Which Design Theory Training Format Is Right for Me?

Compare Learning Methods: In-Person, Live Online, On-Demand, and Tutorials

Design theory is a foundational aspect of careers in various creative industries, including advertising, video editing, and website creation. For those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of how design choices affect an audience, on-demand, in-person, or live online classes in design theory can help catapult your career to the next level.

Key Insights

  • Design theory is a system that explains how a design works and why it works that way. It includes key elements such as alignment, repetition, contrast, hierarchy, and balance.
  • Design-related careers exist in numerous industries, including advertising, video editing, magazine publishing, and website creation. Knowledge of design theory is essential for these jobs.
  • Design theory can be learned in-person, live online, or on-demand. Each method of training offers unique advantages and disadvantages, depending on individual learning styles, schedules, and finances.
  • Noble Desktop offers various design theory classes in all formats - in-person, live online, and on-demand. The school also offers free online resources in the form of tutorials and seminars on its YouTube channel.
  • While self-learning is an option for design theory, investing in a professional training class can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the topic. This option ensures that students receive legitimate information from expert instructors.
  • Salaries in design-related careers vary, but a deeper understanding of design theory can lead to higher-paying positions. A professional training class is often an investment that pays off in the long run.

Design theory gives designers a deeper understanding of how and why their design choices affect an audience. An education in design theory can help designers create more effective work and avoid common design mistakes. It can also make them more attractive to clients. When comparing types of design theory training, there are many factors to consider. Everyone learns differently, and choosing the right training is critical to your experience.

Keep reading to learn more about the different formats of design theory training, how they compare, and how to determine which is best for you.

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.

Training Formats for Design Theory

Design theory can be learned in-person, live online, or on demand. Each type of training has advantages and disadvantages, and the decision about which format to select depends on factors such as an individual’s learning style, schedule, and financial situation.

In-Person Design Theory Training

In-person learning is a popular way to learn design theory for several reasons. One of the most significant advantages of an in-person classroom is that students can engage in live conversation with the instructor and other students. Many people find this the most effective way to learn a new subject. The traditional classroom setting also lacks many distractions that students might encounter at home and can make it easier to focus on the lesson. However, in-person classes are less flexible, offering instruction only at certain times and locations.

Students who prefer in-person training can take in-person design theory classes through Noble Desktop. The Classes Near Me tool is an easy way to find out what classes the school offers. Noble Desktop’s campus is conveniently located near many public transportation hubs in New York City. The school sees students from all over the city and nearby areas such as New Jersey and Philadelphia.

Live Online Design Theory Training

Live online design theory classes give students more flexibility than in a traditional classroom setting but still provide an interactive educational experience with a live instructor. Some students prefer online courses because they feel more comfortable asking questions behind screens. Live online classes also typically allow interaction with other students, further enhancing the learning experience. Students who choose live online courses can attend from anywhere in the world or from the comfort of their homes.

A disadvantage of live online instruction is that students must log on at a specific time to attend each session. Students may also find that a home environment has more distractions than a classroom setting. For this reason, teachers suggest that people who study from home set up a dedicated study area to reduce distractions.

Noble Desktop offers many live online design theory classes, all available to find using the Classes Near Me tool. Other schools also teach live online design classes, including Designlab and Creative Live.

Free Online Courses & Tutorials

Users serious about learning design theory may want to invest in a professional training class. However, there are many free online options for those who would like a free introduction to the topic before committing to a paid course. Noble Desktop provides free tutorials and seminars on its YouTube channel. These include a seminar on typography and Get Started in Design, a tutorial that gives viewers an overview of the many different types of digital design.

Other websites also offer free design theory classes. For example, Udemy has graphic design classes that cover design theory. Coursera also teaches several different design classes, including user interface design. Some providers offer introductory courses for free but require users to pay for their premium content.

Free design classes are a valuable resource, but students must ensure that any information they access online is reliable and current. Because the internet is so accessible, designers can benefit from a wealth of free information. However, the ease of putting information online also means that not all of it is credible. Before watching a tutorial or reading an article online, students should research the source of that information to make sure that it is trustworthy.

Read about more free design theory videos and online tutorials.

On-Demand Classes

Students who need a more flexible option can choose an on-demand design theory class. Participants typically need to be more self-motivated in an on-demand course since these classes let them work at their own pace. However, many find this flexible schedule more compatible with a busy schedule.

Comparison of Design Theory Training Formats

Students who want to learn design theory can choose between in-person, live online, and on-demand classes. While online courses have become increasingly popular in recent years, many people still feel that in-person instruction is the best option. In 2020, global management and consulting firm McKinsey & Company questioned more than 2,500 teachers in eight different countries about the effectiveness of remote versus in-person learning. Teachers gave remote learning an average score of five out of ten compared to in-person learning. However, each type of instruction has different advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of which class to take depends on the unique circumstances of the individual student.

Proponents of in-person learning argue that it is the best way to learn new material because of its interactive and engaging format. Students in a live classroom setting can get immediate instructor feedback and interact and connect with fellow students. Further, they may have access to tools such as up-to-date software and computer labs, which are lacking in a home environment.

For students who want live instruction but cannot make it to in-person classes, live online classes can be a good alternative. These classes still provide live feedback and interaction, but students don’t have to commute. Students of live online classes can attend from a completely different city or country if they can log on at the scheduled time. In a live online class, students can ask questions just as they would in a live classroom, and some even prefer doing so from behind a screen rather than being in a room full of people.

A final way to learn design theory is with an on-demand class. On-demand classes lack the benefits of live instruction, and students must ensure that the curriculum is updated. However, the on-demand format does have some advantages. On-demand courses offer a high level of flexibility, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. These types of classes are also typically cheaper than live instruction.

Is it Possible to Teach Yourself Design Theory?

Even a quick online search of design theory will yield a long list of different articles, videos, and tutorials on the topic. Individuals with the time and motivation can teach themselves some of the fundamental concepts of design theory. For instance, Noble Desktop provides free design tutorials and seminars on its YouTube channel. Free resources like this can be a good way for users to get a feel for the topic and decide whether it is something they want to pursue further.

However, those serious about learning design theory may want to invest in a professional training class. Professional classes feature expert instructors who can explain complex concepts and answer students' questions. With an experienced instructor, students can also rest assured that they receive legitimate information rather than wondering which of the many free resources in their internet search contain correct information.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn Design Theory

Designers who want to learn design theory have some different options. The decision about which learning path to choose will depend on what they plan to do with their design skills. Students also need to consider cost since tuition for design classes varies widely. In addition, course selection will be influenced by how much time students devote to their design education. Design classes range from short sessions that only last a day to courses that require months of full-time study.

Those who are just getting into the design field and aren’t ready to invest a lot of money in classes can find some free courses that will give them a basic education on design theory. For instance, Noble Desktop provides free design seminars that give students a good overview of various design topics. These include Intro to Figma and Get Started in Motion Graphics.

For many people, free design theory classes aren’t enough, and they need to invest in paid courses. Paid design classes give a much more in-depth understanding of the topic and leave students well-prepared to work in their chosen field. With paid classes, students have knowledgeable instructors to answer questions and often receive additional mentoring outside of scheduled class time. Noble has a wide range of design classes, both full-time and part-time, live online or in-person, at its New York City campus.

Design classes vary in complexity. Some are shorter and designed to fill a skill gap or help designers advance within their current roles. For example, workshops like UX Design in a Day or bootcamps like Motion Graphics Portfolio Bootcamp give students a shorter and more intense education in various design fields. For those who want a more in-depth understanding of design theory, there are longer classes, such as Noble Desktop’s certificate programs. These include the Graphic Design Certificate and Web Design Certificate. These comprehensive programs teach fundamentals and help students start building a portfolio.

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.

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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