Free and Effective Design Courses You Can Take Online


Elements in the world of design are constantly changing. New trends, techniques, and evolving technology can sometimes make it difficult to keep up. Whether you are have been practicing your craft for years or you are just getting started, it is necessary to keep yourself educated and prepared. However, It can be expensive and time consuming to find classes or college courses to keep always stay well-versed in your medium.

Luckily, there are thousands of online classes you can take to help you learn a new design skill. Massive open online courses (MOOC) has made learning design skills easy, no matter where you are. Everything from graphic design to photography can now be taught and learned online. However, some courses are very expensive and may not be worth it. Nothing is more painful than downloading a “course” with 100 hours of video only to find the instructor is, well….bad.

We asked a couple of our own designers and illustrators at Hipsthetic what some of their favorite free, online courses are. Some of our most talented employees admitted that they earned their certifications and skills strictly from online courses! We created a list of our top online courses and classes that provide the best instruction and won’t charge you a penny.


Alison is an e-learning website that offers over 500 free courses. This MOOC is the largest e-course website out there. You can learn a variety of topics that are published by many different universities, Including Yale, Columbia, and Cambridge. At the end of every course, you have the opportunity to earn a certificate after passing the final test. In fact, we have a few graphic designers here at Hipsthetic that have certifications from Alison on their resume. Their graphic design course has 4 modules and only takes 2-3 hours to complete.



Coursera is another e-learning website that offers hundreds of classes in just about any topic you can think of. Some of them require a membership or fee to enroll in, but there are about 100 free courses that are published by a variety of universities. We especially love their free courses on 3D design and creating electronic music.



Udemy’s free introduction to graphic design course has over 100,000 students currently enrolled, and for good reason. Udemy offers videos by independent contractors and some of the courses are expensive. However, their design course is free and spectacular. The course helps beginners understand the basics of design theory and the overall design process. It also focuses on how to use a variety of design software effectively.


Class Central

Class Central is a free massive online course site that also offers classes that have an opportunity to earn a certificate. We were excited to learn that they have over 500 art and design classes from Yale, California Institutes of the Arts, and other prestigious universities. They offer more abstract courses for free, such as Introduction to Game Design and Introduction to Typography. These courses feel more like a college-level course and last about 4 weeks long, for free! is an amazing resource for photographers. They offer free classes for beginners and experts alike. The website has courses on operating your camera and the important elements of capturing the perfect photo. From “The Rules of Thirds” to taking professional photographs on your iPhone, they have a course for everything. provides video tutorials, full courses, and lectures from college professors.

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