How to Learn Visual Design

Discover how to learn visual design, whether it be via classes or a coding bootcamp. See where a career in visual design can take you.
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Christina Payne
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Christina Payne has covered bootcamps, careers, and higher education for BestColleges since 2019. An experienced writer, Christina also works for a nonprofit organization in Seattle. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BA in histor...
Updated on April 20, 2023
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Madison Hoehn has worked as an associate editor for BestColleges, focusing on coding bootcamp rankings and the skilled trades. She is passionate about providing readers with alternatives to a traditional four-year college. She holds a BA in English l...
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Visual designers work in different mediums, including print and digital, to create visual content such as graphics, logos, and art. Visual designers also help with formatting and layout to improve user experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), arts and design occupations earned a median annual salary of $49,600 in 2020.

This guide details how to learn visual design through online courses or a visual design bootcamp. Readers will learn the pros and cons of online courses vs. bootcamps. This guide also provides answers to frequently asked questions about visual design and offers examples of online courses and bootcamps readers can enroll in.

Coding Bootcamps

Visual designers who wish to work primarily online should consider taking a coding bootcamp. Coding bootcamps may or may not require students to have any previous experience. Some may require an assessment before starting to see if learners are ready for the bootcamp. These programs teach coding fundamentals, including web design, coding languages, and maximizing user experience.

Students can enroll in bootcamps full time or part time, depending on the program. Some bootcamps are also self-paced, giving students greater control over how much time they spend learning each day. Many bootcamps offer certificates of completion upon graduation and provide career counseling services to help students find a job.

Coding bootcamps are a great way for students to learn visual design. Through a coding bootcamp, students learn web development and design basics, which act as fundamental building blocks for visual designers working on websites and apps. Students often receive project-based lessons for hands-on experience in bootcamps, improving their learning experience.

Find the Right Coding Bootcamp For You

Online Courses

Online courses come in various formats and time commitments. In general, these classes are flexible and easy to schedule around a full-time or part-time job. Online courses generally cost less and take less time than bootcamps, providing a faster, cheaper option for students unable to enroll in a bootcamp.

Readers can find a list of online courses for visual design below:

  • Graphic Design Visualization: Offered by the California Institute of Arts, this course requires about six months to complete. Students have flexible scheduling options and do not need any previous experience. At the end of the course, students complete a capstone project to help build their professional portfolio.
  • Graphic Design: The University of Colorado Boulder offers a 100% online course with flexible scheduling. Graduates receive a certificate upon course completion. Students gain skills in graphics, typography, and presentation. Students need about 29 hours to complete this course.
  • Graphic Design Masterclass: Students learn typography, color theory, layout, and blocking fundamentals. This course also covers logo design and photo editing. Students receive access to 28.5 hours of instructional videos and 46 downloadable resources. Graduates receive a certificate from the program.
  • Logo Design Fundamentals: This course teaches the step-by-step process for designing and finalizing a branded logo. In the free version of the course, students receive access to the online video content. In the paid course, students gain access to the online video content, instructor Q&A, and instructor direct messaging. Students in the paid course also earn a certificate of completion upon graduation.
  • Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, and Application: This course covers color theory in design through real-world examples and hands-on practice. This course provides just over eight hours of class content in 20 video lessons. Students receive lifetime access to classroom materials. This course may be streamed or downloaded for offline access.

Online Courses vs. Bootcamps

Pros and Cons of Online Courses
Pros Cons
  • Flexible scheduling, often with options for self-paced coursework
  • Minimal time commitment
  • Less expensive than bootcamps; free courses available
  • Less in-depth material than bootcamps
  • Fewer student resources available
  • Less likely to receive mentorship
Pros and Cons of Bootcamps
Pros Cons
  • Career services available
  • Project-based, hands-on material
  • In-depth coursework
  • More expensive than an online course
  • Big time commitment, especially for full-time students
  • Bootcamps can be more intensive and fast-paced than an online course

Coding Bootcamps to Learn Visual Design


  • Locations: Remote, Miami, New York City
  • Program Cost: $15,000
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options
Start For Free

BrainStation offers a UX design bootcamp that can be completed either online or in select locations. The program features an interactive, project-based learning style that lasts for about 11 weeks. Students learn UX fundamentals, strategy and planning, and app design before gaining access to BrainStation's professional development career services. The full-time option consists of classes Monday through Friday, while the part-time format allows for weekend options.

BrainStation also offers bootcamps in web development, data science, and digital marketing. The provider boasts over 6,500 hiring partners for graduates. Bootcamp students also receive access to exclusive guest lectures from industry professionals.


  • Location: Remote
  • Program Cost: $6,749
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options
Money-Back Guarantee

Designlab's UX Academy bootcamp offers intensive lessons for those with or without previous UX/UI design experience. The full-time program lasts for 15 weeks, while part-time students take 28 weeks to finish. The most notable feature is their 1-to-1 mentorship, in which students can select which professional design mentor they want to have. Learners can also receive visual design mentorship.

For those without UX design experience, Designlab offers four short courses to get you started before enrolling in the UX Academy. Course examples include design 101 and UI design.

General Assembly

  • Location: Remote
  • Program Cost: $2,800
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Part Time

Accepts GI Bill®
Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

General Assembly offers a part-time visual design bootcamp that teaches valuable UI design skills and requires students to complete a responsive webpage capstone. The course lasts for about seven weeks, with various start dates annually. Upon completion, students receive a certificate that they can add to a resume and discuss in a job interview. The bootcamp focuses on real-world relevance.

General Assembly offers payment plans and tuition discounts for qualifying students, including students from underrepresented populations. This bootcamp provider boasts over 19,000 hiring partners and more than 70,000 global alumni.

Noble Desktop

  • Location: Remote, New York City
  • Program Cost: $3,495
  • Learning Format: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

Noble Desktop's visual design classes feature many unique courses and tools to help learners succeed. Aspiring visual designers can find classes in motion graphics, video editing, UX design, and photoshop. Noble Desktop also offers various workshops to teach students Adobe XD, Figma, and Sketch. Learners can also enroll in several certificate programs that can be retaken within a year if not passed initially.

Students can take courses online or in New York City. Noble Desktop offers full-time and part-time schedules with weekend options.


  • Location: Remote
  • Program Cost: $11,900
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Self-Paced

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options
Money-Back Guarantee

Springboard has a UI/UX design bootcamp perfect for first-timers or those who need a flexible learning format. The bootcamp lasts about nine months, but students can choose how many hours per week they want to devote to their studies. Participants study ideation and interaction design, along with sketching and wireframing. The program provides mentorship and career services that involve mock interviews.

Springboard offers other programs for beginners who want to pursue data analytics, data science, or cybersecurity. These programs offer deferred tuition, meaning students can pay after they have graduated and found a career.

Get the Qualities You Want in a Bootcamp

We use icons to make browsing bootcamps easy for you. Use this breakdown to quickly identify program qualities you are looking for.

Accepts GI Bill®

Accepts the GI Bill® as funding for tuition.

Also Available In Person

This online bootcamp also offers in-person options.

Career Services

Offers career services to help you land your dream job after graduation.

CIRR Member

This bootcamp is a current member of the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting. Learn more at

Evening & Weekend Options

Bootcamps are offered during convenient evening and weekend hours.

Job Guarantee

Employment is guaranteed as soon as you finish your bootcamp.

Money-Back Guarantee

Tuition is refunded if you don't land a job within a given time frame after graduation. Visit the bootcamp website for terms and conditions.

Start for Free

No deposit is required to get started. Begin your bootcamp for $0.


Bootcamp Ranking Guidelines

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

Our Methodology

The Bootcamp Team at BestColleges has collected data for over 150 bootcamps to help you find the best bootcamp.

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

At this time, our recommendation round-ups feature only immersive bootcamps designed to prepare students for job placement upon graduation.

To be included on our lists, bootcamps must meet the following criteria:

  • Must offer at least one bootcamp in the United States.
  • Must offer at least one bootcamp that is a minimum of 4 weeks long.
  • Must require at least 15 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is part time.
  • Must encourage at least 10 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is self-paced.

Pricing disclosure: The prices listed were collected from product websites in 2022. However, given the dynamic, fast-paced nature of the tech space, prices are subject to change throughout the year. To get the most up-to-date information about pricing, contact providers directly.

Methodology for Recommending Cheap Bootcamps:

  • The bootcamp must meet all of the general criteria listed above.
  • The bootcamp must cost less than $8,000 if it is offered full time, and less than $5,000 if it is offered part time. These numbers were chosen based on data collected by BestColleges in 2020 that determined the average cost of a coding bootcamp is $13,580.

Visual Design Jobs

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers use software to create visual concepts, production designs, and branding material. These professionals can work in many industries, including marketing and video game design. They may choose to specialize in other areas of expertise, such as UX/UI and web design. Graphic designers may work as part of a team or as individuals. Some designers even work as freelancers.

Median Annual Salary

Desktop Publishers

Desktop publishers design page layouts for both printed material and online publications, such as newspapers, magazines, books, and blogs. These professionals integrate graphics and text, ensuring each page fits the proper dimensions and follows design standards. Desktop publishers often work alongside writers and graphic designers.

Median Annual Salary

Digital Designers

Digital designers help create a website's visual elements. These professionals also assist web developers by testing website functionality for users. Digital designers, similar to web designers, create the graphics and layout of a webpage. They also integrate video and audio seamlessly into the design as necessary.

Median Annual Salary

Frequently Asked Questions About Learning Visual Design

Is visual design easy to learn?

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Like any subject, visual design requires time and practice to learn. Visual design basics, such as color theory, typography, and blocking, apply to all specializations in the field. However, some visual design jobs may require additional knowledge. Learners should decide if they would rather specialize in print or web design and how to learn the necessary skills for their chosen field.

For example, visual designers interested in web design need a basic understanding of coding languages and web development. These designers must be able to build and tweak portions of code to seamlessly mesh their designs with the functionality of the website.

Where can I learn visual design for free?

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You can learn visual design for free through online courses. While not all online classes are free, learners should be able to take some introductory design classes at no charge. However, these classes often do not go into much depth, requiring a minimal time commitment from students.

People looking for free visual design classes can explore bootcamp options. Most bootcamps require payment, but some offer free introductory classes to prepare students for in-depth learning in the paid bootcamp.

What is the best way to learn visual design?

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The best method of learning visual design depends on each student's learning needs. Learners should consider how much time they can commit to lessons, how much they can spend, and what kind of learner they are.

Students who prefer hands-on learning and have the time and budget should consider a full-time visual design bootcamp. Learners on a budget who prefer self-paced learning should consider an online course.

Aspiring visual designers should explore their options before choosing a class or bootcamp.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at

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