The recent social distancing measures imposed by the government have left many of us with spare time on our hands.

Now is a great time to learn new skills or brush up on old ones – and there are a wealth of blogs, videos and training courses out there on the web to help you do just that.

While I’d never suggest developing a full brand identity without professional help, learning about the basic principles of design and how to apply them could give you a professional edge when it comes to putting together digital and printed materials for your business.

Here are 5 fantastic online resources to help you improve your design knowledge and wrap your head around some of the world’s best-loved design software while we’re all still in lockdown.

1. Online Graphic Design Course

shaw academy courses logoThis is a brilliant introduction to the world of visual communications from a reputable Dublin-based training organisation. The course navigates topics such as the elements and principles of design; exploring typography in design; working with Adobe Illustrator; manipulating photos in Photoshop; and getting files print-ready with InDesign.

This programme isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’ll take you around 32 hours to get through all of the lessons and modules, and it’s designed to take the average student around 16 weeks to complete. But if you’re serious about developing your designer’s eye (and adding something with real weight to your CV), sign up – because right now, Shaw Academy are offering this amazing creative course for free.

Check it out

2. Learn Adobe Photoshop from Scratch

udemy courses logo

Always wanted to get to grips with the world’s best-known graphics editor? Well, there are plenty of training programmes out there that will help you do just that – but this 8-hour-long video tutorial, again from Udemy, is one of the most comprehensive introductions to the tool that I’ve ever come across.

For less than £20, you can access a full working days’ worth of practical tips and tricks tailored to the needs of beginner and intermediate Photoshop users. The bundle includes a whole 32 downloadable resources; you can access the materials on mobile and TV, as well as your desktop; and you’ll receive a certificate of completion once you’ve finished the course.

Find out more here

3. Learn Adobe Illustrator Online

shaw academy courses logo

Browsing again through the many, many options available from Shaw Academy, I’ve found this interactive diploma in Illustrator, which introduces students to the basic concepts of design and teaches them how to create professional standard vector-based graphics in Adobe Illustrator. The course is made up of 8 lessons, along with weekly assignments and fun quizzes to keep participants on their toes.

It’s received excellent reviews – and at the moment, you don’t have to pay a penny to sign up!

Take a look

4. Colour for Designers

creative live logoThis video-based course, created by experienced teacher Richard Mehl and hosted by CreativeLive, bills itself as “an accessible approach to the serious study of colour”. Throughout it’s 20 lessons, you’ll discover how to effectively select and apply colour to enhance your design projects, and you’ll emerge with a better understanding of how the right shades can be used to create balance and stability in your work.

Learn more

5. Develop Effective Business Presentation Skills

alison courses logo

To make a great impression on colleagues and peers – and wow your prospective customers, too – you need to learn how to plan, design and deliver a show-stopping presentation. This handy 3-hour long course from Alison will run you through the essential design components of your talk, then go into more detail about how you can adapt your presentation to suit the needs of your audience.

At the time of writing, this nifty little leadership and management course is free – so it’s well worth a watch for its design advice alone!

View full course details here