6 Best Online Graphic Design Courses for Budding Designers in 2023

In 1997, I started at Bilkent University in the Department of Graphic Design. I was incredibly excited! Back then, there were no smartphones, YouTube, or online influencers to learn from. Instead, I chose to draw inspiration from my biggest source: my dad, Ersin Bayral 🤍 who is my hero. As an architect, he did everything he could to encourage me to become an actor (yes, I used to act, lol), an architect, an interior architect, or a graphic designer. I wish I had access to online graphic design courses for beginners like the ones available today when I was 20 years old.

Today, you have many more options to find inspiration online. Going digital is the way forward! Graphic design goes beyond creating pretty visuals. It serves as the first impression of a brand and involves conveying brand messages through visuals. The fundamental principles of design, such as balance, contrast, and alignment, serve as the building blocks. Additionally, understanding why graphic design holds importance can enhance communication and boost engagement across all media.

“Online Graphic Design Courses” | Image source: Created by Murat Bayral with MidJourney

What Online Courses Do I Recommend for Beginners in Graphic Design?

Don’t get me wrong, university was fun, and I had all my best friends and business partners from there. But in today’s digital age, there are a plethora of options available, perhaps even too many, so don’t forget to stay focused 🙂 The importance of selecting the right graphic design course cannot be emphasised enough. Choose the wrong one, and you might find yourself overwhelmed. However, if it were me starting a graphic design career today without university, here’s a list of the top 5 online courses for beginners that have received acclaim for their content and teaching methods (No they are not affiliate links):

  1. Udemy’s Complete Graphic Design Course
  2. Coursera’s Graphic Design Specialization
  3. LinkedIn Learning’s Graphic Design Tips & Tricks
  4. Skillshare’s Graphic Design Basics
  5. EdX’s Professional Certificate in Graphic Design
  6. The Future – Creative Skillsets

Additionally, these options are completely free, and don’t miss out on some of the best tutorials available to sharpen your skills on platforms like YouTube and Behance.

Top 10 Graphic Designers to watch on YouTube

  1. Charli Marie – Known for her design vlogs and insightful content.
  2. The Futur – Provides valuable design and business advice.
  3. Will Paterson – Specializes in logo design and shares tutorials.
  4. Peggy Dean – Focuses on hand lettering and illustration.
  5. Karen Kavett – Offers graphic design tips and DIY projects.
  6. Roberto Blake – Covers design, creativity, and entrepreneurship.
  7. Tutvid (Nathaniel Dodson) – Offers Photoshop and design tutorials.
  8. Zimri Mayfield – Known for UI/UX design and design process insights.
  9. Satori Graphics – Provides online graphic design courses and tips.
  10. Dansky – Offers tutorials on various design software and techniques.

Factors to Consider While Choosing an Online Graphic Design Course

Before you eagerly hit that ‘Enroll Now’ button, take a moment to check out the course curriculum and outline. Make sure it lines up with what you want to learn. Also, consider your budget and whether the course offers great value for its price. And don’t forget to peek at the instructor’s credentials and background – if they’ve got high ratings and glowing reviews, that’s a promising sign. Trust me, having an experienced instructor can make your learning journey a whole lot better. So, choose wisely.

Pros and Cons of Online Learning

Even after university, I’ve taken numerous online courses, and I’ve explored almost all of them. Even today, I continue my learning journey, primarily through my LinkedIn Pro account and YouTube. Online courses provide flexibility and self-paced learning, allowing you to acquire knowledge at your convenience. However, they do come with specific challenges in virtual education, such as the absence of hands-on experience, which one must be prepared for. In this scenario, your commitment and consistency are key. Get your hands dirty and dive into the practical work to truly master your skills.

Free vs. Paid Graphic Design Courses: Making the Right Choice

While free courses can give you a taste of what’s to come, paid ones typically focus deeper into the subject, offering extensive resources and mentorship. Just test yourself; I’ve found that some of the best YouTubers provide excellent quality content. However, some people may struggle with the discipline required to follow this learning path.

Using Online Communities to Enhance Learning

I was lacking in that area because I’m a very social person. I relied on my ability to collaborate with others and receive feedback constantly. But hey, today, “the new social” is social media! So don’t follow my footsteps and don’t get left behind, lol. Joining forums and discussion groups can be extremely beneficial. Platforms like Dribbble and Reddit offer vibrant communities. Moreover, collaborative projects and peer reviews can provide valuable insights into practical application and feedback..

Practical Experience vs. Theoretical Knowledge

While theory teaches the fundamentals, it’s hands-on experience that truly hones your skills. Engage in side projects, freelance gigs, or internships. I am, and I hope most of you are considering rolling up your sleeves in the kitchen. Create a productive work environment for yourself. If none of these options are possible, consider working on concept projects. Take a well-known brand and redesign it from your perspective. Understand the brand, its target audience, and their initial needs. Just as I improve my writing skills (English is not my native language), you can enhance your design skills through research. Embrace the hard, dirty work and dive into research. You can’t imagine how many new things you’ll learn along the way!

Building a Portfolio: Showcasing Your Graphic Design Work

Thanks to my social skills, I’ve been fortunate to always have design projects on my plate. And yes, I admit it, I could have done better. So, don’t be shy; showcase your work, document your journey, and share it on social media! You won’t believe how your audience will grow over time. The more you do, the more you’ll learn. A well-curated portfolio can be your ticket to landing dream jobs or freelance projects. Make sure to showcase a variety of your best works. Just go for it!

Job Opportunities after Completing the Online Graphic Design Courses

From being a UX/UI designer, like your friend Murat Bayral 😊, to pursuing roles in advertising agencies or as a freelancer, the possibilities are endless. But don’t forget to share your own journey publicly. Don’t strive for perfection.


Why is a portfolio essential for a graphic designer?
A portfolio is crucial for a graphic designer because it showcases your skillset, creativity, and versatility. It serves as a powerful tool to demonstrate your capabilities to potential clients or employers, significantly increasing your chances of landing exciting opportunities.

How long does it take to complete a graphic design course?
The duration of a graphic design course can vary widely depending on factors like the intensity of the curriculum and your own learning pace. Typically, beginner courses may span from a few weeks to a few months.

Do I need a formal degree in graphic design?
While having a formal degree in graphic design can provide an advantage, it’s not an absolute necessity. Many successful designers have forged rewarding careers based on their portfolios and practical experience. What matters most is your ability to demonstrate your skills and creativity.

Are offline courses better than online ones?
The choice between offline and online courses depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. Offline courses may offer more hands-on experience and face-to-face interaction, while online courses provide flexibility, allowing you to learn at your own pace and convenience. It’s essential to consider your learning style and needs when making this decision.

Is graphic design a promising career in 2023?
Absolutely! In 2023 and beyond, graphic design continues to be a promising career. As the digital world continues to expand, the demand for skilled designers remains high. Graphic designers play a crucial role in creating visually engaging content for various industries, making it a field with excellent growth prospects.

Can I self-learn graphic design?
Yes, you can certainly self-learn graphic design. With determination and access to the right resources, self-learning is entirely possible. Many successful designers have taken this path. However, structured courses can provide direction, mentorship, and a more comprehensive understanding of the field. The choice between self-learning and formal courses depends on your goals and preferences.

Conclusion: Starting Your Graphic Design Journey without excuses

Starting on a career in graphic design is an exciting journey, and the digital age offers a wealth of resources to learn and grow in this field. To begin your adventure, take that first step, choose the right course that aligns with your goals, and soon, you’ll find yourself creating designs that inspire and effectively communicate messages to the world. Good luck on your graphic design journey. I hope you enjoy this blog post. Don’t forget to share it with friends and read my other blog posts.

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