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9 Best Graphic Design Courses of 2021

  • Published on August 17, 2021
best graphic design courses

The team of graphic design experts at American Graphics Institute has assembled a list of the 9 best graphic design courses and classes for 2021. This includes both graphic design courses online as well as graphic design classes in-person, offered with live instructors, along with free graphic design tutorials. The best graphic design courses list includes introduction, intermediate, and advanced classes to cover the needs of beginner through advanced learners. The experts who assembled this list are the authors of multiple graphic design books, have a formal education in design, and teach graphic design courses. Information about each graphic design course includes the topics, format, and benefits. This list has been updated for August 2021.
 

Best Graphic Design Courses and Classes

  • Graphic Design Certificate

  • Graphic Design Principles Course

  • UX Design Principles

  • Typography

  • InDesign for Graphic Design

  • Photoshop  for Graphic Design

  • Illustrator for Graphic Design

  • Graphic Design Bootcamp

  • Graphic Design Project

 

The 9 Best Graphic Design Courses and Tutorials 2021

Graphic Design Certificate

The graphic design certificate is a series of graphic design courses teaching principles, skills, and use of digital tools in the graphic design process. Participants learn foundational graphic design principles to understand space, form, and function. Additionally, courses in modern graphic design tools teach skills relating to image editing, illustration, and page layout. Participants learn to effectively use Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign to retouch, draw, and create layouts.

This graphic design program consists of more than 110 hours of class time, and can be completed part-time or full-time. A graphic design certificate is awarded upon completion. The courses use hands-on projects to teach design form, function, and tools. Participants in this graphic design course complete the program with a graphic design portfolio and also are able to work with a career counselor for job placement if desired.

Benefits of the Graphic Design Certificate:

  • Learn principles of graphic design process

  • Discover common graphic design tools and applications

  • Learn InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop

  • Find out how to effectively use form and function

  • Learn typography and other core design principles

  • Create flyers, brochures, posters, and catalogs

  • Complete a graphic design project and portfolio

  • Build a portfolio for career placement

Format: Live courses meet at scheduled times either online or in person

Graphic Design Certificate details and dates

 

Graphic Design Workshop: Fundamentals of Graphic Design 

The graphic design workshop is a hands-on course that teaches core graphic design skills and concepts. The workshop also teaches theories, layout, type, and color to help participants make effective design choices. This course uses many exercises and projects to help participants learn more about design principles and apply concepts. This is a one-day graphic design course, led by a live instructor from American Graphics Institute..

Benefits of the Graphic Design Certificate:

  • Learn the importance of good design

  • Understand typography

  • Learn design process and structure

  • Find out about use of space and white space

  • Learn the effective use of type

  • Gain an understanding of design proportions

  • Discover how color influences graphic design

Format: Live course meets at scheduled times either online or in person

Graphic Design workshop details and dates

 

UX Design Principles Workshop

The field of user experience (UX) is a specialized subset of graphic design that combines design, psychology, and research. As graphic design crosses into the realm of designing websites and apps, this graphic design course provides participants with a solid foundation of how to apply design principles to digital interfaces that require human interaction. Participants learn skills necessary for designing user interfaces that are useful and well designed. The course involves projects that span the entire design process including research, planning, and prototyping.This course combines both analog processes and digital design tools.

Benefits of the UX Design Course:

  • Learn the design process for websites and apps

  • Gain fundamental design skills

  • Find out how to sketch screens

  • Discover the process of prototyping in design

  • Learn how to build wireframes

  • Discover how validate designs

Format: Live course meets at scheduled times either online or in person

UX course details and dates
 

Typography Course for Graphic Design

Typography is a component of graphic design focused on the use of type within designs. In this specialized graphic design course, learn to communicate designs effectively using type, and which type is most effective based upon scenarios and use. Gain an understanding of type principles, rules, and terminology. Find out about type rules that improve design and make designs more readable and easier to use.

Benefits of the UX Design Course:

  • Learn to communicate effectively using type

  • Determine which typefaces are best for specific projects

  • Understand typography rules

  • Learn typography terms and concepts

  • Discover ways to make text more readable

  • Learn how to fine-tune text

  • Creating clear and professional type

Format: Live course meets at scheduled times either online or in person

Typography Course details and dates

 

InDesign Bootcamp for Graphic Design

InDesign is important for graphic designers to learn. This graphic design course is  focused on the use of InDesign, which is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, to create page layouts for flyers, brochures, magazines, and catalogs. As a widely used graphic design software tool, InDesign is used for both print and digital projects. Graphic designers use this to combine text, images, illustration, color and shapes to convey messages, information, and meaning with completed designs. Participants in this course learn to apply graphic design skills to create layouts using InDesign including flyers, brochures, newsletters. The course uses hands-on projects and is led by a live instructor.

Benefits of the InDesign Course for Graphic Design:

  • Learn create layouts

  • Understand InDesign tools

  • Find out how to control text formatting, appearance, and linking

  • Learn to place images into layouts, controlling size and positioning

  • Discover how to apply and use color effectively in designs

  • Learn to share completed graphic design projects in various formats

  • Create layouts as part of in-class projects

Format: Live course meets at scheduled times either online or in person

InDesign Bootcamp details and dates

 

Photoshop Course for Graphic Design

Photoshop is an essential skill for graphic designers. This graphic design course emphasizes the efficient use of Photoshop as part of the tools used by graphic designers within the  Adobe Creative Cloud. Participants learn to retouch existing images, combine photos, add text, and make images with impact. This course teaches graphic designers to create and edit images for web, video, and print purposes. As a powerful and professional tool, Photoshop includes many options which this course helps to demystify. Participants learn to adjust color and contrast, use layers for nondestructive editing, apply creative effects, and combine images from different sources into a single file. Participants also learn to prepare and export images into a variety of formats for use on websites, social media, video, and in print. Packed with hands-on projects, and led by a live instructor, participants gain real world experience that can be immediately applied to their own projects.

Benefits of the Photoshop Bootcamp for Graphic Design:

  • Learn to retouch images

  • Learn to apply creative effects to images

  • Find out how to combine multiple photos

  • Discover how to create designs entirely within Photoshop

  • Find out how to adjust image resolution and size

  • Work hands-on with many projects in a live, hands-on class

  • Discover how to export images in a variety of formats

Format: Live course meets at scheduled times either online or in person

Photoshop Bootcamp details and dates

 

Illustrator Course for Graphic Design

When thinking of modern graphic design skills, Illustrator is a requirement. Because it is used for most tasks commonly associated with graphic designers, from creating logos to drawing charts and graphs, Illustrator is a must-have skill. Participants in this class learn modern graphic design skills for drawing and illustration, using the pen tool, brushes, and patterns. They also learn how to organize and structure drawings using layers and layer groups. The workshop provides many hands-on projects, creating logos, drawings, and illustrations along with completed post cards and flyers. A well-rounded approach to learning to create graphic designs using Illustrator is used, with demonstrations and hands-on projects covering the range of course topics. 

As with other courses, this is lled by a live instructor and available online or in-person.

Benefits of the Illustrator Course for Graphic Design:

  • Learn to retouch images

  • Learn to apply creative effects to images

  • Find out how to combine multiple photos

  • Discover how to create designs entirely within Photoshop

  • Find out how to adjust image resolution and size

  • Work hands-on with many projects in a live, hands-on class

  • Discover how to export images in a variety of formats

Format: Live course meets at scheduled times either online or in person

Photoshop Bootcamp details and dates

 

Graphic Design Bootcamp

The graphic design bootcamp offers a well-rounded approach to learning design principles as well as graphic design tools. This graphic design course helps participants learn about form, function, and space along with typography and design approaches. The bootcamp also includes instruction on illustration with Illustrator, page layout with InDesign, and image editing using Photoshop where bootcamp participants learn to draw, create layouts, and retouch images. The program consists of 100 hours of courses, and is available part-time or full-time. This program is similar to the graphic design certificate, although it does not include career placement or portfolio work. The graphic design bootcamp includes many hands-on projects, with classes led by a live instructor.

Benefits of the Graphic Design Bootcamp:

  • Learn graphic design principles

  • Find out how to use the most popular graphic design software programs

  • Learn Creative Cloud software applications 

  • Discover how to use space and form 

  • Find out more about typography and design

  • Create flyers, brochures, postcards, and posters

  • Complete a capstone graphic design project

Format: Live courses meet at scheduled times either online or in person

Graphic Design Bootcamp details and dates
 

Graphic Design Portfolio

This graphic design course provides an opportunity to complete your portfolio with the assistance of a practicing professional. Learn options for presenting your portfolio content, how to determine what to include in your graphic design portfolio, and how to best present your projects. This course is typically offered for participants in the Graphic Design Certificate program, although according to American Graphics Institute, participation is being expanded to include any graphic designer that wants assistance in curating, organizing, and presenting their portfolio. This course typically occurs over a one to two day span of time.

Benefits of the Graphic Design Portfolio:

  • Discover options for digital portfolios

  • Determine which projects to include in your portfolio

  • Learn how to best represent your work

  • Find out how to share and showcase your work

Format: Live courses meet at scheduled times either online or in person

Graphic Design Portfolio details

About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics training along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.