Our New Favorite Tool for Online Design Classes

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Skillshare is an online learning community with over 15,000 classes where anyone can discover, take, or even teach a course. After tapping into this amazing resource for over a month now,  I’m happy to say that it is a great resource of practical knowledge from well-known creatives who are big names in their respective industries. You can get 2 months for free by checking out this link or by using the promo code "abduzeedo". I’ve had the chance to finish three online design classes or courses so far and I’d love to share a little bit of my findings.

I have always been a fan of self-learning, especially online. I have taken several online courses from all sorts of sites. I learned Android development, Drupal and a bit of iOS development (I got lazy here). I also took so many online classes on all sorts of subjects, from photography to quantum physics. On these other sites, there was always a shortage of great content about design. When I found out about Skillshare I decided to check out their vast amount of classes available and was so pleasantly surprised. The classes were much more varied than I expected and to  my great delight, they have some really amazing design related courses in their creative section. I immediately started saving classes and before I knew it I already had tons of awesome classes selected, from classes like Dynamic Brand Identity: Designing Logos That Evolve to  Presentation Essentials: How to Share Ideas That Inspire Action as well as Storytelling for Leaders: How to Craft Stories That Matter and Context is Key: Social Media Strategy in a Noisy Online World are some good examples of my picks. I literally had to force myself to stop browsing, otherwise I would never have had time to actually take any of the classes!

In addition to covering interesting subjects, these classes are taught by professionals that have real street or practical knowledge of their industries. They are not just talking about a theory, they are sharing their stories and inviting you along for the ride. A great example is the “Context is Key: Social Media Strategy in a Noisy Online World” the teacher for that class was none other than Gary Vaynerchuk, a person that has become hugely successfully by capturing the power of social networks. I took that class and it was fantastic. There are other great names like Paula Scher, Seth Godin, John Maeda, Simon Sinek, Guy Kawasaki, and Aaron Draplin— and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Online Design Classes

For this article I will talk about 4 design classes I took that were quite awesome and one more related to business. There are  a few more that I am still watching but I got too greedy and started more classes than I could finish for this article.

 

paula scher skillshare

Dynamic Brand Identity: Designing Logos That Evolve

Paula Scher

This was  my favorite class so far. Not because the others weren’t good, but because this one was truly amazing.  I have been a fan of Pentagram and Paula since college times. Their work has always been an example of excellent design for me, especially due to its simplicity. In this class, Paula talks about the design process, the importance of finding your passion, and having an affinity for the product or service you’re designing for . She goes on to share insightful thoughts on simplicity and why it’s important. As an admirer of hers it was awesome to hear her talk about how they pursue simplicity — I agree that good design is all about execution and implementation. If the design is complicated, it becomes much harder to execute, more often than not when the execution is too complicated, the final product ends up suffering, which ends up compromising the quality of the design. That advice alone was worth the class, but she also goes over the case studies for major design projects. Projects like: The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Type Directors Club and Microsoft.

If you want to improve and master your branding and visual identity skills, I highly recommend this course.

 

golden ration

Mastering Logo Design: Gridding with the Golden Ratio

George Bokhua

This was another interesting class I took. Branding and visual identity have  always been two of  my passions despite my background in industrial design and the fact that I’ve pretty much always been working on product design, from web to mobile apps.  I love the process behind translating ideas into physical designs  and creating a logo is the pinnacle of that because you are translating a company’s business and image into a simple icon or wordmark.

In this class, George Bokhua walks us through how he uses the golden ratio to achieve harmony with the forms created. The example he anchors the class to is a logo that uses a dog as a reference point.

There are so many incredible tips, from the sketching phase to simplifying vectors in Adobe Illustrator. If Paula Scher was all about design strategy this class is more concerned with actually executing, the stages in the process that involves spending a lot of time  in front of the computer, iterating until you find the most harmonic form.

Logo Design with Draplin: Secrets of Shape, Type and Color

Aaron Draplin

I’ve been following Aaron on social media for quite a long time.  I’ve seen quite a few of his presentations and I am a huge fan, so of course I’d jump at the opportunity to take one of his classes. Even from the class’s intro, you can immediately get an idea of how engaging he is as a teacher. Super casual but straight to the point — his personality shines in every lesson. Aaron has a super honest way of showing how things are done and he makes everything feel effortless. The goal of this class is to help us improve our logo design skills. The way he does that is by challenging us to create a crest  for our family name. As he mentioned during  the intro, we are not creating a logo for a band that will end in less than 6 months, this is a family crest. It’s a project that can take into account a long history and older traditions, and that can be quite fun to design for.

During the classes it is amazing to see how Aaron explores different concepts. He is pretty much designing and narrating his process, which for me is always super useful. The outcome is a really cool family crest that inspired me to explore creating  my own.

Aaron definitely knows how to motivate people and I feel like I want to design much more now, so for me that was totally worth it and it’s another highly recommended class in my opinion.

Context is Key: Social Media Strategy in a Noisy Online World

Gary Vayenerchuck

This was my first class. I decided to check this out first because I am a fan of Gary. As expected, he did an excellent job going through subjects like how to maximize your social media presence on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Tumblr. He went through all of those social media strategies and provided real case study examples. Despite the fact that it was an old class, it was still very useful for me and I was able to apply many of the lessons to Abduzeedo and how to do a better job promoting with  social media . I highly recommend this class and one of the best things about it is it’s easily digestible, just an hour and a half broken into 24 even shorter videos. The only thing is I wish there was an audio version so I could listen without keeping my screen on, sort of like a podcast.

Other classes that I took were about SEO and presentation skills and leadership. They were extremely helpful not only for my blog, which is my side project, but also my job as a designer with topics like storytelling and creative leadership, one of the most interesting subjects for me. Here's another one that I am super excited about checking it out:

After a little over a month of checking out Skillshare  I am really happy with what I've learned and I can also say it has become a go-to resource for design concepts I’d like to learn in the future. There are great creative courses that I am looking forward to checking out, especially all the other Aaron Draplin ones, there’s also photography, business, leadership and communication classes that will be extremely valuable for my career. So for anyone looking to expand their skills, I highly recommend Skillshare. Abduzeedo readers can even try it free for two months by clicking here (you can also use the promo code "abduzeedo" at checkout).  In addition to the fact that there are more than 15,000 classes to learn from, there’s a whole other side to Skillshare that I discovered — anyone can be a teacher! I didn’t have time to check that part of Skillshare out, but in a nutshell that mutual exchange of knowledge is what the site’s all about — sharing your skills.

What Skillshare classes are you planning on taking? Let me know via Twitter or Facebook!

Written by

Fabio Sasso

I'm a Brazilian product designer based in Oakland, California currently working for Google as a Staff Designer. I am also the founder of Abduzeedo, an award-winning digital publication about design and a personal project that has become the source of inspiration for millions of designers and enthusiasts.

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