The 5 Best Sites to Boost Your Graphic Design Skills


New year, new skills. If you’re resolving to become a better designer—or dipping your toes into graphic design—here are some resources.

What’s your resolution for the new year? While 2022 trends indicate that many people will be focusing on improving their mental health or going plant-based, the concept of self-improvement in the new year can also extend to your professional life. 

Graphic designers, take note. This one’s for you. 

We’ve compiled a list of the top five educational destinations where you can boost your design skills in the new year. Whether you’ve dreamed of getting started with graphic design or you’re a seasoned pro looking to learn from the best, our list is full of sites that offer it all.

Let’s take a look at a few of the best design destinations for all levels of the design playing field.

Flat Lay DesignWherever you’re at in your design career, our list of resources can help. Image via Bloomicon.

1. Best Educational Resource: Shutterstock Academy

We’re kicking things off with our very own design education destination, Shutterstock Academy. Our digital academy is made for creators, from creators.

While we’re focusing specifically on design within this blog post, Shutterstock Academy offers curated educational content for photographers and videographers, as well.

No matter where your creative interests lie, you can find content that offers fresh perspectives on design practices. It will also help you master the nuances of top design software. 

Now, back to graphic design.

Starting with the basics, Shutterstock Academy offers visitors introductory materials, focusing on subjects like color theory and design fundamentals. If you’ve been in the graphic design game for a while though, you can find more intensive content, focused on things like: 

  • Design Software: Accelerate your workflow and master the nuances and intricacies of today’s top design software, like Photoshop, InDesign, Lightroom, Illustrator, Procreate, and Shutterstock Editor.
  • Designer Resources: Gain a fresh perspective on design practices with curated resources, assets, and elements. Explore how modern design can impact behavior through UX/UI, layout design, and cultural conversations.
  • Creative Freebies: Elevate your personal and professional projects with hundreds of free design elements, video assets, and creative resources. Here, you can download free social media icons, free SFX, free vectors, free LUTS, free fonts, free holiday templates, and more.

Visiting the Shutterstock Academy homepage is a smart way to get started and see an overview of its resources for designers, videographers, and photographers.

Learn more about any one (or several) of your design interests here. Images via Rawpixel.com, ESB Professional, and yurakrasil.

2. Best for Graphic Design Beginners: Hack Design

Hack Design is not just led by graphic designers. It’s curated by them. Hack Design has created easy-to-follow graphic design courses, based off of the types of content that have helped their own designers learn, grow, and develop their skill sets.

They also send subscribers a new design lesson every week, with tips and tricks as told by a true master. 

This is an especially helpful resource for designers who are just starting out, because Hack Design has fifty introductory design courses available for free.

If you’re new to the game, Hack Design is a good place to get started. Images via Dmytro Zinkevych, Pressmaster, and Monkey Business Images.

3. Best Typography Tool: Fontjoy

Who hasn’t experienced this conundrum? You’re building a site, designing a poster, or creating a graphics concept, and you just can’t nail down the right font. Not only that, you can’t figure out how to pair fonts together for a cohesive look that communicates your brand.

Thankfully, Fontjoy solves this all-too-common issue. Its homepage allows designers to generate complementary font combinations in a click.

Beyond that, Fontjoy educates its visitors on how it works—and why font pairing is so important. Scrolling through its background page teaches designers about common problems in font pairing, solutions to address them, and how deep learning tools can help strengthen our skill sets as designers.

Calligraphy ArtistTypography can be tough. You’ll learn the basics here. Image via Chaosamran_Studio.

4. Best for Illustrators: Proko

From sketching basics to fully-detailed life drawing, the Proko YouTube channel offers lessons for illustrators at every level. While the Proko website sells paid resources and more specialized classes, designers can draw alongside the masters in their YouTube videos. 

Video lessons include the fundamentals, such as how to hold your pencil. They build up from there, covering everything from shading techniques to conveying the illusion of depth.

If you’re looking for more advanced and specialized work, you can watch tutorials on a variety of portraiture, such as basic figure drawing and caricatures. 

Serious or silly, there are many ways to illustrate a portrait. Images via Jacob Lund, Camera Nation, sc0rpi0nce, and Golubovy.

5. Best for UX/UI Fundamentals: General Assembly 

For folks looking to learn almost anything UX and UI related, General Assembly is the ultimate destination. Their classes cover today’s most in-demand skill sets. This includes UX design, data science, software engineering, data analytics, front-end web development, and product management.

Each class is led by an experienced, expert instructor. They also offer a variety of paths to success—full-time and part-time courses, workshops, and on-demand learning experiences.

The mission of the General Assembly is to serve as a pioneer in digital education and career transformation. Beyond class and course offerings, they maintain a community of over 40,000 alumni.

While in the digital classroom, though, students are mentored at every step in their progression, making their experiences more personalized and their learning more thorough.

Designers can focus on learning today’s most in-demand skills at General Assembly. Images via Iuliia Pilipeichenko, mangpor2004, Chaosamran_Studio, and Gorodenkoff.

Cover image via Normform.