Best Free Web Design Courses
So, you're thinking about getting into web design. Good. There is definitely a need for web designers as more and more companies flock to the internet to give their businesses a digital face.
A lot has changed since the founding of the internet. Nowadays, it's not just about having a website that looks reasonably good and provides people the information they seek. Web designers are now responsible for creating something that's aesthetically pleasing, intuitive, responsive, and optimized for the end-user experience.
In sum: web designers shape the outward appearance of a website so that visitors can't help but want to read more, fill out that form, or make a purchase.
Quick Web Designer Facts
Now, there are a number of different types of web designers. There's the graphic designer who focuses solely on using software like Photoshop or Illustrator to build a design. There's the UX designer who is responsible for more comprehensive strategy, planning, and design based around the user experience. There are also web designers who cross the threshold between design and development and handle the coding of websites as well.
Before you begin your career as a web designer, it's important to determine what type you want to be. You've also got to think about who you want to work for. Do you want to work for a web development firm as a full-time employee? Do you want to freelance? Or are you looking to start your own design agency?
Answers to these questions will ultimately dictate where your focus needs to go and how you'll build your career as a web designer going forward.
Once you've established your identity, it's time to look at your education. Even if you've received a degree in graphic design or have previous experience in this field, design trends come and go, so it's important to always be learning. Below you will find the best free web design courses to help you get started and build your skillset as a designer.
Basic Principles of Web Design Courses
These courses will cover the basics of your education as a web designer.
- Graphic Design 101 — An Overview of the Field: this course gives a more in-depth look at this career path as well as the different avenues you may be interested in pursuing as a web designer.
- Learning the Basic Elements and Principles of Graphic Design: this course covers all the basic pieces involved in web design, so if you're looking for a primer, start here.
- A Crash Course in Typography: The Basics of Type: this written course takes you through everything you need to know about typography and how to use it in web design.
- Important Photography Guidelines Web Designers Should Understand: understanding good web design techniques doesn't just apply to the actual design. As you integrate photography into your work, those same best practices need to apply as well.
- How to Find Professional Brand Assets (for Free): if you're wondering where to find images for your website and what to do once you find them, check out this short course.
- Hack Design: technically, you won't find any courses here, but you will receive a new one every week that's created by web design and development experts.
Web Design Software Courses
The very first tool you need to master as a designer is web design software. Tutorials are available for a variety of software as well as for different skill levels.
- Easy and Effective Graphic Design: The Ins and Outs of Canva: Canva is a great tool for the novice web designer. It doesn't cost anything to use, so it's a great way to practice what you've learned on a smaller scale.
- Photoshop CC for Web Design Beginners: if you're new to Photoshop or simply need a refresher on the ins and outs of this software, start with this video.
- Professional Logo Design in Adobe Illustrator: this tutorial is great for anyone who wants to learn how to design a professional logo from scratch (which is not always necessary in web design, but may be something you want to learn regardless).
- Getting Started with Photoshop: although this Photoshop rundown is older (from 2012), the basic functionality and principles remain the same.
- Advanced Photoshop for One Page Website Design: this course covers the full process of designing a website in Photoshop for a single-page website.
- Adobe Illustrator Essentials for Character Design: whether you're looking to bring your sketches to life or want to create unique animations for a website, Adobe Illustrator is the tool for you.
- Character Design for Animation in Illustrator: consider this part two to the Adobe Illustrator Essentials course. This video explores the animation side of the equation.
Next-Level Web Design Courses
When you're ready to take your skills to the next level, these courses are good to start with as they are more advanced while still covering web design essentials.
- Build a Responsive Website with a Modern Flat Design: once you've mastered basic web design techniques, you may want to take the next step into learning how to code your designs for front-end web design (development) work.
- Web Design Essentials: Creating Marketing Homepages That Drive Results: once you've learned the basics of web design, it's important to understand why you're designing (ie, to convert) and how to do so in a strategic, logical, and effective manner.
- Creative Concepting: Getting to Better Ideas Faster: if you're interested in learning more about UX design, this course is a must.
Web Design Business Courses
For web designers who want to freelance or launch their own business, understanding how to run and manage it is just as important as the design skills you gain.
- Create a WordPress Website for Your Web Design Business: most web designers need a professional portfolio in order to share their work with clients. If you need to get a site up right away but aren't comfortable coding it yourself, WordPress is all you'll need. It's also a good idea to get comfortable with WordPress anyway in case your work ever calls for it.
- The Business of Web Design: How to Grow Your ecommerce Web Design Business: business tips for the web designer interested in specializing in ecommerce design.
Launch a Career with a Free Education
When you're ready to launch (or reboot) a career in web design, one of the best places to start is on the web as free and paid tutorials abound. It's simply a matter of finding the right ones to give you a solid base to work from.
Further Reading and Resources
We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to web design:
- Composing Good HTML: this is a solid introduction to writing well-formed HTML and using HTML validator software.
- CSS3 — Intro, Guides, and Resources: this is a great place to start learning webpage layout.
- Fonts For Web Design: a Primer: learn the basics of fonts and their use in web design.
Web Design Trends You'll Never Forget
Every designer wants to create timeless documents — ones that will never look tacky. But we often fail at that. In our infographic Web Design Trends You'll Never Forget we run through decades of designs that were once thought to be the height of coolness.