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

The innovative approach of our graphic design course

Shillington Education is one of the best schools for graphic design. That’s not just by our own standards.

You’ll graduate with a solid understanding of design theory, technical skills and an incredible design portfolio—essential for any creative career. No experience required.

During our graphic design course, you’ll learn in varied ways from experienced teachers. At Shillington, we keep our lectures short and sweet, saving plenty of time to put your new skills into practice and develop your design eye. Enjoy engaging demonstrations, dynamic discussions, industry lectures and group workshops.

We move fast and mentor students to work like professional designers, following clear processes and meeting tight deadlines with polished results.

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Course options for on campus or online learning

On Campus: 3 Months Full-Time Graphic Design Course

  • 5 days per week, Monday—Friday (8:00am—5:00pm)
  • 590 total study hours. 486 hours on-campus + 8 hours of homework per week
  • In the United Kingdom, you will receive a Certificate of Completion and a portfolio showcasing your best work

On Campus: 9 Months Part-Time Graphic Design Course

  • 2 nights per week (6:00—9:30pm) or 1 Sunday* per week (10am—5:30pm) *only in London
  • 590 total study hours. 280 hours on-campus + 8 hours of homework per week
  • In the United Kingdom, you will receive a Certificate of Completion and a portfolio showcasing your best work

Online: 9 Months Part-Time Graphic Design Course

  • 3 nights per week (6:00—9:00pm UK or 6:30—9:30pm US East Coast and US West Coast)
  • 590 total study hours. 350 hours live classroom + 6 hours of homework per week
  • For the Online Course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion and a portfolio showcasing your best work

In the United Kingdom, we teach a commercially-driven portfolio course which prepares you for working in the graphic design industry. We are not educationally accredited.

Qualifications vary between campuses, and are non-transferrable. Find out more.

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Should I study on campus or online?

On Campus

Thousands of students have studied on campus at Shillington across the world. This has made our learning environment unlike any other.

Studying on campus means that, where possible, all lectures, demonstrations and briefs will be delivered in the classroom by our teachers. You’ll also have access to our campus libraries, printers and other facilities.

If you live near one of our Shillington campuses, this could be the perfect immersive learning environment.


The online course mimics the on campus experience as closely as possible—maintaining the Shillington ethos. A majority of the lectures, demonstrations and briefs are delivered live during class time. These will also be recorded and available to you whenever you need them outside of class.

The online course is designed to keep you engaged and connected with your fellow classmates and teachers over the duration of the course. The teachers will be there to guide and support you in real-time as they would in the classroom. You’ll also be working on real world briefs individually, in pairs or groups with your fellow students to apply what you’ve learnt.

If you don’t live close to a Shillington campus or you’d like to avoid the commute, then this is could be the perfect option for you.

  • Two teachers in the classroom for lectures, demos and critiques. Providing you with extra support when needed.
  • Student to teacher ratio of 12:1.
  • Access to our campus design library, printers and other facilities.
  • Lectures, demos and briefs are delivered during class time. Receive in-person support and one-on-one time.
  • Study where you live! All campuses are closed to major transport links.
  • Participate in group collaboration and discussions in the classroom.
  • Network and socialise with your classmates in-person—inside the classroom and out of it.
  • Meet industry guest lecturers from leading design studios face-to-face on campus.
  • Innovative online learning. Lectures, demos and critiques are delivered live in real-time.
  • Student to teacher ratio of 9:1.
  • Lectures, demonstrations and briefs will be delivered live by your teachers during class time and additional study materials will be available as recordings after the class.
  • No need for a visa! You can study from your home country and save on travel and cost of living expenses.
  • Study and work from anywhere in the world! Choose your own learning environment that works best for you.
  • Network with classmates from outside of your home city and develop connections with people from around the world.
  • Hear guest lecturers from different countries, not limited to a campus city.
  • The online course is designed to keep you engaged and connected with your classmates and teachers no matter the distance.
  • Stay connected with your classmates and continue exchanging ideas outside of the online classroom using Slack.

Should I study full-time or part-time?

Totally up to you! It mostly depends on your availability and learning style. But apart from the duration, the full-time and part-time curriculum, teaching standards and outcomes are identical—students create the same high quality work and get similar jobs after graduation.

Our full-time graphic design course is an immersive 3 months, perfect for students who can commit 100% and want to start or change their creative careers as quickly as possible.

Our part-time graphic design course is 9 months and can be taken on campus or online, and while still fast-paced and requiring more homework, it’s a good fit for students who work or have other major commitments.

Join us at an upcoming Info Session to hear from both full-time and part-time graduates about their experiences.

  • Completely devote yourself to design! For the 3 months, students must have flexible schedules and lifestyles to commit to their 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 8:00am to 5:00pm. It’s great practice for what your future creative job could be like.
  • Lots of classmate interaction, group collaboration and discussion.
  • More dedicated one-on-one time with teachers.
  • Allows you to get into the workplace as fast as possible.

“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 day job! Keep your income flowing, while simultaneously studying to enhance or change your career.
  • Do you like some time to process and work independently? Part-time is great for students who prefer to reflect on their studies and practice outside of class hours.
  • If you have significant family or social commitments, be sure to assess how much you’re able to commit to the course. The full-time course could absolutely work for you, but we typically recommend studying part-time for more flexibility.
  • Super accountable and cool with working on your own? The part-time course will be a great fit for you. We require around 8 hours of homework per week, and you’re expected to show your progress and work each week in class to get feedback from your teachers.

“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 organisation 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 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 learn graphic design, you need to learn the Adobe software (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop) and Figma. We also cover what designers need to know about production processes, document set-up and printing methods.

If you’re already familiar with design software, 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.

What happens during class?

While no two days are the same at Shillington, 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 onto the computer and 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 real-world briefs as soon as possible. Throughout the course you’ll tackle 30+ student briefs ranging from print advertisements to thinking in 3D with packaging to designing a digital app.

Here are eight examples of past Shillington student briefs:


  • Digital advertisement for a film streaming service
  • Packaging design for an unexpected demographic
  • Branding a new airline
  • UX & UI design for a mountain biking app
  • Icon library for a restaurant
  • Publishing design for a travel magazine
  • Identity for a new streetwear app
  • Poster series for a film festival
  • Digital corporate profile for a tech company

The graphic design handbook, reinvented

The Guide

The Guide is Shillington’s proprietary platform that contains all lecture and demo notes, animated technical examples, industry best practices, case studies and more. It’s over 20 years of content written by industry experts who are passionate about design and teaching.

Membership to The Guide is included for all students enrolled at Shillington. After graduating, continuing access is available for a small monthly cost and includes additional content and career guidance in The Career Guide.

Want more details?

Get the 2022 Course Outline

    To submit this form, please agree to being contacted. View our privacy notice for details.

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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