Angie Bowen February 14th, 2011

Educational Resources for Studying Graphic Design

One of the greatest things about having access to the Internet, is the educational opportunities that it affords the public. People in all professions have the ability to expand their knowledge base through the wealth of information being shared via the Internet, and the same holds true for those who are studying graphic design. [fblike] The Internet is positively bursting with tutorials and resources that can help one advance through the various stages of becoming a successful graphic designer. All the way, from a newbie to an experienced pro. Today, that is our purpose here. Gaining knowledge about graphic design so that we can advance our skills and blossom in our chosen fields. Here is a collection of invaluable educational resources on graphic design that have been broken down into different categories depending on your preferred methods of consumption. Each one of us has their own approach of learning, either learning visually, auditory or through repetitious means. It was in that vein in which the resources were collected. We have tutorials for your hands-on approach, podcasts for a more auditory take and an assortment of PDFs and articles to read through.


The first category of resources that we have gathered are some assorted graphic design PDFs that will freely add to the educational foundation on which you are building. These community supplied supplements cover a range of graphic design elements and areas. So take a look through and begin downloading your new skill builders from the list below. Design Your Imagination is a valuable graphic design ebook that should be in any beginners toolbox. Deconstruct website design and learn to hone your creative skills with this comprehensive guide to the web:

Design Your Imagination

As with any good learning experience, you need someplace to start, and some choose to start at the beginning. With The History of Graphic Design you can do just that. This informative PDF offers a brief rundown of the history of graphic design:

The History of Graphic Design

When it comes to teaching design in a whole new way, The Design Funnel: A Manifesto for Meaningful Design brings a unique look at the world of design, and guides the reader to honing their design process. From beginner to established pro, this manifesto could offer you a fresh perspective on your approach:

The Design Funnel

Graphic Design Teaching and Learning is a helpful learning tool that takes on both the approach of teaching graphic design as well as learning it. Definitely an interesting and a worthwhile read:

Graphic Design Teaching and Learning

PDFoo - Graphic Design PDFoo is a large collection of ebooks and PDFs all related to the field of graphic design. This resource provides a full download and will keep your nose to the grindstone for days:


Pictorial composition and the critical judgment of pictures is a wonderfully informative ebook that will allow anyone, no matter their level of expertise, to dive in and learn the basics about the composition and overall aesthetics of images:

pictoral composition and the critical judgment of pictures

Just Creative Design’s Type Classification eBook is a fantastic educational resource for those wish to learn more about the fine art of typographical design. Whether type is to be your specialty or not, this ebook is worth a read:

Type Classification

A theory of pure design; harmony, balance, rhythm is another learning library must add. This ebook explores in great depth the fundamentals of design theory. It is an artistic exploration into the very principles which lie at the foundation of illustration and painting as fine art:

theory of pure design

An Introduction to Graphic Design is another useful ebook to be stocked in any graphic designer’s learning library. It offers a look at the basic fundamentals of graphic design to build a more solid foundation:

An Introduction to Graphic Design

The Q&A E-book : Interviews With 25 Popular Bloggers pretty much tells you all you need to know about it in the title. Gain insight into the processes of the big names in the design field through this interview filled ebook and learn tricks that you can implement in your own:

Interviews with Popular bloggers

The final PDF we have for you is the Graphic Design Wikibook. Think of the Wikibook as an open-content collection of textbooks, in this case specifically focused on the graphic design world. Do not let its position fool you, it is definitely worth a gander:


This second section of resources is an array of great articles all geared specifically towards graphic design education. Combing through the archives of some of the best known sites for assisting the growth of the community, we have pulled some must-read posts from their pasts just in case you missed them. Even if you do not read another post from any of the sites they have come from, these articles you should not let pass you by! Earlier, we mentioned needing someplace to start, well Teach Yourself Graphic Design: A Self-Study Course Outline is one of those places. This article is absolutely filled with resources that will help you begin your self directed graphic design studies:

Teach Yourself Graphic Design

Want to know how to design? Learn The Basics. is a fantastic article from Just Creative Design that gets at the heart of design through the very basic elements of design. These are the fundamentals that you cannot get by without:

learn design basics

The Difference Between Art and Design is an extremely insightful discussion about the difference between art and design. This is a long running debate in the design community, and if you are going to be a designer, you should certainly familiarize yourself with the ongoing dialog:

the difference between art and design

Art vs Design is another pertinent and well thought out dissection of the art vs. design issue. Part of a solid foundation of learning comes from having a firm understanding of the field you are working in, through this evolving dialog, any designer can gain better footing in this design landscape:

art vs design

Graphic designers are often wondering What Skills Will I Learn as a Graphic Designer? especially when they are starting out. This article examines this very query in specific details:

what skills will i learn as a graphic designer

Underneath all of the fundamentals of graphic design lies the theory that drives it. In the article 50 Totally Free Lessons in Graphic Design Theory the TutsPlus family definitely delivers with a bevy of knowledge building lessons in theory:

50 totally free lessons in graphic design

For more on theory, Noupe’s Graphic Design Theory: 50 Resources and Articles is another wonderful collection of graphic design theory based resources from our sister site. Help expand your design horizons even more with this educational article:

graphic design theory

Learn the Basics: 25+ Sites And Resources To Learn Typography is a great article from 1st Web Designer that will serve to enhance your typographical knowledge base. Typography is an important element in design and understanding it is key in your design growth:

learning typography

As far as useful articles on design go, David Airey put together a post on the communities favorite books about graphic design. What ’s your favourite graphic design book? opens up the comments to the community and the post evolves from there as the replies pour in:

what's your favorite graphic design book

In your quest for graphic design knowledge you can even turn to whose course Introduction to the Elements of Design will give you a grasp of the basics of graphic design. Another article that serves as a good starting point:

introduction to the elements of design

Speaking of graphic design books, this site has a brilliant article on them. 30 Delightful Graphic Design Books spans the various arenas of graphic design to find some of the industries most useful books that will aid you in your thirst for knowledge:

30 graphic design books

The Design Cubicle offers this insightful article Tips to improve as a graphic designer for anyone on an educational journey through the field of graphic design. It is certainly worth a look for new and old designers alike:

tips to improve as a graphic designer

Finally, when it comes to growing as a designer and learning to hone your skills, the blogosphere is an invaluable tool. The following article 100 Must Read Design Blogs helps you to maximize your surfing by pointing you in the direction of some great sources for educating yourself:

100 must read design blogs


In this category, we move into the auditory section of our graphic design learning experience with some selected podcasts. These informative online broadcasts take on the task of offering an educational outlet for the masses over the virtual airwaves with a different approach than you can get most anywhere else. Especially if you are more inclined towards audio forms of learning the podcasts are for you, but they are truly for anyone interested in learning more about this field. For Graphic Designers Only is a business minded graphic design focused broadcast which talks with industry experts to gain insight and give advice to the community. From building an individual freelance business to a more business firm oriented perspective this is a useful podcast: for graphic designers only Rookie Designer's The Podcast for the Not-So-Accomplished Designer is a look at the graphic design landscape with a beginner’s gaze. This is a great place to start in the podcast pool, whether you are a newb or in need of a little refresher course:

rookie designer

Design Guy takes a simpler approach to the design principles, taking the time to explain them in laid-back basic ways that should be easy to wrap your head around. Get your new design projects off the ground in no time with a little help from the Design Guy:

design guide

Art a GoGo Podcast is certainly useful to anyone looking to solidify the base of their design work through an exploration of art. The Art a GoGo podcast features discussions about art news and the overall world of art in an educational and entertaining way:

art a gogo

There have not been many logo specific resources, but Logo Design is an informative podcast that does help balance the scales a bit. Learning about logos through tips and in-depth discussions has a new face, the "Logo Design" podcast:

logo design

Boagworld Web Design Advice is a fantastic weekly podcast which runs the proverbial gamut of the graphic design field. Offering the community interviews, reviews, and news Boagworld is a podcast for all levels of the designer from the learning to the learned:


Art History Podcast is another podcast that can help you learn more about the art that has shaped and paved the way for the design world today through thoughtful analysis of timeless classics. Unfortunately the show is not still active but there are plenty of past episodes to learn from:>/p>

art history podcast

PixelPerfect is another great resource for the designer looking to increase their knowledge base in both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Complete with demonstrations to teach you the tips and tricks of both graphic programs. If you use either one, then you should check out this podcast:

pixel perfect

The Rissington Podcast is another insightful broadcast in which the hosts take questions from their listeners and answer them for the entire graphic design community. This would certainly be the problem solver’s podcast for designers old and new:

The Rissington Podcast

CreativeXpert Design Interviews is a completely interview-based podcast which features a brilliant array of expert guests to provide the insight that lays the foundation for this informative show. With some of the brightest minds in the field sharing their techniques and inspiration, this podcast can enrich anyone’s educational journey:

CreativeXpert Design Interviews

Another interesting podcast with a bit of a different twist on the show is FEED - A Magazine of Graphic Design. FEED is exactly what it sounds like from the tagline; it is a community based submission driven graphic arts magazine in the form of a podcast:

feed graphic design magazine

The final podcast that we are going to feature for growing as a designer is Design Tools Weekly. This is another weekly broadcast that discusses the topics that designers are looking to have delved into. This is another show that bends the learning curve in your favor:

design tools weekly


We are going to wind things down with some useful websites to keep bookmarked and tracking regularly through their feeds for feeding your thirst for graphic design knowledge. We thought this would be a good place to finish, because most of the sites themselves are a growing resource that will continue to deliver new opportunities to learn. If you have not seen these sites, or not seen them lately, then we recommend that you stop by for a refresher on what they have to offer! Design is History is a fantastic resource for all those treading the design waters looking to learn more. The site scans so many eras in graphic design, teaching you the history and principles that shaped this dynamic field:

design is history

As far as starting points go, Smarthistory takes the seeker of knowledge back even beyond the start of graphic design, and into the history of art from around the world for a more comprehensive overview of the seeds that helped sew the graphic design field:

art history

Arty Factory is an educational resource hub for design and art lessons online. They are totally free for all and provide an array of fully illustrated classes on drawing, painting, and design:

arty factory

BBC Learning - Art and Design is an online resource for building and advancing your art and design knowledge. This site offers various courses to help you grow in your selected field:

bbc learning art and design

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History is another wonderful place to turn for a more historical perspective and learning opportunity as you study through the great works of art from all over the world and all through time: Graphic Design Forum is one of the largest forums on the web for all things graphic design. If it is experience that you need to gain, then you have come to the right place, no matter what level of designer you are:

Graphic Design Forum

All Graphic Design is an expansive resource in and of itself, all fed by the online design community. From forums to templates to articles and more, this is a one stop learning hub for graphic designers:

All Graphic Design

TutsPlus is a tutorial junkie’s playland for hands-on graphic design walk throughs. If you are not familiar with the TutsPlus site and family then you are selling your graphic design business short. They offer both free and premium levels of tutorials:

Tuts Plus

The MFA in Interaction Design program trains students to research, analyze, prototype, and design concepts in their business, social, and cultural contexts:

Speaking of invaluable hubs for all things graphic design Design Talk Board comes in to educate the online masses with piles of resources, jobs information, graphics news, talk forums, software training, and oh, so much more!

Design Talk Board

Graphic Design Principles Index is an installment based online graphic design course that is hosted by Duke University. The program is divided into 39 different parts:

Graphic Design Principle Index

AIGA is a site that all professional graphic designers should be aware of. This is an association that is dedicated to advancing the overall design field as ‘a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force’ in our society:


HOW Design Forums is another wonderful and informative graphic design forum that will enrich any graphic designers learning experience. So many great communal contributions that you would be amiss to, well, miss:

HOW Design Forums

If it is informational sites that you are looking for, then SitePoint certainly needs to be on your radar. No matter your level of learning, this fast growing online media company and information provider has something for all web professionals:

Sitepoint is a community resource that is shared by any and all graphic designers who wish to be apart of it. Complete with tutorials, educational videos, a full forum, and more, this is another resource center worth looking into:

Packaging Design Archive is a collection of very well designed product packaging that users can flip through to study the presentations that are housed there for learning purposes. Not to mention, a little inspiration: Packaging of the World is another communal collection of product design, whose deep databases are full of helpful examples that you can once again study to learn from. If you like to learn by example, and package design is your passion, then look no further: The Chicago Design Archive is another great place where you can browse through a collection of locally created designs from the Chicago area and learn from a more hands on approach: STA Archive is an annual design contest where you can show off the skills that you have learned and been honing: We thought we would cap this section off with one more graphic design based forums for the online community. Your Design Forums can provide learning opportunities through shared experiences and advice of the community:

Your Design Forum

Further Reading

If there are any sources for graphic design learning tools that you tend to turn to that we left off here, please let us know by adding it in the comments section below to keep the learning experience expanding! Consider Some of Our Previous Articles: (ik) [fblike]

Angie Bowen

Angie Bowen is a freelance artist, designer and writer as well as a founding member and editor of the Arbenting Design Blog.


  1. Excellent collection of resources, especially for an aspiring designer such as myself. Thank you for creating and sharing this article!

  2. There is a real dearth of quality educational graphic design material on the web. A university education on graphic design is the only way to get a truly rounded perspective on the industry’s past and future. Graphic design has always been about so much more than knowing how to operate the tools and making things pretty.

    Go to school. Reading a scattershot of websites is pointless.

    1. You’re right in some way. It’s pointless to try learning design just by reading some articles on the internet. But only going to School isn’t enough to be good in your job either because you barely get in touch with the “real world”. I know that too well, I study design (in Switzerland, sorry for my English ;) at the moment and it’s pretty frustrating sometimes, because you never work under real circumstances. That’s why I think it’s important to read blogs & articles (or even start writing them) on the web, no matter if you are a student or already working. You get a wider view of what’s happening and what’s possible, no matter how good or bad an article is.

  3. As a multimedia lecturer and a practicing graphic designer, this is a fantastic list of resources that I look forward to using myself, as well as passing on to my students. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hallo,
    Ich bin Webmaster von vielen Websites und Webseiten habe ich für Link-Tausch mit unter Themen also, wenn Sie benötigen folgende Themen dann mir eine Mail. Ich habe Animation, Gehirn-, Bildungs-, Modell-, Mode-, Hotel-, Spiele, Business, Sport und Glücksspiel-Websites.

    Meine Webseiten enthält sehr gesund Inhalt und hat auch gute traffic.If Ihren Link auf meine Webseiten dann mehr Verkehr auf Ihrer Website erhöht hinzufügen

  5. Wonderful and thoughtful compilation! I have bookmarked some of the sites you highlighted. Great resource for friends!

  6. Awesome.nice thoughts on your post..Yes its true that One of the greatest things about having access to the Internet, is the educational opportunities that it affords the public. People in all professions have the ability to expand their knowledge base through the wealth of information being shared via the Internet, and the same holds true for those who are studying graphic design.

  7. Thank you for this amazing list of resources. I’m pursuing my BAS in Graphic Design but this list will help me cultivate the skills I am already learning! :)

  8. Aw, this was a really nice post. In concept I wish to put in writing like this additionally ? taking time and precise effort to make a very good article? but what can I say? I procrastinate alot and on no account seem to get something done.

  9. Thank you for this amazing list of resources. I’m pursuing my BAS in Graphic Design but this list will help me cultivate the skills I am already learning! :)

  10. These are some great resources for graphic design theory and education. If you’re a professional we recommend becoming a member of the AIGA!

  11. I need some books on graphic design basics, mostly Photoshop and Illustrator. Can you suggest any? I really need to learn it.

  12. Thank you very much for these post.. specially for the links to graphics sites. I hope these will be much helpful to learning more about graphics design.

    Thank you again

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