Which Graphic Design Training Format Is Right for Me?

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

Teaser: Discover the power of graphic design and explore diverse career opportunities that come with it. Get insights into the different formats of graphic design training and how to choose the one that suits you.

Key Insights

  • Graphic design is a wide-ranging field of visual expression that is widely used in different industries, particularly advertising and branding.
  • A career in graphic design involves creating evocative imagery that conveys complex persuasive ideas to audiences of consumers. This can range from designing logos and branded merchandise to creating assets for digital projects like webpages and mobile applications.
  • Graphic design training can take many forms, including live in-person instruction, live online training, free online courses and tutorials, and on-demand classes. The choice largely depends on your professional aspirations and the number of tools you want to learn.
  • Noble Desktop offers a variety of graphic design training options, both in-person and online. These include bootcamps for individual graphic design tools and comprehensive programs like the Graphic Design Certificate program.
  • Although it's possible to self-teach graphic design, having access to a trained instructor who can provide feedback is critical for mastering this creative skill.
  • Salaries for positions in graphic design can vary greatly depending on the industry and one's level of expertise. However, by developing a strong skillset and gaining experience, a career in graphic design can be financially rewarding.

Graphic design is the art of building evocative visual compositions by combining text, graphics, images, and color. Graphic design training will help students become better equipped to work with digital design tools, expanding their creative skillset and opening the door to a number of different in-demand careers. When comparing types of graphic design 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 graphic design training, how they compare to each other, and how to determine which is best for you.

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.

Training Formats for Graphic Design

Graphic design training can take many different forms. Students can enroll in live training courses in-person and online or look at on-demand and self-paced training options to fit their busy schedules. Read on to learn more about the options available to students and how they differ.

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 Classes

Students looking for more flexibility in their graphic design training may want to consider on-demand graphic design training. These courses let students control the pace of their own learning, letting them study and practice their graphic design skills when it is most convenient for them. These classes are ideal for students with inconsistent schedules or other obligations that make live training impossible. The downside to these courses is that without a live instructor, there is no one to provide feedback on a student’s designs, which is a vital aspect of creative skills development.

Comparison of Graphic Design Training Formats

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 many 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). These courses can be taken 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 progress in a way that some students find overwhelming. In addition, an important 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.

Is it Possible to Teach Yourself Graphic Design?

Self-teaching graphic design can be done, but it is incredibly difficult for anyone who doesn’t have significant experience in visual design. While it may be tempting to self-teach graphic design skills, students who take this route will run into several roadblocks that can hinder their progress.

In terms of learning tools, students can fairly effectively teach themselves how to navigate and use applications like Photoshop or Illustrator. While more professional training may be required, students can become comfortable using these programs by simply relying on the free resources that are available to them. This won’t be enough to train them how to use the programs professionally, but they can certainly self-teach to the point of being ready to experiment with graphic design techniques.

The techniques of graphic design are much harder to self-teach. Since it is a creative skill, most learning comes through practice. This practice can be difficult to do properly without another experienced designer who can provide feedback and assistance for novices. Like learning to draw or play a musical instrument, having access to a trained instructor who can assist a student find their footing is a vital part of the learning process, and attempting to self-teach may end with students ingraining bad habits into their design process.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn Graphic Design

The best way to learn graphic design will primarily depend on two factors: a student’s professional aspirations and how many different tools they want to learn how to use. Students hoping to build a career out of their graphic design training will need more detailed hands-on instruction than those wishing to expand their creative toolkits. Likewise, students hoping to learn how to use Photoshop will need less detailed training than students looking to master all of the Adobe Creative Cloud programs.

Students looking to learn the basics of graphic design without spending too much time and money should consider free training seminars, such as Noble’s Intro to Graphic Design course. These free training seminars are ideal for students looking to become familiar with graphic design tools and techniques, but they aren’t certain that they want to build a career out of those skills.

Students hoping to expand their creative skills by learning a new graphic design tool may want to consider a specialized bootcamp. These bootcamps, available for programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, will teach students how to build vibrant graphic designs using the advanced features of a specific application. These training courses are especially valuable for students who have experience with other graphic design programs or who already work in the industry and want to expand their skill set to become more desirable in the eyes of prospective employers.

For students who want to build a career out of graphic design skills, professional career training, like that offered through Noble’s Graphic Design Certificate program, is an ideal way to build a new career. These career training programs will teach students all the major tools they need to succeed in graphic design, making them ideal for novices. In addition, these courses aim to prepare students for entering the workforce, meaning that many of them build career professionalization training, such as one-on-one mentorship and dedicated portfolio-building exercises, into their curriculum.

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.

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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