Coursera username and password, email address, access code, password, and payment method. Upon successful registration, you will receive an email with an activation link. Click on the activation link to activate your Coursera account. 

Upon successful activation, you will receive an email with an activation link which you need to click on to complete your enrollment. After completing the enrollment process, you will have access to the course lessons. You have the option to view the course lessons in a web browser, download the course lessons in PDF format, or watch videos in MOOC format.

UK Costs

The course is free and available worldwide. You don’t need a special university account, university email, or university name to access the courses. Anyone with an internet connection can enrol.

PROS

  • Free
  • Interactive
  • Structured course syllabus

CONS

  • Limited Support

2. Graphic Design Elements for Non-Designers Specialisation โ€“ by University of Colorado Boulder (Coursera)

The Graphic Design Elements course on Coursera is a great total introduction to the world of graphic design.

The course is led by Professor Mark Richards of University of Colorado Boulder. The first section of the course focuses on the history of graphic design and how it’s evolved into what we have today.

The course also provides an overview of the various graphic design elements that are essential to know. You’ll also learn how to apply them to a variety of design projects.

It’s overall very comprehensive, offering weekly lectures that are often 15-20 minutes long. The course is also self-paced, making it very easy to learn at your own pace. It’s available on both a paid subscription and a free trial basis.

Why Take the Graphic Design Elements Course?

  • High-quality course: The Graphic Design Elements course is one of the higher-quality courses offered by Coursera. It’s taught by a professor who has dedicated his life to the study of graphic design. This course aims to provide an in-depth look into the history of graphic design, as well as the various elements that make up good graphic design.
  • Useful for any industry: The course’s focus on the history and evolution of graphic design makes it useful for any designer running their own online business. Even if your career is focused on digital design, you’ll still learn a lot from the course.
  • Fun and engaging: The lectures are often very entertaining, featuring Professor Richards’s (the course’s lead instructor) colourful personality. He’s also very knowledgeable and easy to listen to. This is a course you’ll be excited to learn from.
  • Ongoing career advancement: Anyone who is interested in advancing their career as a designer will enjoy the course. The course focuses on the various elements of graphic design, making it a useful resource for anyone interested in the discipline.
  • Accessible: While the course is led by professors at one of the top universities in the country, it is completely accessible to anyone. There are no special skills required to follow along. This is a great course for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of graphic design.

Final Words: Is the Graphic Design Elements Course Worth It?

If you’re not a designer, it’s an excellent resource for anyone wanting to learn more about graphic design. It’s an in-depth look at the history of the discipline, as well as the various elements that make up good graphic design. 

As it’s informative and fun to learn from, it suits anyone interested in advancing their career as a designer. However, the course requires quite a bit of commitment and time to complete, making it best for people who are committed to learning more about graphic design and want to learn from a top-notch professor.

Overall this course gives you the skills and knowledge you need to begin your career as a graphic designer. The best part is that you don’t have to be an aspiring designer to benefit from this course. This course is great for anyone interested in the field of design, regardless of their experience level.

PROS

  • Highly informative
  • Fun and engaging
  • Total intro to the topic
  • Great lecturers

CONS

  • Not aimed at established designers

3. Graphic Design Masterclass โ€“ Learn Great Design by Udemy

In this Udemy course, you will learn about all the basic graphic design principles. This includes learning how to create professional logos, print layouts, web designs, mockups, posters, and marketing materials.

You will learn how to create a landing page, website, ux design, brochure, business card, social media feed, and signature. The instructor is skilled at breaking down these complicated topics into easy to understand lectures.

The content is also very helpful and applicable to almost any professional industry. With over 150 lectures, there is a lot of value in this course and it is definitely worth the investment.

This course is designed to teach you the fundamentals of graphic design and how to create great designs. You will learn about typography, colour theory, grid systems and more. Once you complete this course, you will have all the tools that you need to begin your own freelance or contracting business as a graphic designer. 

This is not a beginner’s course. Expect fast pace lectures with new concepts being introduced on almost every lecture. At times it can be fast-paced and redundant but it is useful for those who are serious about learning graphic design skills from scratch. 

The instructor has a soft voice which makes listening difficult at times but there are plenty of visual examples and screencasts to help you follow along easily. 

Learn Graphic Design Basics

In this section, you will learn about the basic tools of graphic design including the tools that you need to design and layout a professional looking logo, how to create a print ready layout and convert your logo into a vector format, making a brochure layout, book cover design and how to design business cards. Next, you will learn about how to design websites and create mockups as well as designing a landing page and common layout types including for posters and marketing materials.

Typography Basics

In this section, you will learn about the basics of typography. You will explore the most basic typefaces and their use as well as how they affect your design. You will learn about various typeface styles and how to use them. You will also learn about the impact each one has on your design. Next, you will learn about how to create different kinds of lettering, from dashed, dashed in weight, and italic to swashes and ligatures, as well as custom typefaces and how to set up a type system, use counters, and create custom type families.

Colour Theory & RGB Colours

This section is dedicated to basic colour theory: how colour affects your design, creating colour palettes, and how to work with different colour spaces. The section focuses on making use of RGB and CMYK colour spaces when designing and making and using colour wheel. Students discover ways of making their own custom colours, understanding secondary colours and schemes. 

To practice, students will make a logo and demonstrate providing proper contrast between their text and logo - with a strong focus on how to balance the use of different colours.

Grid Systems (Includes for Logos and Branding)

The grid system is used in many systems, including for print and web design. You will learn how to set up a grid system on your computer and how to create a basic grid system - and how to make sure your design is pixel-perfect, grid system for different mediums, and how to avoid overusing grid systems.

Website Design & UX Basics

Discover the importance of websites, setting up a basic site, using CSS for styling, creating a small blog for your client, and most importantly incorporating user experience principles in your designs. For practice, you’ll build an online shop, landing pages, a portfolio website, an online portfolio, and online forms, as well as learning how to integrate social media and basic email marketing campaigns - applying this both for design for mobile and responsive websites.

PROS

  • Great Design Principles
  • Visual Design
  • Business Application
  • Well-Rounded

CONS

  • Not for complete beginners

4. Graphic Design Basics โ€“ Top Graphic Design Course by Canva

The main purpose of this course is to teach you the fundamentals of graphic design. You’ll learn the basics of designing a logo, creating a brochure, and how to design landing pages.

You’ll also learn how to create infographics and how to publish an online course. The course starts with the basics of designing images and logos. Then it gets into designing brochures, landing pages, and digital courses. You’ll also learn about blogging, social media integration, and more.

As for the curriculum structure, you’ll begin with the fundamentals of graphic design, moving onto the different types of design, designing for the web, and structuring a logo and general design. Then, into brochures.

Who is this course for?

Graphic design is a very broad field. It can be used for a variety of purposes, including creating logos, designing posters, creating digital graphics, and creating infographics. This course will help you understand the fundamentals of graphic design. However, anyone with an interest in graphic design could find this course beneficial. You could be a marketing manager who wants to understand the basics of graphic design. Or, you could be a marketer who wants to improve their design skills and create effective content.

Why you should take this course

There’s a lot more to graphic design than what you learn in this course. Overall, this course is a good introduction to the fundamentals of graphic design. However, you’re missing out on a lot if you only take this course on its own. The best way to learn is through self-directed learning. You’ll get the most out of this course if you do your own research and learn on your own. You can also ask your boss and colleagues for design tips. If you aren’t sure where to start, start with the basics. This course will help you get a basic understanding of graphic design. After you learn the basics, you can continue to learn more on your own and ask your colleagues for design tips.

The main strengths of the course:

  • The course is packed with loads of design examples. You’ll learn how to design a logo, create a brochure, create landing pages, and more. 
  • The course includes a variety of design exercises. This is a great way to reinforce the information you learn. 
  • The course is very action-oriented. You’ll learn about the fundamentals of graphic design, the structure of a logo, and how to create a design. 
  • The course is very easy to follow. The videos are organised in a way that makes it easy to follow along and learn on your own. 
  • The course provides solid fundamentals. You’ll learn the basics of how to design images, logos, and how to create a digital portfolio.

PROS

  • Free
  • Team of expert tutors
  • Based on Adobe Creative Cloud, which is one of the most popular design software

CONS

  • Some design elements may be old and not appropriate for some brands
  • Aimed at beginners

5. Graphic Design Fundamentals โ€“ Top Graphic Design Course by CreativeLive

CreativeLive offers a number of courses on design, and Graphic Design Fundamentals is no exception.

This course covers the basics of graphic design, whether you’re an amateur or a pro who wants to get started. With over 300,000 subscribers and more than 90 courses, CreativeLive is a great way to learn from top industry professionals.

This course takes you through the fundamentals so that you can start creating graphics for your brand or project. CreativeLive offers a variety of different courses on design and graphic design. In this post, we’ll go over what you can expect to learn in each of these courses. We'll also outline which other courses you should consider taking as well.

What You’ll Learn 

CreativeLive’s Graphic Design Fundamentals course is designed to teach you the basics of graphic design, from getting your hands dirty with Photoshop, to building your business from the ground up. In this course, you’ll learn the foundations of graphic design, from how designs can be built, and how images are created, to basics of colour theory, typography, and how to use Adobe Photoshop. 

You’ll also learn how to build your own business from the ground up by marketing your design services and finding clients. Finally, you’ll learn how to build your own portfolio with examples of different design work and how to present your work for clients.

Overview

In this course from CreativeLive, you’ll learn the fundamentals of graphic design, from how designs are built and how images are created, to colour theory and typography. You’ll also learn how to use Adobe Photoshop, and how to build your own website and business from the ground up. 

Once again, this course is designed to teach you the foundations of graphic design and help you understand how designs are built and how images are created. You’ll learn how to build a portfolio, how to market yourself, and how to find and build a client base.

PROS

  • Learn the fundamentals of graphic design
  • Build a portfolio and market yourself as a graphic designer
  • Find and build a client base
  • Get hands on with Photoshop and learn about colour theory and typography

CONS

  • Aimed at beginners

Buying Guide

Let’s have a look at some aspects of understanding how to choose the best graphic design courses. This will cover some of the basic surrounding aspects to this topic.


What do Graphic Designers Do?

A graphic designer creates designs that are visual and focus on the aesthetics, like the layout of a web page or flyer, the colour palette, and the images used.

It’s a very creative job that also requires a lot of technical skill when it comes to using various design tools. It’s a challenging and rewarding career option, and the best way to break into this field is to complete a basic or advanced graphic design course.

Graphic Design

The history of graphic design can be traced back to the 18th century where the first hand-drawn advertisements began to appear online. The modern history of graphic design can be dated back to 1911 when the first ever design exhibition was held in Paris. It was at this exhibition that the concepts of modern design were laid out. Since then, graphic design has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry. The industry has expanded to include web design, logo design, business card design and more.

Today, graphic designers create visual communication, marketing and advertising materials. They create visual designs to promote products, services, brands, and organisations - creating posters, logos, websites, advertisements, magazines, newspapers, and product packaging.

Graphic designers may specialise in a certain area (eg. such as designing websites, advertisements, logos, or posters) and they use software to create and edit images and text.

How much do UK graphic designers earn?

In the UK, a graphic designer’s salary is around £25,000. The average salary for a graphic designer in the USA is $54,000.


What is a Basic Graphic Design Course?

A basic graphic design course is a one-year program that teaches you the fundamentals of visual communication design. These courses will help you hone your skills and give you hands-on experience in creating logos, brochures, advertisements, websites, and more. The basic graphic design courses prepare students for entry-level jobs in the design industry.

In order to accomplish this, the curriculum will cover topics in:

  • ๐ŸŽจ visual communication
  • ๐Ÿ–Œ๏ธ typography
  • ๐Ÿ–Œ๏ธ colour theory
  • ๐Ÿ–Œ๏ธ visual perception and psychology
  • ๐Ÿ–Œ๏ธ design principles
  • ๐Ÿ–Œ๏ธ computer software
  • ๐Ÿ–Œ๏ธ and more

What is an Advanced Graphic Design Course?

Advanced graphic design courses are a two-year program that prepares you for a senior position in the design industry. They are also referred to as postgraduate courses.

These programs are for people who have a basic understanding of design and want to make a transition into more senior-level roles. These courses will help you hone your skills and give you hands-on experience in everything you’d get in the one-year course.  Advanced graphic design courses, however, will delve into more detail. Let’s look at some subtypes of these courses:

Advanced Graphic Design

Generalist courses vs specialist courses

  • Generalist courses focus on the basics of design and equip students with the foundational skills needed by all designers – regardless of the area of specialisation for which they are headed. 
  • Specialist courses, on the other hand, concentrate more on a specific area of design like logo design, web design, branding and identity, etc. Let’s say you are planning to specialise in web design. Before enrolling in a web design course, you should first take a generalist course to gain a solid foundation in design. Without a strong understanding of visual design principles, you won’t be able to create effective and appealing designs for the web.

Catalogue courses vs elective courses

We have another subcategory pair:

  • Catalogue courses offer a wide range of topics, while elective courses focus on a single topic. So, with catalogue courses, you get to choose a selection of topics over an extended period of time – usually, two or three years. 
  • Elective courses, on the other hand, are more focused and dive deep into a single topic. So, with an elective course, you will complete the course in a single year.

Top Graphic Design Courses ๐Ÿ“’ โ€“ FAQs

Is job satisfaction high on average with a graphic design career? 

Well, that would depend on your personality. Reportedly, yes, the job satisfaction is high with a graphic design career. Why? Because visual communication design is an art form and it’s super satisfying to create visuals that convey a message and evoke an emotion. 

What is the difference between a graphic design and advertising course? 

A graphic design course typically focuses on design concepts and principles. A typical advertising course will focus on a combination of design and marketing. Is there a difference between a graphic design degree and a certificate course in design? Yes, there are differences. A graphic design degree will be more in-depth than a certificate course. It’s like the difference between a BA and a BSc – a bachelor’s degree is more in-depth.

Are there any special certifications or skills needed to break into the design industry? 

Yes, there are certifications and skills you need to break into the design industry. You need to know design software like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, and more. You also need to know design principles, visual communication, and marketing skills. What skills do I need to become a successful designer? This includes how the human brain works to respond to visuals because visuals are how we communicate.

What is the difference between a graphic design course and a marketing course? ๐ŸŽจ

Both a graphic design course and a marketing course will teach you design and marketing skills. 

  • A marketing course will teach you marketing skills, like how to create a marketing plan and how to create an effective marketing campaign. 
  • A graphic design course will teach you design skills like visual communication, colour theory, visual perception and psychology, and more. 

Does a visual design degree qualify someone to work as a designer? 

Yes, a visual design degree will qualify someone to work as a designer. 

What are the best colleges for a graphic design degree? 

 The best colleges for a graphic design degree are Parsons, Otis, SCAD, and RISD. What is the difference between a college and a university for a graphic design career? A college is more hands-on and applied, while a university is more theory-based. What types of design degrees are there? There are a variety of design degrees. The most common design degrees include graphic design, branding and advertising, industrial design, and web design.

What is the difference between a degree and a certificate in design? 

The difference between a degree and a certificate in design is that a degree is a more in-depth program that takes longer to complete. A certificate is a short, applied program that is completed in a shorter amount of time. What skills are needed to break into the design industry? You need to know design software, design principles, and marketing skills. You also need to understand how the human brain responds to visuals because visuals are how we communicate.

What is the best way to learn graphic design? 

There are many different methods to learn any topic, and graphic design is no exception. One of the best ways to learn is to immerse yourself in the topic. This will allow you to understand it on a deeper level. If you can, it’s best to get hands on with practice, either by taking workshops or hiring a mentor. It’s always important to use practical examples to help you understand a topic, as understanding through theory alone can be difficult at times.

As for the best way to get started in graphic design, this depends on how you want to get started and what your goals are for the future. If you want to make money from graphic design, you’ll need to build a portfolio and find clients. Before you can do this, you need to understand the design industry and what happens behind the scenes. You’ll also need to learn about marketing your skills and building a business.