Design, Professional Development

Just keep learning: websites to continue your design development

Keeping up to date on your design skills is an ongoing process. New versions of the Creative Adobe Software used to appear every year or two, but now with the subscription service (which I’ll be honest, I don’t have), I expect there are new updates on a regular basis.

Having cashed out on CS5 a few years back (more like several), it currently does what I need it to do, but there’s a day coming soon where I’ll be splashing out on the monthly subscription and I’ll find new tools and tricks to learn.

Besides keeping on top of the software skills, I like to keep abreast of the concepts of design and the new programmes and platforms on the market. Any excuse to learn something new is right up my alley, and here’s the top five sites I try and visit on a regular basis.

1. Futurelearn.com

The great thing about Futurelearn is that it’s free to sign-up, and a lot of courses are also just that – you can pay for the certificate at the end of it to prove your achievement, but you’ve still signed-up to the course and achieved the knowledge and skills.

The courses are more general based, which is great if you want to get a basic understanding of a subject (and not just in arts and design). You can pay for some of the more advanced courses, but if you’re just curious this is a great site to sign-up to.

2. Lynda.com

Boasting thousands of different courses that can take a couple of hours to a couple of weeks to complete, lynda.com was bought out by LinkedIn a few years back, which means you can add this achievement neatly in with your profile. It isn’t free unfortunately – being a £12/£13 per month subscription, but you can sign-up to the one-month trial period and try out some courses in that month and cancel the subscription at the end of it.

If you want to continue using lynda.com, though, the subscription isn’t horrendous. Just as long as you use it regularly!

3. Skillshare.com

One of my favourite learning platforms, you can sign-up to skillshare.com for free and access a number of the courses, or you can sign-up for the premium version (and there are a few codes out there for 1-3 months free), and access far more courses.

It’s not just design skills I’ve tried courses in either. From watercolour to writing, Skillshare has a lot to offer.

4. Udemy.com

Udemy is one of the sites I check out for coding skills. There are free courses, or low-priced courses on anything design related. Plus, you’ll find there are regular discounts going on at certain times of the year…

5. YouTube.com

Yes, everyone knows YouTube. Whether you’re a fan of music videos, hilarious cat comedy, or like checking out the videos of the latest popular vlogger, there’s something for everyone.

But it’s not just a medium for the procrastinators or the bored. You can use it to learn new skills too. Granted, there are so many videos on YouTube it’s difficult to find the right thing on the first go, but it’s free after all and is my usual go-to for a quick fix. I’ve been hooked more on the art and DIY side of it lately, but have certainly used it for my design skills in the past.

That’s my top 5 sites I use on a fairly regular basis, but there’s far more sites out there to continue your training – both free and for subscription.

Here’s just a few more sites I’ve heard good things about and will definitely be checking out in the future:

Other sites to try:

1. Coursera: The site design looks so user-friendly, and there are so many courses on here, that I’m eager to check Coursera out further. I’ve heard of it before, but not had a chance yet to try it out. I’ve noticed you can enroll on the courses on a free 7-day trial, but it’s £35 per month to continue learning after that.

2. Udacity: Another user-friendly site, Udacity has much more access to free courses than Coursera, though mainly in technology, programming and development subjects rather than graphic design.

3. Pluralsite: A set-up similar to Coursera in the fact that there’s a lot of courses on here, but mainly technology, programming and development-related. There’s a free course uploaded weekly, so if you don’t want to pay for the $29 a month subscription, I’d definitely keep this site bookmarked. There’s a 10-day free trial though, if you really spot a course you want to take, and have the time to do it before the trial runs out.

If you know any other sites for learning graphic design skills that I haven’t listed, please let me know!

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