The Best Graphic Design Schools Online

Online Learning Programs and Courses for Designers of Today

Online learning is convenient, affordable, and customizable…it’s an empowering, efficient way to boost your professional development. Without the constraints of classroom-based learning, online courseware lets you focus your time on gaining exactly the skills you need, at the pace you want, all on your own schedule. Whether you’re starting your design career, looking to brush up on the latest design software, or aiming to level up with certifications, there’s an online course to serve your goals. But with so many online graphic design programs available, which one should you choose? Here’s our roundup of some of the best platforms to learn graphic design, and what is outstanding about each one.

Great for…On-The-Go Learning

Skillshare

Free trial, paid subscription version

Graphic Design Schools Online: Skillshare

One subscription fee unlocks access to more than 25,000 classes, spanning graphic design to photography, animation, coding, and running a business. Skillshare offers a convenient app as well as offline access to courses, so you can learn on the go. Every Skillshare course includes a project to help you practice the knowledge you’ve gained, and you’re encouraged to share your work (and questions) with other members.

Great for…Certification Programs

HOW Design University

Pay-per-course and pay-by-collection options

Graphic Design Schools Online: HOW

HOW Design University’s range of certification programs (spanning graphic design to web development, animation, branding, and more) make a great option for those who enjoy a semi-structured learning pathway and earning a respected certificate at the end. These courses teach skills and knowledge critical to working in design today. In addition to courses on software skills, HOW Design University has a particularly strong suite of business topics related to being a professional creative, such as presenting ideas, team management, and negotiation.

Great for…Deep Dive Learning

LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com)

Free trial, paid subscription version

graphic design schools online linkedin

With classes taught by industry experts, LinkedIn Learning has become a go-to place for intensive professional development and skills training. Career-specific “learning paths” provide suggested courses to take, and courses can be filtered by learning level. The “essentials” and “foundations” design courses provide thorough training in the latest software tools, and advanced courses feature useful skills, keyboard shortcuts, and transferrable examples. Many courses run more than two hours (some even 18+ hours), and most include project challenges and downloadable lesson files for practice.

Great for…Learning to Code

Pluralsight

Free trial, paid subscription version

Graphic design schools online: pluralsight

Though Pluralsight offers relatively few graphic design courses in its current course catalog, it shines for its offerings on programming and tech development. For the designer looking to expand into web and mobile development, Pluralsight is a one-stop shop for learning how to speak all of the latest digital languages. Its growing suite of interactive courses help you to try coding challenges and receive feedback immediately from its machine learning algorithm.

Great for…Learning in Non-English Languages

Udemy

Free and pay-per-course options

Graphic Design Schools Online: Udemy

Boasting the “world’s largest selection of courses” on its homepage, Udemy offers a wide array of design-related courses delivered in a diverse range of languages. Learn design in Polish. Italian. Korean. Turkish. Russian. Or another language. These aren’t translations from English—the lessons are taught by instructors speaking those languages, and the computer interfaces and lesson copy are written in those languages. This makes Udemy a great option for those who feel more comfortable learning in other languages. Within its design category, Udemy is strongest in its collection of Photoshop classes.

Great for…Learning Tips from the Stars

MasterClass

Pay-per-class and all-access subscription options

Graphic Design Schools Online: Masterclass

Tapping industry celebrities to share their best insights in exclusive videos, MasterClass lets anyone learn directly from the stars. As of this writing, its design-related courses include several related to filmmaking (learn from Ken Burns, Mira Nair, and Werner Herzog) and photography (learn from Jimmy Chin and Annie Leibovitz), though none yet on graphic design (it’s worth checking back). Some courses come with downloadable materials and office hours, during which you can connect with other learners and possibly have your work critiqued by the instructor.

Great for…Connecting With Creatives

CreativeLive

Free, pay-per-course, and full-access pass options

Graphic Design Schools: Creative Live

With more than 1500 courses for creatives of all stripes, Creative Live offers a variety of learning media—live and on-air classes, recorded classes, podcasts, articles, and in-person events. The Creative Live blog hosts articles full of tips and advice, as well as pieces that spotlight its students’ diverse careers. Apply to be in the live studio audience (it helps if you’re near Seattle or San Francisco), which gives you direct interaction with the instructors and networking opportunities with other learners.

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