Free Online Courses Take You from Design Doldrums to Design Delights

Team of people reviewing design layouts

Do you wake up in a cold tech sweat when you know you'll have to adjust an image of your library director for an annual report, post photos on your website from an event, or create an invitation to your library foundation's gala affair? If you answered yes to any (or all) of these, you are in the design doldrums.

In the nonprofit and library world, it's not uncommon for staff — from management to service delivery team to volunteers — to be tasked with designing handouts, board presentations, or annual reports. And many of us don't have any knowledge or formal education in design. Making design happen on a shoestring can be a stressful experience. Don't despair; we can help!

Free Online Design Courses for Nondesigners

Our new Adobe Absolute Beginners courses will help you build elementary, foundational design skills in Adobe's Creative Cloud programs. With a solid foundation, you can confidently tackle design projects, even though you're not a designer.

Adobe Absolute Beginners: Photoshop 101

Maybe you don't know a canvas from an image or what RGB is. (Hint: it does not mean really great breadsticks.) That's OK. Adobe Absolute Beginners: Photoshop 101 will give you a start on deciphering design lingo.

In this free, two-hour online course, you'll meet the Photoshop toolbar and learn about the most commonly used tools. You'll get comfortable with the user interface and will no longer be afraid to click on or use a tool.

We'll also guide you through

  • adjusting an image
  • basic Photoshop terminology
  • how to use colors and color modes
  • best practices for saving images for print or the web

Learn to use PhotoShop

Adobe Absolute Beginners: Create a Fundraiser Invitation Using Adobe InDesign

If you want to branch out and to create invitations and flyers, it makes sense to learn the basics of Adobe InDesign. In Adobe Absolute Beginners: Create a Fundraiser Invitation Using Adobe InDesign, we'll show you everything you need to get started and create a formal invitation and envelope.

We'll introduce you to the five most commonly used tools in the toolbar, demonstrate how to work with text and images, and show you how to set up a standard or custom-sized document. We also offer free, downloadable InDesign templates and images in full color and black and white that you can use to practice alongside the instructor. (You're welcome to adapt these for your own use.)

Learn to use InDesign

How to Get Started with TechSoup Courses

If this is your first time accessing TechSoup Courses, our new online learning platform, please remember that you will need to create an account before registering for any course. Note that this account will be different from your TechSoup.org login. You'll just need to set up an account on the TechSoup Courses website.

With our online learning platform, you own your learning journey, and you choose the time, location, and device that is most convenient for you.

We know that design isn't easy, but we've got your back with the basics. Build your design confidence one TechSoup course at a time. More design courses are coming later this month!

Get Adobe Products Through TechSoup

Don't have Adobe Creative Cloud? The TechSoup Adobe donation program offers donated and discount Adobe products to eligible nonprofits and libraries.

Get Adobe products

About the Author

TechSoup training and educaiton manager, Susan Hope Bard

Susan is the training and education manager at TechSoup where she facilitates webinars and works to create engaging and exciting online trainings for nonprofits and libraries. Prior to joining TechSoup, Susan managed and delivered training programs for the American Red Cross and libraries.

A version of this post originally appeared on the TechSoup blog.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.