Learning Graphic Design at the Library

We value education here at the library, and we acknowledge that people learn in different ways. Traditional education is not for everyone – nor is it affordable for everyone. If you are interested in pursuing a career in graphic design, but are looking for a different way to learn new software or augment your current skills, we have plenty of free resources to help you forge your own path.

Graphic and web design are becoming more sought-after skills as we continue to advance into a more web-based world. So what do you need to know to become a graphic/web designer? The answer depends on what kind of design you want to pursue. For a well-rounded profile, you’ll start with Photoshop for photo editing and manipulation, Illustrator for vector graphics and apparel design, and InDesign for publication design. For motion graphics, you’ll probably use After Effects. If you’re thinking of becoming a web designer, it would pay off to have an understanding of web development coding languages like HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

So what do you need to know to become a graphic/web designer? The answer depends on what kind of design you want to pursue.

Okay, so what if you don’t have access to these expensive design programs? After all, the Adobe programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are the industry standards. You could start out on free programs like GIMP, but if you’re planning on working as an in-house or agency graphic designer, your employer will expect you to know your way around the Adobe Creative Cloud. Conveniently, the library has three iMacs on the 2nd floor, and they all have the complete Adobe Creative Cloud installed!

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So, if you are able to make it to the library, you have access to the programs you need. Now comes the hard part – putting in the time to learn. Since a lot of design assets are web-based, it’s only fitting that these skills can be acquired through online courses. Lynda.com is an amazing option for learning the various software associated with a graphic design profile. If you are a Watertown resident with a library card, you are able to access Lynda.com’s extensive online courses for free. Just go to watertownlib.org/lynda, click our link, sign up with your library card number, and search for the software you are interested in learning. Lynda.com also offers Learning Paths to help you Become a Graphic DesignerBecome a Motion Graphics Artist , Become a Digital Illustrator, and Succeed as an In-House Creative which are great for people who prefer more structure. We have even created our own course lists for Graphic Design, Photography, and Coding/Web Design to help you get started.

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And of course if you’re into learning by reading, we have plenty of books on graphic and web design. Check out the 700s in our nonfiction collection. Happy designing!

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