What to Learn After Design Theory

Discover the importance of design theory and how it can enhance your career in various design-related industries. Learn about popular programs such as Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator and how they are used to create dynamic designs.

Key Insights

  • Design theory is a system that helps designers understand the impact of their design choices on their audience. It includes key elements like alignment, repetition, contrast, hierarchy, and balance.
  • Design-related careers span various industries, and designers can work in fields like advertising, video editing, magazine publishing, and website creation.
  • Photoshop is an industry-standard software that allows users to create and edit images, making it an essential tool for many designers.
  • InDesign is a popular software used for creating page layouts for a wide range of products, both digital and print.
  • Illustrator is a vector graphics editing and design tool widely used by graphic and web designers for creating and editing logos and icons.
  • Noble Desktop offers design theory courses, in various formats including bootcamps and certificates, that equip students with the skills to create impactful designs.

Knowledge of design theory helps you make stronger designs by teaching you to understand the way that your design choices impact your audience. If you already know how to use design theory, you should learn how to use some specific design programs. Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator are some of the most popular programs designers use to create their designs. We’ll cover these programs below so you have a better understanding of what skill you might want to tackle next. 

What is Design Theory?

Design theory is a system that explains how a design works and why it works that way. Every choice that a designer makes has a specific effect on the audience. For instance, a design can communicate, direct, invite, entice, or excite the viewer. Design theory is a way to understand how and why this happens. It gives designers a deeper understanding of how various design choices work together to communicate a specific message. 

When studying design theory, users will learn about design's key elements, including alignment, repetition, contrast, hierarchy, and balance. These elements all have a specific effect on an audience and are an important part of communicating a message in any design. For instance, contrast emphasizes particular aspects of a design or evokes certain feelings in the viewer. Balance can create a feeling of tension or stability, both of which affect the viewer in different ways.

Designers who understand design theory can make better creative choices because they know how these choices will affect an audience. They combine a knowledge of design elements with the specific purpose a design intends to achieve. Thanks to understanding how design works, designers can create a finished product that looks the way they want it to and does what they intend.

Read more about what design theory is and why you should learn it. 

What Can You Do with Design Theory?

Design-related careers exist in different industries, and design theory is an essential foundation for many jobs. Designers work in fields like advertising, video editing, magazine publishing, and website creation. They create an array of different products, including advertisements, website graphics, and product packaging. Some designers work on digital designs, such as social media graphics, while others design for non-digital products, like books or business cards.

Almost every industry needs designers, so there will likely be a design job to match every interest. Web design is one popular field that involves creating and maintaining websites. Motion design is another popular design career. In this job, designers apply graphic design principles to filmmaking and video production. Augmented reality design is a newer design field. Designers who work in augmented reality enhance the real-world environment with virtual content, helping to improve the way people interact with the world.


Adobe Photoshop is a software program that allows users to create and edit images and photos. For instance, users can create graphics, combine custom images, and enhance and retouch photos. One thing that makes Photoshop unique is that users can create multiple layers in their designs and edit them independently. Because of its versatility, Photoshop has become the industry standard for many different types of design, making it a good choice for designers looking to learn a design tool.


InDesign is another popular Adobe application. This publishing software lets users create page layouts for a wide range of products, including books, magazines, brochures, comics, and business cards. It can be used for both digital and print products. InDesign users can create images in other applications, such as Photoshop, and then incorporate them into layouts using InDesign.


Many designers also decide to learn Adobe Illustrator, a vector graphics editing and design tool. Illustrator lets designers create designs and resize them without losing image quality. It is a popular tool for graphic designers and also for web designers. For instance, graphic designers use it to create logos and icons, which they can easily resize or edit as needed.

Learn Design Theory with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

No matter your schedule or learning style, you can find a design theory course at Noble Desktop. The school runs many different in-person classes at its Manhattan campus, as well as a variety of online courses. Whether online or in-person, all class groups are small and feature instructors who are experts in their fields. In addition, Noble offers a free retake option, where students can choose to retake a course once within a year. Students who opt for the free retake can gain additional design skills without paying for another class.

Design classes come in many different forms. Design bootcamps are one popular way to learn design theory and other design skills and can be a good way for students to master new skills quickly. Graphic Design Portfolio Bootcamp is just one of many different design bootcamps offered by Noble Desktop. In this class, students learn graphic design theory and techniques. For students interested in other types of design, Noble provides a long list of different bootcamps, including a Sketch Bootcamp and a UI Design Bootcamp.

A design certificate can be a good option for those who want more in-depth training. These courses generally run longer than bootcamps and provide a deeper level of design education. Digital Design Certificate is one of Noble’s many certificate classes in the design field. This course is intended to create well-rounded Digital Designers and includes vital design concepts and theory. Like many other bootcamps, it also provides job support.

Key Insights

Education in design theory will help you understand how to create better designs. However, you also need to know how to make those designs a reality. By learning Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, or other design tools, you’ll have the technical ability to create your designs.

  • Photoshop is the industry standard for many types of design. It lets you create and edit images and photographs.
  • Knowledge of InDesign will allow you to create page layouts for a range of products, such as magazines, brochures, and business cards.
  • Illustrator is a popular vector graphic editing and design tool.

Noble Desktop offers many design classes where you can learn how to use these design tools and many others.

How to Learn Design Theory

Master design theory and graphic design with hands-on training. Design theory is the study of how elements like color, typography, and space can be used to create aesthetically pleasing and effective designs.

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