How to Learn Graphic Design

Looking to advance your creative skills and boost your career opportunities? Explore the vast possibilities offered by professional graphic design training, learn to use industry-standard tools like Photoshop and Illustrator, and discover how this creative process allows you to communicate effectively and persuasively to your intended audience.

Key Insights

  • Graphic design is a wide-ranging field encompassing various creative processes like blending text, graphics, images, and colors to create persuasive visual communication.
  • Multiple training methods are available for learning graphic design, including live in-person and online courses, which provide direct feedback from experienced instructors.
  • On-demand graphic design courses offer flexibility in learning pace and schedule, although they may lack real-time instructor feedback.
  • Free tutorials for graphic design tools like Photoshop and Illustrator are readily available, providing an excellent starting point for beginners.
  • Noble Desktop provides various course options for graphic design training, suitable for different learning styles and prerequisites.
  • Learning graphic design not only enhances creative skills but also opens doors to an in-demand career field, with applications across numerous industries.

Graphic design skills teach creatives how to communicate effectively using digital graphic design tools like Photoshop and Illustrator. Anyone looking to expand their creative possibilities or pick up in-demand career skills may wish to consider professional graphic design training. The number of options for learning Graphic Design might be overwhelming at first glance. There are books, video tutorials, classes, and more to choose from; it all depends on your learning style and personal preferences.

Here, we’ll discuss the various methods of learning Graphic Design so you can decide how you’d like to get started.

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 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.

In-Person Graphic Design Training

The most traditional method of skills training is live, in-person instruction. These courses come with many significant advantages. Students will be able to learn directly from experienced instructors, and they will be able to gain vital networking opportunities working with like-minded colleagues. The drawback to these courses is that most service providers only offer classes at their own campuses, meaning that these classes can be restricted to major cities like Chicago, New York City, and Seattle.

Noble Desktop offers graphic design training courses at its Manhattan campus. Students able to commute to New York City will be able to receive training from Noble’s expert instructors and take advantage of their on-site computer labs. Students unable to attend Noble’s classes may look at service providers in their area, such as Luminous Work Training in Seattle or Digital Workshop Center in Denver. Please consult Noble's Classes Near Me tool to learn what live graphic design training options are available in your area.

Live Online Graphic Design Training

Students who can’t attend the in-person training course they desire may wish to consider live online training. These courses maintain many of the advantages of live in-person instruction while allowing students to learn from anywhere. Students can still interface directly with talented instructors and receive feedback on their work. The drawback to these courses is that students will need to supply and maintain their own technology, which can be difficult for students learning several design programs at once.

Noble offers all of its in-person training options through live online instruction classes. These courses give students the same perks of in-person training, including free retakes and one-on-one career mentoring, meaning that online students won’t miss out on any of the advantages of a life instruction course. Live online classes are also offered through many other service providers. Students interested in learning about their options for live online graphic design instruction should consult Noble’s Classes Near Me tool.

Free Online Courses & Tutorials

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.

On-Demand Graphic Design Classes

Students looking for more flexibility in their graphic design training may wish to explore on-demand courses. These courses let students move at their own pace and set their own schedule for training. This can be ideal for students who cannot attend regular classes because of work and family obligations or feel they would benefit from a more open-ended learning environment. The downside to these courses is that without a live instructor to provide feedback, students may advance their designs slowly once they have gotten the hang of the tools they are using.

Moreso than live training courses, on-demand learning options vary in content and cost. Some are comprised of pre-recorded lectures, some are hands-on modules, and others are a combination of the two. Some courses have an upfront cost, while others are part of a premium subscription service. Noble offers a comparison tool through their Classes Near Me page to help students find and compare their options for on-demand graphic design courses.

Which Learning Method is Right for Me?

Students interested in learning graphic design may be intimidated by the numerous options available. They can learn in person or online. They can learn in real-time or asynchronously. They can learn many programs at once, or they can learn programs individually. This section highlights differences between these options to help students make more informed decisions about their training practices.

The most immersive training option will be live in-person training. These courses will give students direct access to skilled instructors who are prepared to answer their questions, provide feedback, and guide them through the graphic design learning process. These courses tend to be some of the most expensive options, but they provide students with the best return on their investment. The downside to these courses is that there are several hidden costs associated with in-person learning (such as travel and food expenses). Because they are in-person, many students may find it difficult or impossible to attend specific training programs outside of their area.

Live online instruction retains almost all of the advantages of in-person learning (except for, possibly, networking opportunities). Students can take these courses from anywhere, and allow students to receive the same high-quality instruction and feedback without being restricted to the training centers in a single physical location. The drawback to these courses is that while in-person training centers will almost always provide students with the hardware and software they need to practice graphic design, live online courses rarely, if ever, do this. This means that students will have to maintain their technology and control the status of their workstations, which can mean that an online course will subtly cost more money, time, and energy for students.

Students seeking more flexibility in their learning schedule may opt for an on-demand, asynchronous training course. These courses give students control over the pace of their skills training, letting them speed up or slow down as their schedules allow. These courses are ideal for students who lack a fixed schedule or worry that live instruction may not be right for them. These courses come with the drawback of requiring students to self-motivate and monitor their own progress in a way that some students find overwhelming. In addition, an essential part of any graphic design training program is the chance to receive feedback on one’s designs, which may be difficult for students to receive in an on-demand course.

Why Learn Graphic Design?

Learning graphic design skills, particularly industry-standard tools like Photoshop or InDesign, will allow students to expand their creative talents while opening the door to an in-demand career field. Learning graphic design skills will help creatives turn their passions into professions, as graphic design skills are utilized in dozens of industries to communicate important information and ideas to consumers and communities. Whether working in a small business to help establish a brand identity, working for a non-profit to build infographics, working for a politician to produce campaign material, or working for a massive company designing advertising campaigns, anyone whose job involves attempting to persuade an audience will benefit from learning graphic design skills.

Graphic design training can also help non-professional creatives gain new skills that they can use to expand their artistic abilities. Most graphic design training emphasizes either theory of design and composition or the specific tools that professional Graphic Designers commonly use. Learning applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign will expand the scope of projects that creatives can work on. Even if they aren’t intending to switch career paths because of their graphic design training, learning how to use these tools will open up new opportunities for artistic and creative expression.

Read more about why you should learn graphic design.

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.

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 creative process that involves blending text, graphics, images, and colors to communicate to audiences and persuade them of an intended message.
  • Students can look towards several types of graphic design training if they want to learn graphic design.
  • Students can learn graphic design through live training courses, both in-person and online. These courses allow students to receive direct feedback on their work from live instructors.
  • Students seeking more flexibility in their training may wish to consider on-demand graphic design courses. These courses let students control the pace of their learning. However, without a live instructor to provide feedback, students will need to find other ways to get responses to their designs.
  • Free tutorials are available for almost all graphic design tools. These are ideal for helping students get comfortable with the applications and can help ease students into more advanced training options.
  • Regardless of how one learns graphic design, Noble Desktop offers course options suitable for their needs.

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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