10 free design courses by Uni of Michigan, CalArts and more

SOURCE: David McNew/Getty Images/AFP
The amount of screens and devices we interact with is only going to increase, which will open a wide range of jobs that need those that are skilled in design.

By U2B Staff 

Read all stories

Design skills have become an integral part of problem-solving across many fields. Today, we interact with more designs in our daily technological lives than we ever have before. 

The number of screens and devices we interact with increase rapidly and developing these require the expertise of skilled designers in more ways than one. 

Design is an exciting, ever-evolving space and the only way to be digitally educated and up-to-date is by upskilling as often as your schedule allows. The number of screens and devices we interact with increase rapidly and developing these require the expertise of skilled designers in more ways than one. 

The principles learned with graphic design are applicable to many design principles, and education is timeless. Switching areas can be done by simply building on your existing design skills or gaining new ones by taking part in short, online courses.

Here are ten helpful design courses that are completely free:

Introduction to Graphic Design

This is the first course of a two-part programme called Graphic Design History and Methods. Learn the origins of text and graphic design, the development of practical graphic design through modernist art movements, design across world languages, and more.


Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development & Coding Specialisation 

This is a five-course specialisation offered by the University of Michigan in which students learn to design and implement a responsive site for a minimum of three platforms. The specialisation starts with an introduction to HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript and then explores advanced styling with responsive design.

Of Course You Can!: The Ultimate Graphic and Web Design Course

This course features nearly seven hours of on-demand video to explore and learn graphic, web, digital, and video design skills. The course is a useful exploration of design tools, primarily from Adobe’s Creative Cloud, such as Illustrator, Photoshop, and Spark.

Applying Design Principles 

Learn core graphic design principles and their practical applications through a study of successful designs. Explore composition and balance, contrast and hierarchy, color, shapes, tones, and more. By the end of this course, you’ll understand design concepts and the ability to apply the lessons to your designs.

Graphic Design Specialisation 

Offered by the California Institute of the Arts, this four-course sequence explores the fundamentals of graphic design: images, typography, composition, color, and shape. Also, explore the ideas from the history of graphic design, and trace the emergence of design as a recognised practice.

Logo Design Fundamentals

In this hour-long course, you can learn how to create and build a unique logo design using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

An Introduction to Typeface Styles

In this short course, you can explore the differences in typeface styles and sub-types. Learn which to use and when in just 42 minutes.

Color for Designers

This course teaches the principles of colour theory along with practical lessons on how to apply them. This course covers color terminology and meaning, viewing color in context, contrast grids, color illusion, and tips for creating a harmonious color palette.


UX Methods Fundamentals

This hour-long course explores five user experience design methods and processes: Design Thinking, User-Centered Design, Agile UX, Lean UX, and Behavioral Design Process. Compare UX methods, and find the right system to develop your optimal user experience design.

Sketch for Beginners

Sketch is a popular vector-graphics editor for design work. This short course will teach Sketch from the ground up, using it to design user-experience and user-interface, web, mobile, and logo projects.  Learn the fundamentals, reusable elements and styles, prototyping, collaboration, and Sketch plugins.