7 online courses by the world's greatest graphic designers to boost your skills
Written By: Katy Cowan
This article originally appeared on Creative Boom and was republished with permission.
When it comes to graphic design, you never stop learning. It's an ever-evolving industry with constant change and subsequent challenges that even the most experienced designers will always be looking to improve.
With this in mind, we've teamed up with learning community Skillshare to bring you seven of its online courses, brought to you by some of the world's greatest graphic designers.
From the legendary Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Company and Field Notes to the inspiring Paula Scher; from world famous letterer and illustrator Jessica Hische (think West Anderson title sequences) to the talented Jessica Walsh of Sagmeister & Walsh – the following excellent classes will inspire you to boost your own graphic design skills.
Even better, Skillshare is offering Creative Boom readers two free months of Skillshare Premium, so you can enjoy these courses as well as 15,000 other Skillshare classes at no extra cost.
1. Dynamic Brand Identity: Designing Logos That Evolve with Paula Scher
Paula Scher, partner in the New York office of Pentagram, walks us through her process of creating a liquid identity—a recognizable, dynamic branding system that can be adapted across mediums. During the 70-minute class, you’ll think about researching an organization’s goals, developing a series of design solutions, simplifying them to their essence, and stretching them to their limits as they apply to animation, products, signage, architecture, and more.
You'll also go behind-the-scenes to see how the liquid identities of some of Paula’s most respected projects came to life (including Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Type Directors Club, and Microsoft Windows), explore her latest re-branding for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and join her at the Public Theater in Manhattan—her most iconic, long-standing project to date.
2. Design a Logo With Aaron Draplin
Portland-based designer Aaron Draplin is legendary for pride and craftsmanship he brings to every project. Whether designing for Draplin Design Company clients like Nike and Ride Snowboards, or personal brands like his Field Notes memo notebooks, his work always strikes us as functional, nostalgic, and iconic. How the heck does he do it?
In this 70-minute class, you'll go behind-the-scenes as Aaron shares his logo design process with a very personal project: the family crest. From background research to geometric structure to typography to colour choice, he provides helpful tips and shortcuts in Illustrator for creating beautiful work in a hyper-efficient manner.
3. Lettering for Designers: One Dropcap Letterform at a Time with Jessica Hische
In this popular class, learn how to create beautiful letters and alphabets by starting with the simplest possible project: making a single letter!
You'll join acclaimed letterer and illustrator Jessica Hische as she walks through her personal lettering process and share tips and tricks from throughout her stunning career, ranging from personal projects like "Daily Drop Cap" and "Should I Work For Free" to opening title sequences for Wes Anderson.
4. Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles for Visual Design with Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips
Cracking the code to great design is much easier with a solid foundation of core principles. Join designers Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips for an essential, 35-minute class as they walk through five basic principles of graphic design, perfect for use in all projects using images and type — creative design, marketing materials, and even photography.
5. Digital Illustration: Design Your Avatar with Ryan Putman
Looking to push your skills in Adobe Illustrator? Want to take the self portrait to the next level? Join artist Ryan Putnam for a fun, 45-minute class on designing your own custom avatar.
The designer and illustrator from San Francisco will walk you through his own process of breaking down the subject matter (his face) into simple shapes and line weights that create a cohesive avatar. This class will teach you how to create and avatar with likeness to your face, and you'll work with essential, basic illustrator tools to achieve a sophisticated look.
Whether you're a designer looking to explore and push your style, or you just want to create a fun avatar for your social media account, this class will inspire you to open Adobe Illustrator and get to work.
6. Logo Design with Grids: Timeless Style from Simple Shapes with George Bokhua
What makes a logo design feel “perfect”? How do you fine-tune simple shapes to achieve visual stopping power? Through this course with graphic designer George Bokhua – you'll learn how to design a modern, minimalistic logo from start to finish, and then add that extra punch of perfection to make it stand the test of time.
In just 30 minutes, George walks us through his process of incorporating grids and geometric shapes into logos so that you can unlock that feeling of timelessness in your own marks. Perfect for graphic designers and illustrators looking to explore a methodical approach to logo design, as well as anyone else who needs a starting point for making their own logos stand out.
7. Just Make Stuff: Getting Creative With Side Projects with Jessica Walsh & Timothy Goodman
Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman have launched hit after hit in the design world, fuelling incredible careers through creative side projects — and now they're sharing their secrets so you can do the same.
This fun 45-minute class from the creative minds behind 40 Days of Dating and 12 Kinds of Kindness explores what's worked in their careers (and why), ways to start your own side project, and even a demo of their popular lettering series Quotes on Shit.