How to Learn Digital Design and Find the Best Design Courses
Imagine clicking on a website or opening an application and seeing a dull landing page with boring graphics and elements scattered everywhere. Will you stay on the page? Or will you look for a better platform? If you’re among the majority, chances are you’ll do the latter. This is why, if you aspire to work on the creative side of a company, you must learn digital design.
As more companies expand their digital presence, everything that can make a brand memorable has become even more important. This is where digital design comes in.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the world of digital design, including the best digital design courses you can take. By the end of it, you’ll have a core understanding of how a good design leaves a lasting and positive impact on your users and the company.
What Is Digital Design?
Digital design is the discipline of visually communicating information about a product or a service to your target consumers via digital platforms. It encompasses design for websites, mobile applications, and anything on the screen. The main goal of digital design is to provide an interactive and positive user experience.
On this note, we can’t stress enough how important digital design is to any marketing effort. A good design increases user engagement as well as traffic to the website or application. All these help a company build brand awareness.
Good digital designers create visual content with the core design principles in mind. These include contrast, repetition, rhythm, movement, white space, variety, and unity. Examples of digital design are:
- Templates for emails, PowerPoint slides, and reports
- Banner ads
- Web and app layouts
- Layout and typesetting for e-books or reports
Is Digital Design the Same as Graphic Design?
It’s important to note that digital design and graphic design are two different disciplines. The field of digital design, by definition, deals with online content while graphic design deals with print. Furthermore, digital design is interactive, whereas graphic design is static. That said, graphic design laid the groundwork for digital design and is very much used for the latter.
What Jobs Use Digital Design?
The world’s shift to digital platforms has opened more doors for businesses and organizations to expand their reach. Consequently, this has opened more windows of opportunity for anyone well-versed in digital design. Below are some career paths you can take that revolve around this.
- Digital Designer. A digital designer is responsible for creating visual content solutions for websites, mobile apps, and online advertisements. As the role implies, digital designers focus on just that: digital design.
- Web Developer. A web developer has more ground to cover. Aside from digital design, you also oversee the back-end of a website. This entails fluency in programming languages and graphic design.
- Graphic Designer. Graphic design is at the heart of digital design. So even if you started with print design, you can just as easily migrate to the digital platform. It’s only a matter of mastering the intricacies of the new medium.
- UX Designer. A user experience (UX) designer is responsible for optimizing sites and applications. They apply the user perspective to improve a website or application’s design and usability. UX designers are the ones in the field of web development with the most polished set of problem-solving skills.
- Social Media Designer. Celebrities and brands turn to social media designers to curate content for their pages. Design plays a huge part in making sure that these pages attract fans and consumers.
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, web developers and digital designers earn an average of $73,760 per year. The job outlook is also promising. Jobs in these fields are expected to grow by as much as 8 percent in the next 10 years.
Steps to Learn Digital Design
There’s a lot you can do with digital design as long as you dedicate your time and effort to learning it. Here are some steps that you can take to learn about digital design.
Step 1: Take Graphic Design and Digital Design Courses
Making active efforts to learn graphic design is the first step towards being a digital designer. Learning the principles of graphic design will serve as your foundation as you discover and develop your style as a designer. From graphic design, move on to digital design courses and slowly build essential skills to thrive in the field.
If after taking some intro courses you want to take your skills further, consider joining a web design or product design bootcamp. These immersive, short programs will teach you the skills required to become a designer. Some great bootcamps with web design courses are Flatiron School, Kenzie Academy, and BrainStation.
Step 2: Download Digital Design Software
Practice makes perfect, and it starts by downloading design software. There are a lot of free and paid design software programs around. Having access to these programs helps familiarize you with the tools and techniques of the trade.
Some of the most popular software programs are products from Adobe such as Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. But there are others, too, that you can try for free as a beginner. GIMP is an example of free design software.
Step 3: Work on Projects
Just like any creative role, a portfolio is a must-have for digital designers. Start by working on personal projects and using these to promote yourself as a professional designer. You can join logo design competitions for schools and startup brands. You can also opt for internships to get a closer look at the professional world of design.
Once you’ve produced your creations and gained insight from industry experts, it’s time to reach out to prospective clients. Do as many paid commission works as you can, and do these well. By constantly working on projects, you can polish your style as a designer. You also get to strengthen your portfolio to be ready for more opportunities later on.
Step 4: Expand Your Reach Beyond Digital Design
Digital design is just one branch of web development. Coming up with a powerful digital design together with ensuring its functionality is an exceptional skill. With this, you can broaden your horizons by moving to related fields.
Expertise in computer programming is essential in web development. Programming complements digital design well. If you want to be versatile in web and app designs, you can start by taking programming classes.
The Best Online Courses to Learn Digital Design
There is a lot to learn when it comes to digital design. Luckily, there are a lot of resources for these endeavors online. Every class is an opportunity to hone your craft and move your career forward.
These courses are also relevant even if you already have prior knowledge and experience in the field. Remember that digital design is user-focused so you must constantly improve your skills to cater to the changing demands of users.
This masterclass will cover the basics of design, from typography and color theory to creating logos for brands. It makes use of Adobe programs, which are the top picks for a lot of digital design processes. A certificate of completion is available at the end.
CalArts offers this six-month course to cover graphic design on-screen and in print. Through this course, you will gain fundamental skills in creating digital content. The course culminates in a capstone project designed to demonstrate the skills you’ve built throughout your study. You can add this project to your professional portfolio.
This course teaches students to develop designs for mobile web applications. It covers design concepts specifically for the mobile setting and how to make an efficient mobile app. It also discusses the security concerns that come with mobile phones and apps.
This course is ideal for those who want to expand their digital design skills to full-on web design. It covers the fundamentals of HTML and CSS and how these relate to web graphics and building layouts for a website. You will also learn about typography and how to create interactive elements to develop a functional site.
Knowing your customer’s interests and motivations give you more ideas about how you can improve your outputs. Your management skills in building digital products are this course’s focus. It helps you become more perceptive with the market data that you will need to improve your digital design.
Why Learn Digital Design?
Digital design is a vital component of any online endeavor today. Design is not simply about making a site or mobile application appealing to the eyes of the user. It’s also about making a design that’s interactive and engaging to the user.
There is a lot to be gained from being conscious of how you present your site. Fortunately, there are a lot of digital design courses out there, just at the tip of your fingers. It is high time to make these resources work for you.