9 Cheap Online Classes to Get Better at Design


UX, interior, graphic, multimedia, art director—design really does sound glamorous, even to those of us who could barely make it through Intro to Art in high school.

But just because you’re no artist doesn’t mean it’s not the right field for you, or that you can’t pick up some awesome skills to use in whatever role you’re in.

That’s what online education is for! For those of you who don’t want to go back to school to break into the design field, these online classes should do the trick in boosting your resume (and your expertise).

Fun fact: There are certain fonts that are supposed to go together, and ones every designer stays away from. This class breaks down the structure, details, and style of various fonts—and how to create seamless, appealing typography in everything you do.

Cost: Free
Length: 36 minutes/ 10 videos

Once you understand typography, why not try learning about color, too? This free class covers all the stuff you need to know about picking and mixing colors in a visually stunning way.

Cost: Free
Length: 3-4 hours

Sketch is a designer’s ultimate tool. Learn how to control workflows, create documents, and use Craft (a super-handy Sketch plug-in) in this comprehensive online series.

Cost: Free
Length: 8 videos

Adobe Illustrator is another one of those programs every designer should have in their back pocket. This short (and cheap) class covers the basics—and is taught by a 3D expert.

Cost: $20
Length: 1 hour, 43 minutes/ 29 lectures

The thing about design is that a lot of it is about having good taste. Which means there are several principles you need to understand. This short course walks through five essential ones, and techniques for criticizing yours and others’ work with a keen design eye.

Cost: Free
Length: 36 minutes/ 8 videos

Sure, you’re not ready to be a full-time designer, but you’d like to be able to make your presentations more attractive. This is the perfect class for you! It’ll teach you how to manipulate, arrange, and design slides that are engaging and beautiful—and convince anyone to buy into your ideas.

Cost: $20
Length: 1 hour/ 14 lectures

Pick up InDesign in no time—even if you’ve never used it before—with this comprehensive online course. Get to know the interface, control your workload, and create all kinds of documents in just a few hours.

Cost: $50
Length: 11 hours, 15 minutes/ 89 lectures

Ah yes, everyone knows that Photoshop is a key skill for designers. This extensive course is specifically designed for people looking to use Photoshop in their careers, covering workflows, navigation, and how to get comfortable with some of its more advanced features. It’s long, but highly informative and worth it for people who want to go from zero to master.

Cost: Free with trial, $29 a month
Length: 38 hours/ 16 courses

You don’t have to have the title of “designer” to think like one. This class, supported by real case studies, will teach you how to think creatively in any role and become a more innovative leader—and, as a bonus, the knowledge you gain from this course will make attending museums and art shows much more enjoyable (if you’re into that kind of thing).

Cost: $20
Length: 1 hour, 57 minutes/ 30 lectures

If you’d like even more design training, The Muse’s in-house designer Marcy Milks recommends checking out Lynda—it’s her favorite site for all kinds of tutorials (and it has a free 30-day trial). Her favorite categories include Music, Animation, Marketing, Photography, and Video.