Top 10 Free Design Tutorials and Courses

Which new design skill will you learn today?

Portrait for Andrew BlackmanBy Andrew Blackman  |  Updated May 2, 2022

Whether you’re a design novice or pro, it’s always a good time to pick up new skills or practice your existing ones. These ten free design tutorials and courses will help you get the most out of Photoshop, Illustrator, Procreate, and other popular design software.

Some are video training, others are written tutorials, but one thing they all have in common is that they’re free. So read on and decide which new design skills you’re going to master today.

1. Redesign a Logo From Scratch

If you want to learn about logo design, this video is a great place to start. Designer Dena Nguyen explains the full process of creating a logo—in this case, redesigning the logo of the energy drink Celsius. From refining the idea to creating it in Adobe Illustrator, all the details are in this video.

2. Make a Dia de Muertos Flyer in Photoshop

Or why not learn flyer design? This free design tutorial shows you how to create a flyer to celebrate the Day of the Dead festival—and there’s also a Spanish version if you prefer!

day of the dead flyer

3. Make a Stained Glass Effect in Illustrator

Stained glass is a beautiful traditional style, but it can be difficult to recreate in digital form. Check out this amazing video in which Andrei Marius breaks down the step-by-step process of creating an incredibly detailed and realistic stained glass effect in Illustrator.

4. Use Chalk Brushes in Procreate

We’ve covered Photoshop and Illustrator so far, but Adobe’s not the only game in town. Check out this free Procreate tutorial to learn how to use chalk brushes to create the cute portrait shown below. You can get a preview of the process in this short video.

chalk brush Procreate drawing

5. Learn 65 Key Design Terms

Graphic design may be a visual medium, but the language we use to talk about it is also important. If you want to understand a brief, communicate clearly with colleagues, or explain concepts to a client, you’ll need to use the right words. So check out this comprehensive guide to design terminology. From typography to logo design and from design principles to technical terms, it’s all here!

6. Create Metal Textures in Photoshop

Metal textures can vary so much, from the shiny elegance of gold to the smoothness of burnished steel or the rough feel of rusting iron. This single Photoshop tutorial teaches you how to create five very different metal textures from scratch.

metal textures in Photoshop

7. Create a Metal Text Effect

And speaking of metal, why not create a metal text effect to go along with your textures? This video shows you the full process of making metallic text in Photoshop.

8. Create a GQ Magazine Cover

Creating a stylish magazine cover design is easier than you think. Read the tutorial to learn how to create an iconic version of the GQ magazine cover in Photoshop in just a few simple steps.

GQ magazine cover

9. Swap Backgrounds in Photoshop

Changing the background of a photo in Photoshop doesn’t have to be a headache. In this video, Abbey Esparza shows you a few tricks to remove green screen in Photoshop and add new backgrounds—even when you have tricky items like hair to extract.

10. Make a Band Flyer

Even in a digital world, paper flyers are still a great way to spread the word about a coming event. So it pays to know how to design an effective flyer that will grab people’s attention. This tutorial demystifies the whole process, showing you how to make a cool flyer in Photoshop and give any gig the perfect promotion!

band flyer in Photoshop

These ten free design courses and tutorials are just a few recent examples—there are thousands more in the full Design & Illustration section on Envato Tuts+. Have a look at these recommendations from previous months to get some more inspiration.

Make a Coffee Shop Logo in Illustrator

If you want to master logo design, this is a great way to do it. In this tutorial Alice Thorpe takes you through the whole process, from gathering inspiration and ideas through to designing the logo in detail in Illustrator and presenting it to the client. The example is for a coffee shop logo, but you could apply the same techniques to any type of logo.

Animate Text in Procreate

Did you know that you can create dynamic, animated text like this in Procreate? See how it’s done in this quick, easy tutorial. Like all the other design tutorials featured here, it’s free to read, so there’s nothing stopping you.

animate text in procreate

Make a Pride Rainbow Gradient in Illustrator

Show your support for the LGBTQIA community by adding a rainbow gradient to your images, logos, and artwork. This simple video tutorial walks you through the process of making your own rainbow gradient in Illustrator.

Learn Procreate From A to Z

Procreate is a powerful digital painting app. Like all apps, it has a lot of features that even experienced users may not know about. So watch this A to Z of Procreate video to get a rundown of Procreate tips, tricks, and hacks—one for every letter of the alphabet from A to Z.

Learn Typography From A to Z

And if learning from A to Z is your style, why not also try this tutorial on typography. Learn about necks, overshoots, gadzooks, and more!

a to z of typography

Master Photoshop Retouching

Using Photoshop to retouch your images can really bring out the best in them. Watch this free Photoshop retouching course for detailed instructions on how to retouch your images the right way. You’ll learn about frequency separation, retouching skin, clothes, and makeup, removing loose threads and hair, editing colors, and much more.

Learn Illustrator From A to Z

This fun Illustrator guide highlights a different tool or feature for every letter of the alphabet. It’s a great way for beginners to learn the software and for more experienced users to pick up a new trick or two. There are also free A to Z guides for Photoshop and InDesign.

Make a Propaganda Poster

Propaganda posters have a bad rap. We tend to associate them with nefarious regimes peddling lies, but why not use the same techniques to draw attention to a good cause? Try out this tutorial to learn how to make a propaganda poster: in this case, it’s a voter registration poster for International Women’s Day.

propaganda poster

Make a Stunning Photo Manipulation

Photo manipulation lets you create magical scenes, like this dreamy scene of glowing fireflies. This video on how to make a photo manipulation walks you through the process of creating this scene, inspired by the original artwork of Melody Nieves.

Make a Vector Glitch Effect in Illustrator

The glitch effect is a great way to evoke a 1980s VHS world. Learn how to create a fabulous retro glitch effect in this free Glitch Effect Illustrator tutorial.

Make a Smoke Effect in Photoshop

Adding wisps of smoke to an image can instantly give it more impact. Learn how to do it in this tutorial detailing how to make a smoke effect in Photoshop by creating your very own Photoshop action using custom smoke brushes. It’s way easier than you think!

smoke efffect in Photoshop

Make Your Photo Look Like an Oil Painting

If you’ve ever wondered what you’d look like in a traditional oil painting, or if you’d like to apply an oil painting effect to other photos, then watch this video. It shows you how to turn a photo into a realistic-looking oil painting, quickly and easily.

Learn Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

Photo manipulation is a great technique for beginners because you don’t need drawing or painting skills—you just take existing images and combine them to create something beautiful and other-worldly. There are some important tricks to master if you want it to look realistic, though, and you’ll learn all of them in this free Photo Manipulation design course with Abbey Esparza.

Photo manipulation

Get Started With Affinity Designer

Of course, Adobe’s not the only game in town. Affinity Designer is a powerful piece of design software, and this detailed YouTube video course gets you up to speed in using it. It’s designed especially for those new to Affinity Designer or thinking of switching to it, so it makes for a perfect introduction.

Make Your Own Illustrator Grass Brush

Making your own custom brushes in Illustrator can save you loads of time on repetitive tasks. Grass is the perfect example—how long would it take you to draw each blade individually? By making brushes, you get realistic-looking grass, without hours of tedious work. Learn how to make your own grass brushes in this simple, step-by-step tutorial.

Grass brush in Illustrator

Or if you’d prefer something more systematic, try this epic three-hour YouTube video, in which Dan Scott takes you through all the essential features of Adobe Illustrator and shows you how to use each one, with examples. It’s all broken down into separate sections too, so if you just want to learn something specific, like how to use the Pen Tool, you can use the navigation links in the description to jump straight to that.

Master Photo Compositing in Photoshop

This photo manipulation course features a dynamic image of a robot in a post-apocalyptic industrial scene. With the skills you pick up in this free course, you’ll be able to take your viewers anywhere—the only limit is your imagination.

This incredibly comprehensive introduction to Adobe InDesign was first published back in April and has been hugely popular, with 450,000 views and counting. If you want to learn InDesign from the ground up, this is the only video you need to watch. Get started now.

If you’re stuck at home, what better thing to do than learn a creative skill like drawing? This beautiful and easy-to-follow tutorial teaches you how to draw a rose, step by step.

Design a Take-Out Menu

We often feature fun or inspiring designs here, but real-life graphic design work can sometimes be about creating something much more functional. This tutorial shows you how to create a simple but elegant take-out menu using Adobe InDesign. Learn how it’s done.

Takeout menu design

Learn Adobe Illustrator in a Free Course

If you want to be a better designer or illustrator, you’ll love this course. Adobe Illustrator is such a powerful design and illustration software package, and this course takes you through the essentials of the program and how to use it. Start watching and learning today!

Make a Restaurant Menu Template in InDesign

Whether you’re a restaurateur looking to design your own menu or a graphic designer who’s been hired to create one, this tutorial on How to Make a Restaurant Menu Template in InDesign has you covered. It takes you through the full process of creating not just a professional-looking menu, but an InDesign menu template that you can adapt to use again and again. Find out how it’s done.

Restaurant menu template

Design a Winning Project Proposal

When you’re putting together a proposal, the design really matters. Your prospective client will probably have dozens of other proposals to look through, and grabbing their attention with a clean, elegant design will give you a crucial advantage. This course teaches you how to stand out from the crowd by putting together a great proposal in InDesign.

Project Proposal

Design a Business Card

One of our most popular design courses is now free to watch! Learn how to design a business card in Photoshop in this free 45-minute course. You’ll see how to make three stunning designs inspired by minimalist, photographic, and artistic concepts.

Business card design

Design a Book Cover

People used to dream of having their book published one day. Now, with services like Amazon and CreateSpace, it’s easy to skip the dreaming and go straight to the publishing. But as you’ll see if you browse any online bookstore, getting the cover right is easier said than done. So take this book cover design course to learn how to create a professional-looking book cover that will entice new readers to buy and read your book.

Book cover course

Make a 3D Text Effect

The isometric style is perennially popular, so why not master it in this free course? You’ll learn how to create this amazing 3D text effect in Adobe Illustrator, and you’ll pick up some valuable Illustrator skills along the way.

3D text effect

Master 60 Essential Design Terms

The design world has its own language, and it’s essential to master it if you want to be a successful designer. Even if you have the visual sense and software skills, you need to know how to explain your designs to clients—and how to understand what clients want from you. So here are 60 design terms you should know.

Essential design terms

Learn Adobe Illustrator From Start to Finish

This course is a comprehensive guide for complete beginners to Adobe Illustrator. It starts with zero assumed knowledge and in over three hours of video lessons, it takes you up to the point where you can create finished illustrations using the Pen Tool, the Curvature Tool, brushes, and more. Take the course to go from zero to competent illustrator in a few hours!

Make Isometric Food Icons

The isometric style is perfect for making small, compact icons that are instantly recognizable. Learn how to use it to make these three cute food icons in Adobe Illustrator. Read the step-by-step instructions.

Isometric food icons

Find the Best Alternative to Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a great vector design package, but it’s not the only game in town. In recent years, new competitors have emerged that have a lot to offer. So why not explore some of the other options out there by watching the video above.

Create Your Own Color Font

This tutorial teaches you how to create your very own color font using the latest version of Adobe Illustrator and the powerful Fontself extension. So why not learn this important new design skill?

Color font example

Understand Basic Typography

Any designer will tell you that typography is crucial to good design. From company brands to newspaper headlines to advertisements to websites, you can see the power of typography in action everywhere. But, like any specialized field, typography has its own vocabulary, which can be confusing for beginners. Watch this 60-second typography video to learn how to tell your counters from your spines and your stems from your shoulders.

Typography terms

Discover Adobe Fresco

Have you tried the latest hot drawing and painting app? Adobe Fresco made a big splash when it was launched recently, but how does it compare with the more established Procreate app? Discover the answer by watching this free video comparison.

Create an Awesome Portrait on Your iPad

Can you believe that this stunning portrait was created on an iPad? And can you imagine creating it yourself in the Procreate app, with step-by-step instructions? That’s exactly what you’ll get in this tutorial. So view the instructions and start using your iPad for something other than Netflix!

Punk portrait on Procreate

Nail Instagram

If you want to get more Instagram followers, you’ll want to read this post, which summarises some of the key lessons from the newly launched School of Instagram. Find out how to write better captions, how to use the new Create Mode, and much more.

Instagram caption tips

Compare Affinity Photo With Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop has ruled the roost for so long now that “photoshopping” has entered the language as a verb. But many people are switching to Affinity Photo, a viable competitor with some impressive features. Watch this video to discover eight features of Affinity Photo that might convince you to switch over from Photoshop.

Design in Memphis Style

Do you like bold colors and playful design elements? Then you’ll love the Memphis Style, created in the 1980s and now back in vogue. From three of our recent tutorials, you can learn what the Memphis Style is, and then make a text effect and a poster in Memphis Style.

Memphis Style

Learn to Design for Color-Blind People

If we’re putting something out into the world these days, it really should be accessible to everyone. What I like about this tutorial is that it explains in lots of scientific detail what color blindness is and how things look to people with different kinds of color blindness, and then it goes on to give tips on what you can do to make your designs easier for everyone to view. Read the tutorial to learn how to tell protanopia from deuteranomaly and cater for people with either of them.

Designing for color-blind people

Draw Hair in 4 Different Styles

Did you know that the average human head has about 100,000 individual hairs? What that means is that if you want to draw someone’s hair, you can’t draw separate lines for each strand—you need to learn some tricks to create the illusion of 100,000 hairs while using far fewer lines. Take this drawing tutorial to see how it’s done.

How to draw hair

Make an Animated GIF

Whether you love them or hate them, animated GIFs are all over the web. This tutorial shows you an easy method of putting together an animated GIF in Adobe Photoshop. The example is of a wolf’s glowing eyes, but feel free to use the same techniques for laughing dogs, weird celebrity mashups, or whatever your heart desires. Start animating your GIFs here.

Animated GIF made in Photoshop

There’s More…

This post has just skimmed the surface of what Tuts+ has published recently, and in the full archives going back over a decade, there’s even more. So if you don’t see what you’re looking for in this post, you can search the full Tuts+ library of more than 1,300 courses and 30,000 tutorials to find exactly what you need.

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