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Learn graphic design

Graphic designers build unique user experiences (UX) in mobile apps, web design, and product packaging, while also helping companies project their style and brand. Learn more about this field with online courses from edX.

What is graphic design?

Graphic design is the practice of composing, melding, and arranging visual elements to create deliverables that depict or enhance a specific message, brand identity, voice, or tone. Graphic designers use a combination of topography, illustration, typography, photography, and other visual communication methods. They design ads, product packaging, motion graphics, editorials, infographics, book covers, web pages, business cards, annual reports, and a host of other products. Graphic design relies heavily on a discerning eye and knowledge of the tools that make building visual projects possible.

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Graphic design course curriculum

Although many graphic designers pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), some use online courses and certification programs to gain experience and demonstrate their mastery of basic design concepts. There are a plethora of graphic design classes to choose from that teach learners core principles such as color theory, design theory, design process, logo design, interface design, and more. 

For example, a course in creative coding may provide an introduction to graphic design, arming learners with the fundamentals of computational thinking, best practices for designing software, and tips for using dynamic programming languages like Javascript as a method of visual expression.

Similarly, in a course that focuses on the basics of computer graphics, learners develop the ability to create realistic 3D renderings in real time and use ray tracing. Courses that highlight the steps of creating data visualizations are useful for individuals working in the business or data science fields. These professionals will learn how to help businesses discover insights and relay messages to in-house teams and customers. 

Aspiring graphic artists also have the option of enrolling in certification courses in areas such as virtual reality app development. The range of online courses available can help individuals learn how to model and visualize in a variety of fields.

Jobs in graphic design

Graphic design skills translate to a wide range of projects and fields. Graphic designers, UX/UI designers, web designers, and accessibility designers work at companies big and small. They can work for nonprofits and marketing agencies alike. Individuals who learn graphic design may also seek out job opportunities in desktop publishing, industrial design, interior design, architecture, or special effects and animation. 

Art directors with a background in graphic design manage design staff, review and approve all design elements, and present completed projects to clients. Art directors can work for magazine publishing companies, advertising and public relations firms, art collectives, and more.

Some graphic designers are self-employed, and offer design services to companies that need to develop visuals to reach customers in saturated markets.

Hone your skills and learn how to build your professional design portfolio with online graphic design courses from edX and its partner institutions. Explore the wide selection of courses designed to accommodate individuals with different learning styles, schedules, and career aspirations.

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