Top 4 Free Courses Online for Designers

Lifelong learning is becoming the new normal in every field, and design is no exception. With new trends and technologies, as well as shifting demands in the job market, designers need to keep their knowledge fresh and their skills up to date. Whether you are a designer just starting out or a seasoned veteran of the field, here are four free online courses that will help you expand your abilities, and also help you develop the skills of 21st century design.

Graphic Design – Visual and Graphic Design

 

Graphic Design – Visual and Graphic Design

Graphic Design – Visual and Graphic Design

This course, for design students and professionals alike, covers the basic elements and principles of graphic design, which form the basis of much design work today. You will also be introduced to various drawing systems and learn how production processes and systems work in the design industry. For a more advanced online course, Visual Design explores how to apply the elements of design (typography, layout, color, etc.) to create a beautiful user interfaces for various contexts, including the web.

Ignite Your Everyday Creativity

Ignite Your Everyday Creativity

Ignite Your Everyday Creativity

While knowing the basic elements and principles of design (and being able to apply them), as well as how to use various design tools (Photoshop, InDesign, etc.) is essential, creativity is also a large part of what makes a great designer great. This course explores the theories and principles of creativity and will teach you how to recognize and nurture your own creativity, including how to develop creative problem-solving skills and create environments that foster creativity. No matter what area of design you are working in, this course will give you a tool to push yourself to the next level.

Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society

Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society

Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society

If you are interested in becoming a better designer, this course is for you. Each weekly module contains a combination of lectures, readings, and challenges that span the design spectrum from graphics to apparel.

You will create your own projects, as well as review the projects of others. The course is intended for everyone—from beginning to experienced designers—though those who have experience with graphic design programs will find the projects easier.

Coding for Designers

Coding for Designers

Coding for Designers

This course, offered by Aquent Gymnasium, addresses the fact that many employers today are looking for designers who can not only design, but also move their designs to the web. Even just a basic knowledge of coding will distinguish you from your peers when it comes to applying for jobs. This course will teach you how to turn your comps and prototype designs into web pages. Don’t worry if code is a completely foreign language to you—this course is intended for people with at least five years of professional graphic or web design experience, including expertise using Photoshop and other graphic design software, but no prior coding experience.

While the basics elements and principles of design are the same today as they were decades ago, technology has greatly impacted the practice of design. These four courses will help you better understand the design landscape of today, and give you the skills you need to succeed.

Managing Your Time as a Professional

 

I briefly considered titling this blog “Managing Your Time as a Tech Professional,” but I quickly realized that not everyone who reads a tech blog is necessarily working in the tech industry. Most people are probably entrepreneurs who are looking for the right tools to be successful.

I don’t know about you, but time management is definitely not one of my strongest suits. This is particularly true when it comes to working on the Internet. The web has a nearly infinite amount of ways to distract yourself from what you really should be doing, whether it’s writing, blogging, updating, researching, or any number of other professional endeavors.

Personally, I find Facebook to be the biggest time-waster. Others might use Twitter a little too often, or if you’re like my boyfriend, spend hours on ESPN.com.

Here are some useful tips on how to manage your time and increase your productivity when it comes to being a professional  –

  1. Plan your day

    Laying out all of the tasks that you have to accomplish during the day can be very helpful in keeping yourself on task. Better yet, make a list (I like to make mine on paper) so you can cross things off as you finish. Feeling a sense of accomplishment may drive you to complete more tasks.

  2. Allow for breaks

    It’s a good idea to build in time to take a break from working. While it’s probably not the best idea to plan a 30 minute break for every hour that you work, a 15 minute break every 2 hours is reasonable. Use that time to surf the web, get a snack, or if you’re at home, switch the laundry or unload the dishwasher. Just make sure that you adhere to the time limit that you set for yourself. You may find that having a break to look forward to will help to increase your productivity.

  3. Prioritize your projects

    When you’re making your list of what to do during your work day, there’s 2 approaches that you can take. First, you can put all of the quick and easy tasks at the top of the list. This way, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment rather quickly, and then you can move on to the more daunting tasks. Or, you can put the big projects at the top of the list and leave the smaller tasks for later. Pick whichever way motivates you the most.

  4. Delegate any tasks that you can.

    If you work for a company and aren’t a sole proprietor, consider farming out some smaller tasks to others. With a few things off of your plate, you might feel like some of your time has been freed up to work on bigger projects. In the long run, delegating responsibilities will allow your business to grow since you’ll now have more time for big picture stuff.

It’s okay if your time management skills are a work in progress. But the more you practice, the better you’ll be, and the less stress that you’ll feel on a daily basis. Don’t forget to get a website also! You can get one for free here.

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.