List of Free Online Design Courses, Lessons and Tutorials

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

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Free Online Course Info and Requirements

OpenCourseWare lessons, courses and tutorials are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. There are a variety of free online courses in different design disciplines, including architecture, computing and general product design. These courses do not generally offer credit.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advertising and Commercial Design
  • Commercial Photography
  • Fashion Design
  • General Visual Communications Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration and Drawing
  • Industrial Design
  • Interior Design and Decorating

Free Online Design Course List

New Jersey Institute of Technology

  • Advanced Online Design includes video lectures and tutorials on multimedia and website design. Students learn techniques in podcasting, photo editing and graphic design. Users should have access to Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, as well as photo editing software.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Communicating in Cyberspace focuses on web design. Students learn by viewing examples of positive and negative website designs. A few lecture notes are available, along with the reading list. Some of the reading materials are available online.
  • Principles of Computer System Design: An Introduction includes a link to the current face-to-face class, with lecture notes, lecture slides and daily assignments, in addition to an archive of past quizzes and design projects. Part I of this course is based on the first six chapters of the textbook, available through Amazon in print or as an e-book. The last five chapters of the text form the basis for part II of this course, and those are available as free, online resources. Credits are not conferred for this course.
  • Architectural Design: Intentions aims to help students develop architectural perspectives and conceptual skills through drawing exercises. The online materials include assignment details, project examples and lecture notes. Students complete two main projects that include conceptualizing and sketching new building designs.
  • Introduction to Design Computing guides students through the architectural design process using computer modeling, from project conception to fabrication. In addition to course lecture notes and assignments, students have access to examples of final design projects from previous students.
  • Product Design and Development looks at the conception and creation of new products and objects through lecture notes and project examples in this non-credit course. Topics include the steps of the product design process, such as tools, idea conception, engineering and manufacturing. Sample assignments and a suggested reading list are available.
  • Game Design covers the history, evolution and future of all types of games, including board games, game shows and sports. The materials for this free online course include a syllabus, lecture notes, photos and a reading list. The assignments include two essays and two design projects.

Stanford University

  • Entrepreneurial Thought Leader Speaker Series on Product Design is a 12-part video lecture series covering the entire process of product design, from conception to developing prototypes. Specific topics include career advice, identifying audiences, marketing and user-centered designs. Credits are not awarded for viewing these lectures.

Tufts University

  • Blender 2.6x - 3D Design is a non-credit, undergraduate graphic design course that teaches learners to use Blender software to create 3-D animations and models. Students learn through online tutorials, lecture notes and projects. Users must have computers that meet software and hardware requirements.
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