Online Graphic Design Course course at Sessions College

Online Graphic Design Course

60 hours

4013: Graphic Design

Develop a professional approach to graphic design projects

Graphic designers today must be ready to tackle a wide range of projects from identity design to editorial design to product and packaging design. In this online graphic design course, you'll establish a firm foundation for professional design work. Gain insights from industry veterans and explore the challenges of designing posters, logos, magazine covers, book layouts, 3D designs, and brand identities. Hone your design process, as you research each project, develop concepts, work with expert instructor feedback, and begin to develop pieces for your portfolio.

Olive oil packaging design by student Daniel Tomasch

Course At A Glance

Course Features

  • 100% online
  • Project-based
  • Instructor-led
  • Study at your own pace
  • Complete this course in 6-8 weeks


The course is taught by the following instructor(s):

Course developed by: Morten Sohlberg

Take this course as a standalone or as part of the following program(s):

Course Projects

    1. The Process of Design

      How does a designer approach a project and develop a killer visual concept? This week you'll gain insights into the professional design process, learning the importance of research, concept development, and critique. A case study explores the evolution of an award-winning design concept, before you explore eight strategies for developing original visual ideas of your own. In the second part of the lesson, you'll learn about the tools and paste-up production methods used by many great designers of the 20th century. This will provide a historical context for how classic graphic design styles evolved into today's digital techniques.

    2. Text and Typography

      Actions may speak louder than words, but typography screams design. Skillful handling of text—including choice of typeface, type size, and alignment—is critical for any designer working today, in print or online. This week will review some typography fundamentals and evaluate how typography is used in composition. You'll examine important issues in selecting a typeface, including style, tone, and expression. Case studies explore the important role of visual identity for any publication.

    3. The Shape of Design

      Page layout skills are crucial for any graphic designer. Our focus this week will be some essential concepts for magazine layout. You'll learn key issues in using a grid to plan layout and text treatment, looking at how to research and plan the structure of a page or spread. A case study analyzes how a famous designer created a magazine layout, teaching you important terms in text treatment. You'll pick up rules of thumb for effective layout design for magazine covers and spreads, looking at highly effective examples along the way.

    4. Paper and Publishing

      Our objective this week is to give you an insight into the nature of the publishing industry, that exotic world of full-bleed images, embossed jacket designs, and pre-press checking. You'll begin with an overview of publishing for old media and new media and learn about book design through an in-depth case study. You will explore important paper terminology including embossing, die cutting, and more.

    5. Products and Packaging

      Why do some products sell while others simply gather dust on the shelves? Once a product hits the market, packaging design can make or break it. In this session we will explore how visual messages are used to shape consumer perceptions. You will learn how typography, color, and imagery work together to convey a message to consumers.

    6. Business and Production

      Our course concludes with one designer's perspective on the business and production aspects of design. You'll begin by exploring some options for a graphic design career, whether you are freelance or in-house. You'll learn tips for promoting yourself, working with clients, and managing your design jobs professionally. In the second part of the lesson, you'll learn principles for working with printers and get an overview of the ten steps in the print production process. You'll also learn pointers for designing and developing your portfolio of work.

Sample Student Work

by Sarah Ivany

Course Outcomes

What Are The Course Projects?

Expand your graphic design skills in creative, portfolio building projects ranging from pasteup poster design to logo design, magazine and book design, and product packaging design.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?
  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign or equivalent programs.
  • Basic experience in graphic design and the above software.
What Will I Learn?

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Develop graphic design work and concepts based on professional creative approaches and techniques.
  • Apply traditional and digital design techniques to create polished graphic design pieces.
  • Select and employ typography to communicate a specific message in logo designs and page layouts.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the characteristics of type to create cohesive and expressive logo designs.
  • Employ a layout grid and professional layout rules to design engaging magazine covers, article spreads, book covers, and book chapter pages.
  • Plan and produce magazine and book layout designs with a clear visual hierarchy of information.
  • Design a basic three-dimensional product packaging design working from a client brief.
  • Incorporate existing brand rules into product packaging designs and other graphic design projects.
  • Develop an understanding of how to manage the graphic designer/client/vendor relationship, including promotion and billing.
  • Organize work for use in physical and online design portfolios and produce a final portfolio piece that involves printing, labeling, package design, and photography.

Getting Started

Course Registration

  • Enroll today, start tomorrow
  • Study at your own pace
  • Complete within 3 months

Course Tuition and Fees
Registration Fee* $50
Total Course Price $999

Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for course content.

Course Registration Form

To register for this course, use the form below to enter your information and desired start date. An Admissions Advisor will contact you to arrange payment and provide you with an Enrollment Agreement.

PD: Course Registration

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Are The Courses Like?

Our courses are project-based. There are no set logins, so you can study at your own pace. In each course you’ll complete a series of lectures and projects designed to stretch your creative skills.

How Much Time Do I Need?

This course can be completed in 60 hours or less. You’ll have three months from enrollment to complete the course studying at your own pace. Extensions are available for those who need more time.

Who Are The Instructors?

Our courses are developed and taught by our faculty of professional artists, designers, and photographers. This means that you’ll learn in-demand skills, get feedback on your work, and build a portfolio of creative work.

Is Sessions College accredited?

Yes. Since 2001, Sessions College has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).