10 Sites to Find Free Graphic Design Courses Online

Free online courses in graphic design are offered by real schools. Learn which graphic design courses are available, what topics they cover and which ones lead to real college credit.

Online Course Info and Requirements

Graphic design tutorials are typically found on designer websites and through blogs; however, some colleges may offer graphic design courses online. Colleges and universities offering courses typically do not offer credit, and students may need to have access to specific software, such as Adobe Flash, Illustrator or Photoshop, to get the full benefit of the tutorial.

African Virtual University

One of the schools listed in the Open Courseware Consortium, African Virtual University offers a course that provides an overview of graphic tools. Multimedia Design and Applications is available in a full module and offers further readings. The course examines digital resources, web design and 3D objects.


About.com offers a variety of free lessons on graphic design. Graphic Design Basics teaches users the fundamentals of graphic design by demonstrating the elements and principles of the field through two basic classes. Introduction to the Elements of Design teaches users about shapes, lines, texture, mass and color. Within the course, students will create a folder of design samples to use throughout the individual lessons.

Absolute Cross

Absolute Cross offers users free tutorials on graphic design and Photoshop. How to Use Drupal's Contemplate Module requires users to download a module before beginning the tutorial focused on learning how to detail aspects of HTML code. Within the Typewriter tutorial, students will learn to use Adobe Flash to create an animated graphic typewriter effect without using Actionscripts.

Palomar College

Independent learners at Palomar have access to lessons, examples and projects. Users will learn through the completion of projects and will have access to student work to use for examples. The Design and Composition program is broken down into five different parts. Topics include color, the design process, symmetry and linear perspective.

Planet Photoshop

Planet Photoshop offers various tutorials and videos to users for free on a variety of subjects related to Photoshop. Long Exposure Slap Zoom Effect is focused on creating a zoom effect for images using Photoshop. This tutorial takes users through a step-by-step process of creating this visual effect. Proper use of the pen tool is the focus of the Your Pen Tool tutorial. Learners receive instruction on using the pen tool to create various shapes.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

For this course, MIT offers lecture notes, exams and assignments with no solutions. The Computer Graphics course includes 23 lectures that are offered in PDF format. The course covers topics like transformations, animation and color effects.

University of California - Berkeley

The UC - Berkeley offers a wealth of digital media tutorials through the KDMC. These free tutorials feature several lessons. CSS Layout with HTML5 trains learners to structure a document and create gradients and floating images; the tutorial also explores typography on the web. Multimedia Storytelling examines concepts in storyboarding and editing, along with using video and graphics. In Building Flash Templates, learners complete 11 different lessons examining topics in background creation, button editing, sections and setup.


W3schools.com instructs users on the basics of HTML through a variety of web tutorials that offer several different lessons. Course materials for HTML Tutorial include quizzes, references and exams. Within the tutorial, students explore concepts in formatting, blocks, layouts, elements and links.

Web Design from Scratch

Web Design from Scratch offers free tips and tutorials to use to design more efficient websites. How to Learn Web Design goes over the essentials of learning how to design a web page and offers resources users can use to learn more. What is the Relationship Between Graphic Design and Web Design? describes what makes an effective website while teaching visitors the difference between graphic design and web design.


Youthedesigner.com offers free online graphic designer tutorials that feature a variety of lessons and step-by-step instructions. Adobe InDesign Tutorials for Beginners includes 11 lessons covering type, frames, graphics and layouts. The 5 Amazing Vector Portrait Tutorials! course demonstrates how to create vector portraits using a variety of styles, such as geometric styles, textured effects and layering, using Adobe Illustrator software.

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