Hoping to gain some graphic design skills while living in New York City? Luckily, the city that never sleeps offers a ton of different graphic design courses. With a little help, you can find the perfect New York-based class to build up your skills and work on your portfolio. You can also find a course that will teach you the basics of programs like Adobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop.
When researching classes, you will want to carefully consider your goals. What exactly do you want to get out of the class? Are you interested in a class that will teach you general graphic design skills, or are you interested in learning only one specific design tool? Or maybe you want to enroll in a more formal graphic design program, like a certificate or degree program for professionals.
Read on for more information about classes and certificate programs in New York City that will teach you to turn graphic design into your career.
Premier Brooklyn art school Pratt Institute offers extensive continuing education courses in graphic design.
The institute gives students the option to register for individual courses or for an entire certificate program, in which they will take a total of eight courses.
The three core courses for the certificate are:
- Introduction to Graphic Design
- Introduction to Typography
- Brand Design and Corporate Identity
Students will also choose three courses from the Adobe Creative Cloud category, choosing from:
- Introduction to Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe Illustrator Advanced
- Introduction to Photoshop
- Photoshop Advanced
- Adobe InDesign
- Adobe After Effects
To finish the full certificate, students must then take two additional electives from one of the other design certificates that Pratt offers. The nine other certificates are:
- CAD Design
- Creative Careers
- Digital Product Design
- Fashion New Media
- Human Centered Design
- Motion Graphics
- Photography and Video
- UX/UI Mobile Design
- Web Design
Upon completing the certificate, students will have all of the important design tools necessary to build their design portfolio.
Students who are simply interested in continuing their education by taking an individual course are welcome to do so, according to the school. It’s also possible for students to take one or two courses, then decide afterward that they would like to complete the entire certification course.
School of Visual Arts
The School of Visual Arts, located in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan, is one of NYC’s best design institutions. SVA, as it is commonly known, has a robust continuing education program. The school offers courses in advertising, animation, film and video, and of course, design.
The design department’s course offering is robust and is currently being taught online. There are some courses for complete beginners, and others for students who already have design experience. Some of the courses you can sign up for include:
- Agile Design
- Brand Identity: Creating an Image
- Color Workshop: Life Beyond Black, White, and Red
- Design: Basic Digital Design
- Digital Design Basics
- Digital Practices for an Integrated Advertising World
- Editorial Design
- Experiencing Brands Through Interaction Design
- Graphic Design: Learn It, Live It, Do It
- Graphic Design: Learning from the Masters
- Hand Lettering and Design
- Illustrator: Basic
- The Art of Design: Basic
- Typography- Typography and Design: It’s all Here
Parsons School of Design
Parsons School of Design, also known as The New School, is located in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and offers extensive continuing education options as well as regular coursework. Their certificate programs have no entrance requirements and are intended for nontraditional students looking to develop their skills in a new field.
Among these programs is The New School’s certificate in Graphic and Digital Design. It is intended to prepare students to think like designers. After extensive training in industry software and technology, graduating students will be prepared for a successful career in design.
The certificate program requires students to complete eight courses, ranging from conceptual to technical. The required courses are:
- Color Theory
- Graphic Design I
- Digital Graphics with Illustrator I
- Digital Imaging with Photoshop
- Graphic Design History
Then, students can choose three electives from among the following:
- Typography I
- Digital Layout: Adobe InDesign
- Communication and Promotional Design
- 3D Modeling Fundamentals
Pace University is a four-year school with campuses in New York City and Westchester county. Besides four-year degrees, it also offers continuing education programs for aspiring graphic designers.
The certificate program in Digital Graphic Design focuses on Adobe Creative Cloud software tools including Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe XD, InDesign, Bridge, and Acrobat.
The main goal of the program is to give students background knowledge of the concepts and tools they will need to design digital content.
Program topics include:
- The Digital Graphic Design process
- Understanding the latest graphic design technologies
- Utilizing best practices in graphic design
- Using digital assets in your workflow
- Designing and building multi-page products and contents for different platforms
- Integration of technology and software for design
This course is ideal for anyone looking to learn the fundamentals of graphic design. The program culminates in a final project that requires students to use all of their Adobe Creative Cloud skills.
Located in the heart of NYC, Cooper Union offers degrees in art, architecture, and engineering. Cooper Union does not offer a certificate program. Instead, it offers a catalog of individual visual arts and typography & calligraphy courses.
Here is a sample of some of the classes offered at the school:
- Introduction to Color Theory, including color correction
- Script Logos and Wordmarks
- Python for Designers
- Typography for the Senses
- Letter Anatomy: Italics and Scripts
- Freehand Lettering
- Hand-lettered Logotypes
- Lettering Intensive: The Modern Letter
- Choosing the Right Typeface
All of Cooper Union’s typography & calligraphy courses are online for the time being. You can see their course catalog for starting dates and more information.
Fashion Institute of Technology
The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) at the State University of New York offers a non-credit certificate in Computer Essentials to Graphic Design. The certificate requires students to complete nine courses, with a concentration in Animation/Web, or Architecture, Construction, or Interior Design.
Students are required to complete the courses within two years. They must take seven core classes and two additional courses in their chosen concentration.
The seven core courses are:
- Illustrator I, II and III: Graphic Design
- Photoshop I
- Photoshop II: Graphic Design
- InDesign I
- Managing the Design Process
The concentration in Animation/Web offers two courses:
- Interactive Design for Tablets/Smartphones
- Animation Design with Adobe Animate
The concentration in Architecture, Construction, or Interior Design includes five possible classes:
- Autoclad I
- Autoclad II
- SketchUp for Interior Design and Virtual Reality
- Revit I
- Revit II
The FIT program is a great opportunity for students to learn graphic design while also gaining detailed knowledge in a related field like animation.
New York Film Academy
The New York Film Academy (NYFA), contrary to its name, offers far more than just film studies. The school also has programs in photography, broadcast journalism, game design, virtual reality, and, you guessed it, graphic design.
Unique from other NYC institutions, NYFA offers a unique yearlong, intensive conservatory-style graphic design program. In the first semester, students will learn the fundamentals of graphic design. This foundation includes coursework in the history of graphic design, as well as typography and basic design skills.
Students will also take computer lab courses to study the software that is fundamental to the industry. They will learn to use the full Adobe Creative Suite, which includes InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects. Students will work closely with professors to develop their understanding of aesthetics and communication through design.
In the second semester, students will apply what they learned earlier to their own creative design projects. This will include learning about brand strategy, visual identity, and design and motion. They will also have the opportunity to work with a company to solve real-world graphic design challenges.
American Graphics Institute
The American Graphics Institute has several continuing education options, both in-person in New York City and online. Students can choose to either pursue a graphic design certificate, take individual courses, or attend a bootcamp.
This program, offered in NYC or online, is open to anyone interested in honing their graphic design skills, including total beginners. Students should expect to expand their design skill set while building a strong design portfolio. The American Graphics Institute partners with design and coding school Noble Desktop to make the course possible.
The certificate includes the following intensive courses:
- InDesign Bootcamp
- Photoshop Bootcamp
- Illustrator Bootcamp
- Graphic Design Bootcamp
This is a one-day intensive introduction to graphic design. It’s perfect if you are not entirely sure about committing to a multiple-week course. It is also an excellent building block for a more in-depth course.
This course covers a lot of ground in a short time, including the following topics:
- Graphic design from a historical perspective, and international typographic style
- Understanding the importance of sketching
- The importance of developing innovative concepts and focusing on ideas
- Understanding space in graphic design
- Design balance, including experimenting with symmetrical and asymmetrical space
- Adding rhythm and harmony to your designs
- Typography: Effective use of Type
- The Influence of color on graphic design
This Photoshop-intensive certificate is intended for professionals looking to become experts in Adobe Photoshop. It is a full-time, four-week course that clocks in at a total of 84 hours. Alternatively, students can take the class part-time and commit to a minimum of two sessions per month. The courses required to complete the certificate are:
- Photoshop Training Class- Introduction, Intermediate, and Advance
- Photoshop Retouching Class
- Illustrator Training Class – Introduction
- Digital Imaging Project
- Digital Imaging Portfolio
If you know that you want to focus on this particular design tool, this program is a great option.
Conclusion: Why You Should Learn Graphic Design
In becoming a graphic designer, you are choosing an exciting career path. Graphics are always in demand and are becoming even more relevant as our use of social media increases.
Graphic designers can also dabble in many industries, depending on your area of interest. It is a career that offers designers many options and the possibility of working freelance or remotely.
There are many ways you can embark on this career path. You can start by taking individual classes, and then maybe start a certificate program. If you are based in New York City, you have some of the country’s best art and design schools at your fingertips.
Though most course offerings are online for the time being, there are still innumerable benefits to being in New York City. We hope that the details on these New York City graphic design courses will encourage you to get started learning new skills.