How Long Does it Take to Learn Graphic Design?

Aspiring Graphic Designers can learn basic graphic design skills quickly, often mastering programs like Photoshop and Illustrator in just a few days, but becoming proficient requires continued practice and dedication. The field of graphic design is broad and diverse, offering opportunities in every industry particularly advertising and branding, and can be pursued in both professional and personal contexts.

Key Insights

  • Graphic design is a creative field that involves the use of visual elements to communicate complex ideas and emotions that language alone cannot express.
  • Graphic design skills are utilized in virtually every industry but are especially prominent in advertising and branding.
  • Mastering graphic design can take a few weeks to several months or even years, as it requires repeated practice and training.
  • Learning graphic design can be expedited by understanding principles of design and composition and regularly practicing and receiving feedback.
  • Noble Desktop offers comprehensive graphic design training courses, both in-person and online, taught by experienced instructors.
  • The cost of practicing graphic design can vary greatly depending on the number and type of programs a designer wishes to use, with single program licenses costing roughly 20 dollars a month and full Adobe Creative Cloud access costing upwards of sixty dollars a month.

Like many aspiring Graphic Designers, you might want to learn graphic design but worry that it will take too much time. Since graphic design is a creative skill, learning the tools and techniques will be relatively quick. Users can pick up the basics of programs like Photoshop and Illustrator in only a few days. However, mastering graphic design skills will take much longer, as mastering these tools is more contingent on practice and dedication than anything else. Of course, this depends on several factors. Keep reading about how you can learn graphic design and some resources to help speed the process along.

What is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is a field of creative arts that focuses on projecting visual communication, often built of combinations of text, images, photographs, and other visual elements, with specific goals. Graphic design covers a wide array of different artistic disciplines and endeavors. Still, at its core, it is the act of using visual imagery to communicate with audiences and convey feelings and ideas that language alone wouldn’t be able to express. As a subset of the fine arts, graphic design skills are used in virtually every industry, but they are particularly prominent in advertising and branding. Advertisements, product packaging, logos, branded merchandise, and other promotional materials all demonstrate graphic design skills. Any business or organization looking to reach an audience will want to hire those skilled in graphic design.

Since graphic design covers a wide range of artistic disciplines, no two Graphic Designers will be working with the same toolset or on the same kinds of projects. Some will work in traditional print mediums, such as the publishing or magazine industry. Some will work on designing logos and branded merchandise for companies to place on billboards, hats, and other promotional materials. Some will work on digital projects, building webpages and mobile application assets. Others will design infographics, posters, and signage for activist organizations or non-profits. Graphic design is a wide-open field of diverse artistic endeavors, and learning graphic design skills will open many doors for creatives.

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

What Can You Do with Graphic Design?

Graphic design represents a wide-ranging field of visual expression, which means there is virtually no limit to the kinds of images that sufficiently skilled creatives can create. As the field of graphic design is so expensive, creatives can make use of their skills in both professional and personal contexts. As professional Graphic Designers, creatives will be tasked with building imagery that is both evocative and communicates complex persuasive ideas to their audience of consumers. Graphic Designers will build the iconography of companies and brands, build the images that audiences come to associate with those companies, and help construct memorable advertising campaigns, promotional material, and product packaging.

Graphic Design Certificate: Live & Hands-on, In NYC or Online, 0% Financing, 1-on-1 Mentoring, Free Retake, Job Prep. Named a Top Bootcamp by Forbes, Fortune, & Time Out. Noble Desktop. Learn More.

Graphic design skills are also useful for non-professionals who want to persuade large audiences. Small business owners, start-up entrepreneurs, or even creatives working in marketplaces like Etsy may wish to learn more about graphic design to build their brand identities and set themselves apart from their competitors. Activists and organizers can learn graphic design skills to build more visually appealing and persuasive designs for flyers and infographics. Politicians will hire graphic designers to build campaign materials. As long as someone is attempting to communicate visually to an audience, they will benefit from either learning graphic design skills or working closely alongside someone who knows them.

Average Time it Takes to Learn Graphic Design

There is no real average time it takes to learn graphic design because it is a large set of different skills, not a single discipline. Additionally, learning to use graphic design tools, which will only take students a few days to a few weeks, is different from mastering those tools through repeated practice and training. Students looking to become comfortable experimenting with the tools can learn graphic design in only a few weeks. Students looking to master the tools for professional use may take months or even years to become comfortable with them.

Other Factors

Some other factors will impact how long it takes to learn graphic design. These include the number of tools a student intends to use, their familiarity with principles of design and composition, and their ability to practice and receive feedback regularly.

Number of Tools

When starting your graphic design training, it is important to consider how many different graphic design tools you want to learn how to use. Photographers who feel they will only need to learn Photoshop will learn that skill far more quickly than novice users who want to learn Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign in preparation for learning Premiere Pro, for instance.

Familiarity with Design Principles

One way to speed up the process of learning graphic design is to get a background understanding of the principles of design and composition. Knowing how experienced designers make certain decisions or why certain kinds of designs function to communicate specific meaning will go a long way towards helping students avoid common pitfalls and pick up skills faster.

Ability to Practice

Just like drawing or writing, learning graphic design will take practice. Students who have less time to practice or who are unwilling to practice will find that it will take much longer to become proficient with graphic design skills.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost

Students may be worried that learning graphic design will be difficult or costly. For the most part, this isn’t the case. Graphic design tools are fairly easy to learn, and students can become proficient enough in programs like Photoshop and Illustrator within only a few hours of training. The challenge lies in perfecting these skills through constant practice and iteration.

There are no formal prerequisites to learning graphic design, though students should be comfortable using computers and navigating through multiple files, folders, and applications. In addition, while graphic design applications rarely have demanding system requirements, students wanting to learn online should ensure they have the hardware required to run multiple applications simultaneously.

The cost of practicing graphic design will vary depending on the number of programs and the kinds of programs that a designer wishes to work with. Students who want to license a single program, such as Photoshop, may pay about 20 dollars a month. In contrast, students who want to learn the entirety of Adobe Creative Cloud may pay upwards of sixty dollars a month. In addition, students can receive discounts on these programs or search for free alternatives like Inkscape and Darktable.

Read about how difficult it is to learn graphic design.

Watch a Free Graphic Design Online Course

Students who want to get a feel for the process of graphic design before they invest too much time and money into professional training options may wish to take advantage of free online training resources and tutorials. These training resources will help students ease into using tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign and will provide students with the necessary background on composition and design theories and philosophies. While students looking to use their graphic design skills professionally will need more advanced training, these online seminars are a great way to start down the path of graphic design education.

Noble offers a wide array of free graphic design seminars through the Graphic Design playlist on its official YouTube channel and the Free Seminars page on its official website. These courses include free introductory seminars on Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign alongside seminars detailing more general theories of graphic design and its function in various industries. These courses will give students the chance to learn the basic features of graphic design tools to begin experimenting with their own designs and feel more confident in their skills when they enroll in an online course.

Many other service providers offer free online training, including Udemy and Coursera. In addition, for students looking to learn graphic design tools like Photoshop and Illustrator, Adobe provides users with free tutorials and introductory projects through their website.

Read about more free graphic design videos and online tutorials.

Learn Graphic Design with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Interested in learning graphic design? There are a few different options available. It’s possible to either study individual graphic design tools in accelerated bootcamps or learn complementary graphic design skills in more career-focused training programs. Both graphic design training courses are available to students through Noble Desktop, both in-person and online. These courses are taught by experienced instructors who can teach students important graphic design techniques and give them vital feedback on their designs. Even online, Noble strives to keep class sizes small, ensuring that students can interface directly with their instructors. Plus, all of Noble’s courses have the option to retake the course for free within a year. This allows students to hone their skills, cover material that may have given them difficulty, or just get more hands-on practice and feedback on their designs.

For students looking to learn the programs most commonly associated with professional graphic design, Noble offers a wide selection of bootcamps. These include training courses in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, all of which are industry-standard tools. These courses will provide students with hands-on training in the advanced techniques to manipulate and edit photos, build vector graphic illustrations, or construct layout designs. Each of these courses will guide students through practical exercises replicating the kinds of projects built by professional Graphic Designers. Each of these courses will teach an individual tool, but because they are all part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, learning one tool will ease future training and greatly expand how creatives can use multiple programs simultaneously.

Students looking to build a career in graphic design may wish to consider Noble’s Graphic Design Certificate program. This accelerated training program will teach students all three major 2D graphic design tools. Students will learn Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign work separately, then they will learn how these programs complement one another, introducing students to new and expansive ways to build graphic designs. Since this is a career-focused bootcamp, students will receive one-on-one career mentorship. The final portion of the course is dedicated to helping students build a practical portfolio of sample design that they can take onto the job market. For students looking to turn a passion for graphic design into a career, Noble’s certificate programs are an ideal place to receive the necessary skills training.

Key Insights

  • Graphic design is a set of creative skills used to communicate and persuade audiences through visual design.
  • It won’t take students long to pick up the basic skills and techniques associated with graphic design. Users can become comfortable with tools in only a few hours to a few days of training.
  • Mastering graphic design, however, will take a lot longer, since it is more about constantly practicing and iterating on designs than learning how to best use a tool.
  • Students can learn graphic design skills faster by picking up a composition theory background and continuously practicing their craft.
  • Another way to speed up the training process is through live skills instruction, which students can receive both in-person and online through Noble Desktop.

How to Learn Graphic Design

Master graphic design with hands-on training. Graphic design is the production of digital and print media that follows certain conventions of style, color, and typography in order to evoke a positive reaction from its viewers.

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