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What you'll learn

  • Understand the principles and various elements of design
  • Gain practical skills in Adobe software (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign)
  • Understand the design cycle
  • Typography
  • How to create a portfolio and start your own graphic design business

Course Content

module 1

Diploma in Graphic Design




  1. What is Graphic Design?

    Kickstart your course with an overview of the graphic design space. Get familiar with the concept of graphic design as well as an understanding of visual relationships that can help you communicate a direct and coherent message. Investigate the various design careers this industry has to offer and work your way through the holy trinity of graphic design applications — Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

  2. The Elements and Principles of Design

    In your second graphic design class, you will begin developing a ‘designer’s eye’. The key here is to understand the building blocks of visual communication. You will learn more about the elements and principles of design including value, colour, focal point, rhythm and the theory of gestalt. This lesson embraces the practicality of applying these elements and principles, and how to think like a creative specialist.

  3. An Introduction to Adobe Illustrator and Logo Designing

    Adobe Illustrator, the world-leading digital illustration application, is the starting point of this lesson. Lesson 3 will investigate one of the first tasks a designer is faced with: logo creation. The process of concept to presentation is known as the design cycle, and a thorough breakdown will be given as to how to approach a customer through the design cycle. The lesson will end with an introduction to working in Adobe Illustrator.

  4. Flyer Design Using Adobe Illustrator

    In this graphic design class, you will differentiate between the different types of images graphic designers deal with daily. You thought you knew all there is about images, but this course will blow your mind with some newfound knowledge! Learn a bulletproof design technique that barely fails, and apply it in a practical exercise of Adobe Illustrator. This lesson is sure to get you hooked!

  5. Photo-manipulation in Adobe Photoshop

    Did you know there is a difference between a digital image and printed image? This lesson will investigate the crucial component of working with pixels. Photoshop demos will make this lesson even more practical, and the fundamentals of Photoshop including layers and blending modes will be focused on. The lesson will end with a fun demo on creating a basic double exposure image using the techniques learnt.

  6. Movie Poster Design in Adobe Photoshop

    The golden ratio, rule of thirds and principles of good design will be discussed in lesson 6. The amazing ability of Photoshop will be put to the test with the introduction of layer masks. These skills will be put to practice by designing a movie poster. Once you've finished lesson 6 of this graphic design course, you will eat, sleep and speak Photoshop.

  7. An Introduction to Adobe InDesign

    Print is not dead. Getting your files print-ready is a critical part of any designer’s task. Bleeds, cropmarks, colour, space and format are all principles that will be explained in this lesson, and you will be introduced to the amazing Adobe InDesign — the most powerful layout application.

  8. Brochure Design in InDesign

    About 70% of all designs consist of typography — the art of using type in your design. In the last lesson of module 1, you will realise that type is not only a mere communication instrument but you will also see the potential of using type as a design element. Your audience wants to read your message but with so many other messages screaming for attention, how do you make your message stand out?

module 2

Intermediate in Graphic Design



  1. Advanced Colour Theory and Print Terminology

    Module 2 of the graphic design course begins by exploring advanced colour theory and colour psychology. In this lesson, you will discover how to evaluate each of the primary and secondary colours in detail, looking at effective examples by referring to famous logos and other designs. How do these colours affect an audience psychologically? Spot colours like the Pantone Matching System will be discussed, and you will look at the difference between spot and process colours. Colour modes including CMYK, RGB, HSV as well as Lab Colours will be examined and explained, and the lesson will conclude by looking at some of the more popular printing techniques used in the industry today.

  2. Mood Board Creation

    Lesson 2 entails working in all three software applications you have learnt so far. Mood boards can be used for any creative project and are a great way to help communicate your intended message to your client. Explore Adobe Color, an amazing online tool that assists designers in coming up with creative colour schemes. These colour schemes can then be applied to your mood boards. This lesson on color schemes in graphic design is crucial in that it not only teaches you the importance of mood boards and colour but also the key differences in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, since you are creating the same design in all three applications.

  3. Advanced Typography

    Continuing the quest to better understand typography, this graphic design lesson digs into the anatomy of type and evaluates the different parts of a font. There is a lot more to typography than you might have thought! Typography is not only about communication, but aesthetics plays just as important a role. You will explore the different font categories and learn how to design by making use of only type. The lesson challenge on designing only with type is not as easy as it seems. This challenge is sure to assist you in thinking creatively by having a list of limitations that you need to overcome.

  4. Basics of the Pen Tool

    This lesson focuses on one of the tools you will make use of the most in Illustrator; the pen tool which is a drawing tool. Instead of creating already designed shapes, it allows you the freedom to create custom shapes and lines. It might seem very basic, but the pen tool is quite something to get used to. The good news is that as soon as you get the hang of the pen tool in Illustrator, it becomes natural in the other software as well. This lesson will end with an exciting challenge creating your own polygonal art — drawing using only triangles you created with the pen tool.

  5. Mastering the Pen Tool

    Continuing with the pen tool, this lesson is all about how to create curves. Creating curves with the pen tool is the most intimidating part but once you have mastered it, you will be able to create so many designs. The pen tool allows you to create extremely accurate designs.The advantage of using the pen tool is that your paths and curves are editable and you can simply go back and re-edit your paths or curves if need be. It is a non-destructive way of designing and editing. For this lesson's challenge, you will start to create curves by using the pen tool to conceptualise a greetings card. The pen tool will be used in both Photoshop and Illustrator in this lesson.

  6. Magazine Cover in Photoshop

    Making use of the knowledge you have gained so far, this class will cover some basic photography terms that will assist you when working with photographers for the purpose of graphic design projects. In other words, a graphic designer needs to understand photography because you will be working with photographers frequently and will be incorporating photos in your artwork. The lesson will end with a Photoshop challenge using photo manipulation to create a magazine cover. This cover will be used in lesson 8 when you create a magazine in InDesign.

  7. Advertisement in Photoshop

    This lesson will explore the difference between photo enhancing and photo manipulation, helping to take your photo editing skills one step further. Two exciting demos await you in this lesson which require you to create your very own photo manipulated advertisement in Photoshop.

  8. Magazine Layout in InDesign

    Lesson 8 entails designing a magazine layout from the content created in lessons 6 and 7 so far. When it comes to layout design, you will make use of a grid to organise your elements. The whole idea of a grid is to make the design process easier and quicker. The demo entails learning amazing features in InDesign crucial to anyone interested in becoming a graphic designer. You will learn how to make use of the master page function, add page numbers and even create character styles. The lesson demo will serve as inspiration for your challenge.

module 3

Advanced in Graphic Design



  1. Creative Thinking

    Creativity is a means of problem solving. Since graphic designers are visual problems solvers, it makes sense for them to be creative as well. But how do you know if you are creative? Is everyone creative? Can creativity be learnt or is it something only a few individuals are born with? All these questions and even more will be answered in this eye-opening lesson. You will look at techniques to inspire you and teach you ways to not think outside of the box but to rather understand that there is no box.

  2. Corporate Identity and Mockup Creation

    A corporate identity is a visual that encapsulates a company's values in a glimpse. Therefore, your identity should portray not only what your business does but also the values of your business. In this lesson, you will explore the concepts of creating a corporate identity including a logo, business card and HTML email signature. The principles of effective logo design will be examined and all that you have learned will be put to the test in a fun and interactive demo. You will take the elements created in this demo and put them on realistic looking mockups that will aid your client in visualising the final product, making your work look even more professional.

  3. Interactive PDF and E-publication

    A lot of reading nowadays happens in digital format, from invoices to books. Therefore, as a graphic designer it is crucial that you know and understand the best format to save various files in. You should be able to make the viewing process as convenient for your viewer and make sure that the source is easily accessible. In this lesson, you will explore the world of digital documents, from the good old faithful PDF document to e-publications. The graphic design course ends with a demo using InDesign to create both interactive PDF documents as well as e-publications.

  4. Advanced Photo Manipulation

    By now, you know that there is a difference between photo enhancing and photo manipulation. The possibilities are endless when it comes to photo manipulation. That is why this lesson explores even more photo manipulation techniques. You will learn about the ageing process and how to achieve this within a young person (with Photoshop, of course) and add some amazing techniques.

  5. 3D Rotation and Design in Illustrator

    3D design is a completely different field to graphic design. However, it is good to know and understand the basics of 3D design as a graphic designer. Did you know that Illustrator has the ability to create 3D designs? In this class, you will explore the 3D revolve and rotation functions as well as the perspective tool in Illustrator, ending with your very own wine bottle and label creation.

  6. Packaging Design

    Packaging, like 3D design, is different to graphic design. But since graphic designers design labels that fit around packaging, it is important to understand packaging design as well. Within this lesson you will examine the most common type of packaging material and what they are used for. You will also create your very own paperboard packaging blueprint and apply your label to this.

  7. Designing for Web and Social Media

    As a graphic designer, you will work hand-in-hand with web designers and developers, and in some instances, you will need to be the web designer as well. Therefore, understanding the basics of web design is crucial. If you are a web designer and developer, this lesson will put things into more perspective for you from a graphic designer's perspective. This class will also look at social media, user experience and user interface as well as the dimensions that are most effective when designing for social media.

  8. Infographics

    An infographic, as the name implies, is information displayed visually in an interesting manner. It is sometimes necessary for designers to convey information visually as it aids in getting a message across a lot quicker. This lesson will explore the need for infographics and also look at different types of infographics and when to use them. The graphic design module will end with an exciting demo on how to create your very own infographic from scratch using Adobe Illustrator.

module 4

Proficient in Graphic Design



  1. Design On the Go

    Even though technology has changed vastly, mobile applications are not yet where computers are, especially when it comes to creating custom designs. There are a variety of mobile apps that make it possible to create amazing looking designs, however. These applications work on the principle of having pre-set templates that can be adjusted accordingly. Even though these apps do not really count as claiming yourself to be a professional graphic designer, it is crucial to know about them and their features because even graphic designers need to design on the go when they don’t have their computers with them.

  2. Creating Your Own Font

    Font designers are individuals that are responsible for the design, creation and development of typefaces. It is not as easy as it seems and you will need to recap on typography terminology. However, this lesson explores a fun and interesting field — creating your very own typeface! You will learn about a new type of font, called a colour font, that has only been created quite recently. In fact, it is so fresh, that it still needs to be introduced to Microsoft Office! Nonetheless, you will learn all about this new technology and even create your own OTF and OpenType-SVG fonts!

  3. Advanced Digital Illustration

    The ability to draw complicated illustrations is closer to your reach than you might think. Digital illustration, or computer illustration, is the use of digital tools to create images through the imagination of the artist, usually through a device such as a drawing tablet or a mouse. You will learn some crucial tips when it comes to creating digital illustrations and end by creating your own advanced digital illustration making use of shapes, gradients and polishing. This class on graphic design will equip you with the armoury to create their very own digitally illustrated character!

  4. Essentials for Design Businesses

    A common question asked by students is how to price your work. The problem with this question is that there is no definite answer; there is no standard guide indicating how much a designer should charge. However, this lesson will provide you with useful insight on how to determine your worth. This lesson will also provide some useful resources to speed up the processes of setting up a quotation for a client or delegating tasks to your team.

  5. Resume Creation

    A resume is a document created to showcase your background, skills and achievements. Even though you can use a resume for various reasons, it is mostly used to secure employment. As a graphic designer, you can't have a dull looking resume and will need to make sure that your resume stands out. This is easier said than done, however, because you will compete with other highly skilled graphic designers. In this online class, you will learn from the best in the industry. Get to grips with what to add to your resume to make you stand out and also how to research for ideas. This lesson will end with an exciting demo on creating your own infographic resume.

  6. Power Tools in Photoshop

    This lesson will cover some of the amazing tools that Photoshop has to offer. From creating your own actions to speed up your Photoshop workflow to creating your own brushes and even learning the automate function that includes stitching a panoramic together, creating an HDR image as well as other bulk editing features. The lesson will conclude by exploring the timeline feature and creating your own animated GIFs.

  7. Getting Your Foot in the Door

    Continuing on from what you learnt in lesson 4, you will investigate some useful features to help get your foot in the door. One aspect to consider is to determine and know your personality type, your strengths and weaknesses as well as how you work with other personality types in the workplace. On top of this, having a social media account for your business or even for self-promotion is key to strut your stuff. This lesson will show you some useful online communities where you can have the option to serve clients throughout the world.

  8. Portfolio Creation in InDesign

    This graphic design course will conclude with the most important thing to have as a designer. A portfolio is a combination of all your best work. You will learn the ins and outs of creating an effective design portfolio, the considerations as well as some great websites that will allow you to create designs based on briefs generated by these websites. These websites come in quite handy if you feel that you need some work added to your portfolio. By the end of this graphic design course, you will leave with an impressive looking portfolio that will assist you in applying for various design positions.

Certified by
Globally recognised by
  • Weeks
    16 Weeks


  • lessons
    32 Lessons

    Plus assessments

  • modules
    4 Modules


  • course
    Globally Recognised


Avg. Rating



I have just completed Kevins Graphic Design course and highly recommend it to anyone interested in this field. It was packed with a wealth of info that he crammed into 10 excellent lessons.


Thanks to Kevin for the amazing graphic design courses I'm thoroughly enjoying it and learning new things each lesson


I found the course of Graphic Design to be extremely helpful.I have never found the staff at any other learning institution as supportive as the staff at Shaw Academy.


It's my first time to try and online course..


I have started with Shaw academy graphic design course , I am enjoying the course It is really interesting ,,Thank you Shaw academy #shawgraphic

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