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Study 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time.

How our graphic design course works

Shillington Education is the world’s best graphic design bootcamp. Our graduates agree.

You’ll graduate with everything you need for a creative career. No experience required.

  • Technical skills across Adobe and Figma
  • Solid understanding of design theory
  • An incredible design portfolio
  • Confidence for your job hunt or next career move

During our online or on campus graphic design course, lectures are short and sweet, saving plenty of time to put your new skills into practice and develop your design eye. We move fast and mentor you to work like a professional designer, following clear processes and meeting tight deadlines with polished results.

You’ll learn in varied ways from experienced teachers. Enjoy engaging demonstrations, industry lectures, group workshops, pin-up critiques and one-on-one sessions.

Contact a Shillington Advisor

Want more details?

Get the 2023 Course Outline

Course options for on campus or online learning

On Campus: Full-Time Graphic Design

  • 5 days per week for 3 months, Monday—Friday (8:00am—5:00pm)
  • 590 total study hours. 400 hours on-campus, 86 hours working remotely + 8 hours of homework per week

On Campus: Part-Time Graphic Design 

  • 2 nights per week for 9 months (6:00—9:30pm) or 1 Sunday* per week (10:30am—5pm) *only in London
  • 590 total study hours. 280 hours on-campus + 8 hours of homework per week

Online: Part-Time Graphic Design 

  • 3 nights per week for 9 months (6:00—9:00pm UK or 6:30—9:30pm US East Coast, US West Coast and AU Eastern)
  • 590 total study hours. 350 hours live classroom + 6 hours of homework per week

Qualifications are non-transferable between courses and campuses.

Online course graduates will receive a Certificate of Completion, create an industry-ready portfolio and get exclusive access to The Guide.

New York on campus graduates will receive a Certificate of Completion, create an industry-ready portfolio and get exclusive access to The Guide. We are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

London on campus graduates will receive a Certificate of Completion, create an industry-ready portfolio and get exclusive access to The Guide. We are not educationally accredited, but teach a commercially-driven portfolio course which prepares you for working in the design industry.

Sydney and Melbourne on campus graduates will receive a Certificate IV (CUA40720) in Design, create an industry-ready portfolio and get exclusive access to The Guide.

Units for Certificate IV in Design qualification in Australia:

  • BSBCRT411 – Apply critical thinking to work practices
  • CUADES305 – Source and apply information on the history and theory of design
  • CUADES411 – Generate design solutions
  • CUADES412 – Interpret and respond to a design brief
  • CUAWHS312 Apply work health and safety practices
  • CUAACD411 – Integrate colour theory and design processes
  • CUAPPR411 – Realise a creative project
  • CUADES301 – Explore the use of colour
  • CUADES302 – Explore and apply the creative design process to 2D forms
  • CUADES303 – Explore and apply the creative design process to 3D forms
  • CUADES304 – Source and apply design industry knowledge
  • CUADES413 – Develop and extend design skills and practice
  • CUAGRD311 – Prepare files for print
  • CUAGRD312 – Use typography techniques
  • CPPRP3250 – Create graphics using graphics applications

Discover what we're all about

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Should I study on campus or online?

Whether you study on campus or online, you’ll experience the same industry-relevant curriculum, taught by talented mentors with extraordinary career outcomes.

  • Our full-time or part-time on campus course is ideal to study where you live (or abroad!) and enjoy an immersive, in-person environment.
  • Our part-time online course is perfect if you want to study from anywhere but with real-time, live lectures, demos and briefs—directly collaborating with teachers and classmates.
  • Immersive, in-person learning. Lectures, demos, briefs and critiques are delivered during class time.
  • A remote learning component included to develop essential remote working skills.
  • Access to our campus design library, printers and other facilities during class time.
  • Student to teacher ratio of 12:1.
  • Study where you live. Or discover your visa options to study design abroad. All campuses are close to major transport links.
  • Enjoy industry guest lecturers from leading design studios.
  • Collaborate, network and socialise with your classmates.

“From the moment I walked in the door on my first day, I felt welcomed. I love the camaraderie vibe that has grown in my class. We all were strangers at the start of this from such diverse backgrounds, and now we’re all in it together. —Beth Svenningsen

  • Immersive, real-time online learning. Briefs and critiques are delivered in real-time on Zoom.
  • Access to additional study materials, resources and recordings outside of class.
  • Student to teacher ratio of 9:1.
  • Study from anywhere. No student visa required! No matter where you live, save on travel expenses and avoid a commute.
  • Enjoy guest lecturers from leading studios all over the world, not limited to your campus city.
  • Collaborate, network and socialise with your classmates via Zoom and Slack, making invaluable international connections.

“I would definitely recommend the online course at Shillington. No commute and it doesn’t even feel like you’re learning online! You still feel that sense of community and security one would in a classroom.” —Arabella Temple

Should I study full-time or part-time?

Up to you! It depends on your availability and learning style. Apart from the duration—the curriculum, teaching standards and outcomes are identical. Students create the same high quality work and get similar jobs after graduation.

  • Studying full-time on-campus for 3 months is perfect for students who can commit 100% and want to start or change their creative careers as quickly as possible.
  • Studying part-time (online or on campus) for 9 months is best for students who need more schedule flexibility and prefer to manage their own study time.
  • Completely devote yourself to design.
  • Study fast, study hard. Get into the workplace as quickly as possible.
  • For 3 months, adjust your schedule and lifestyle to fully commit to your studies.
  • Study like it’s your job. Class hours mirror real-world work hours, so you’re expected to be on time and engaged from 8:00-5:00, while committing to ~8 hours per week of homework.
  • Ideal for students ready to dive in head-first at a fast pace.
  • Enjoy an immersive and high-intensity classroom environment with in-person interaction, group collaboration and discussion.

“Why spend years of your life and probably at least 4x the amount of money when you can learn the same amount and get it over within three months? The course is set up like an agency and really prepares you to transition seamlessly into a work environment.” —Ani Monteleone

  • Flexibility to study without quitting your job.
  • Keep your income flowing while studying to enhance or change your career.
  • For 9 months, adjust your work schedule and lifestyle to make time for both part-time classes and independent learning.
  • Manage your own time. Immerse yourself in the classroom 2-3 times per week, and commit to ~8 hours per week of homework.
  • Ideal for independent, self-accountable learners.
  • Each week, balance high-intensity classroom sessions with self-paced independent learning to reflect and practice.
  • If you have significant work, family or social commitments, we typically recommend studying part-time.

“I studied part-time as I needed to be able to work to fund my decision to learn more about design. The course’s structure meant I could realistically take on board all the information I was being taught, practice and improve my design skills at home as well as have time to get further design inspiration.” —Theo Witrylak

Design theory

Great design is about so much more than making things look pretty. We teach a solid grounding in design theory to ensure there’s always substance behind your style.

Our graphic design course kicks off with the five design principles, and they’re drilled home throughout every lecture, brief and critique.


  • Balance for stability and structure
  • Hierarchy to create organization and direction
  • Contrast to generate impact and highlight important areas
  • Repetition to unify and strengthen the design
  • Alignment to create a sharper, clearer outcome

Research, testing and problem solving is at the heart of all good design.

  • Design Thinking (or Human Centred Problem Solving) empowers us to create relevant and innovative solutions that meet user needs. From creating digital products to developing business or marketing strategy—Design Thinking is a powerful process used across many industries.
  • We teach the Design Thinking process in our graphic design course to enable students to work efficiently and produce solutions that not only look beautiful, but satisfy user and client needs in a smart and considered way.

Typography and typesetting
Selecting the right type is paramount—whether it’s a clean sans serif typeface like Helvetica or a hand-drawn script. Typography gives character and plays an emotive role in every design.

We teach the basics of typography and typesetting because it’s a driving force in all forms of visual communication.

Grids are the underlying structure of a design layout. They allow the designer to create consistency and organise elements.

We make sure students know the importance of grid-based design to create well-organised, structured design solutions.

Colour theory
For graphic designers, creating and applying a relevant colour scheme is a major part of answering the brief. Think about the power of brand colours (e.g. Facebook’s blue, Cadbury’s purple, Coke’s red) and how certain colour combinations instantly communicate a particular mood or feeling.

We teach students how to analyse and apply colour effectively to take all their portfolio projects to the next level.

Design programs

To become a graphic designer, you need to learn the Adobe software (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop) and Figma. And beyond the software, we also cover what designers need to know about production processes, document set-up and printing methods.

If you’re already familiar with these programs, our graphic design course will sharpen your skills and you’ll learn dozens of new shortcuts and tricks to enhance efficiency.

Adobe InDesign is the industry-standard for creating professional layouts. It’s a designer’s holy grail when it comes to multi-page documents. InDesign uses tools like master pages and paragraph styles to create everything from press ads to brochures to elaborate coffee table books.

Adobe Illustrator is the leading vector design program, but you don’t need to be an “illustrator” to master it. It enables designers to create a broad range of artwork including maps, corporate logos, icons and complex illustrations, which can be reproduced crisply and cleanly at any size.

Adobe Photoshop is a program you’ve probably heard of, and maybe even tried out yourself. It’s an extraordinary image-editing, photo-retouching and composition program that offers all the tools you need for professional image manipulation. From digital illustration to colour separation, multimedia and web design, Photoshop is limited only by your imagination.

Figma is an industry leading digital (UI and UX) design application, which combines vector design and prototyping tools. Working on any browser or as a desktop app on any operating system, Figma’s simple interface is dynamic, intuitive and supports team work at every stage of the design process.

Want more details?

Get the 2022 Course Outline

What happens during class?

While no two days are the same during Shillington’s graphic design course, here’s a run-down of what a typical class might look like.

To kick off the class, your teacher introduces a new topic area such as colour, branding, typesetting or packaging. The short lecture covers relevant theory and real-world examples of the topic. Along with this direct instruction, you’ll watch videos, discuss case studies and have open group discussions.

At Shillington, we have some fun when introducing new student projects, known as creative briefs. The teacher plays the role of client and presents a brief to put the topic into practice immediately. The brief details all the necessary information: who you’re designing for, the business goals, why it’s required, the final specifications and deadline.

Now you’ll need to research the client, product or service and competitors. This ensures we have a solid understanding of the task at hand and can make conceptual connections to inspire our aesthetic solutions.

This is the exciting bit! We implement a toolkit of idea generation techniques like mind-mapping, word association and group brainstorming. You get to be crazy creative and stay open to all possibilities. Then—after some fun—we focus in, make connections between ideas and distill everything into a practical solution.

At this stage, you’re ready to think about aesthetics. You’ll jump online to gather inspiration and create focused mood boards, helping to visualise the vibe and creative direction.

Most importantly, before we jump on the computer, we map out our ideas the old-fashioned way—pen to paper. Thumbnails are quick sketches that help to build concepts and visualise how the design should come together. This planning stage is vital to ensure we have a resolved plan in our brains and don’t waste time pixel-pushing on-screen.

Your teachers are accessible each step of the way. After you’ve made some headway in research and planning, a one-on-one check-in will make sure you’re on the right track and provide constructive feedback for the next stage.

Now that your brain has done most of the work, you’ll hop on the computer to start executing and experimenting with your ideas. After developing several potential routes, you’ll compare to decide what works best and refine, refine, refine.

While you’re busy working on the brief, teachers will present new technical information and tips through live demos. These quick exercises take you step-by-step through different tools and functions of each of the different programs.

Sound like we’re repeating ourselves? We are. At Shillington, teacher critiques happen at multiple stages throughout your creative process. This mirrors the day-to-day of a working designer who constantly distills feedback to create a client and manager-approved solution.

Critiques are not meant to be negative—they’re an essential part of the design process. Discussing your work with others helps to develop a better understanding and appreciation for design. Designers need to step back to think critically and objectively about their work.

Time is ticking while you work through the brief—your deadline is approaching! At Shillington, each brief has a realistic industry standard deadline. It might be two hours, two days or two weeks. Since the creative industry is built around working smart to meet deadlines, our graphic design course prepares students for a fast-paced studio environment.

What type of projects will we work on?

At Shillington, we speed through the step-by-step software demonstrations to get you working on 25+ real-world briefs as soon as possible.

Examples of past Shillington student briefs:

  • Digital advertisement for a film streaming service
  • Packaging design for a boutique product
  • Creating a brand system for a new hotel
  • UX & UI design for a mountain biking app
  • Creating a suite of icons for a zoo
  • Editorial design for a travel magazine
  • Concept direction pitch for a new start-up streetwear app brand
  • Poster series for a literacy festival
  • Online corporate profile for a tech company

Year-after-year, Shillington students are awarded by the international creative industry.

Student showcase

The graphic design handbook, reinvented

The Guide

The Guide is our proprietary platform, available exclusively to Shillington students and graduates. It’s over 20 years of content created and curated by industry experts, including complete lecture and technical demo notes from Shillington’s course, animated technical examples, industry best practices, case studies and more.

  • Enrolled students get free membership while studying.
  • Shillington graduates get exclusive access to The Guide for a monthly or annual subscription, with bonus Career Guide featuring industry insights and resources to set goals and take on your creative career.

Find out more

Should I study full-time or part-time?


Should I study full-time or part-time?

Totally up to you! It depends on your availability and learning style. Full-time is an immersive 3 months (Monday to Friday, 8:00am—5:00pm). Part-time is 9 months, there are three options: Online three nights a week, In person two nights a week or Sundays (New York and London only), and a good fit for students who work full-time or have other major commitments. But apart from the duration, the full-time and part-time curriculum is identical—students create the same high quality work and get similar jobs after graduation.


How much does the course cost?

Fees & Payments

How much does the course cost?

Course fees vary between our six international campuses. Visit course dates and fees to learn more.

Love travel and design? Consider studying abroad! Check your exchange rate and visa options—significant financial savings are possible depending on your currency.


I’ve already worked or trained as a designer. Is Shillington right for me?


I’ve already worked or trained as a designer. Is Shillington right for me?

Our graphic design course is ideal for current creatives to revive software skills and enhance their understanding of the design fundamentals. If your software skills are self-taught, we’ll teach you how to work smoothly and efficiently across the Adobe Creative Suite. Or if your current portfolio isn’t up-to-scratch, we’ll help you craft a collection of your best work, showcasing an ability to work across a wide range of briefs. Meet 20 Inspiring Designers Who Studied at Shillington After Creative Degrees or Diplomas.


Is 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time really long enough to learn design?

Graphic Design Course

Is 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time really long enough to learn design?

Absolutely. Our student work speaks for itself and Shillington graduates build incredible creative careers. Our graphic design course is expertly planned to teach technical skills, cover design theory and ingrain creative principles to help you create a well-rounded portfolio. Read more on the blog in Learn Graphic Design Fast or Fast, Good or Cheap. And if you want to hear it straight from our graduates, check out 21 Unbiased Shillington Reviews.


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Interested in studying online? Use our timezone tool to find course times that work for your location.

Your safety matters to us. Please review our COVID-19 policy. If circumstances change, enrolled on-campus students will agree to transition to partial or complete online learning.

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