As a small business owner, having strong graphic design skills can help you create professional brand assets, marketing materials, website graphics and social media content. But finding the time and money to take design courses or hire a designer may not be feasible when starting out.
Luckily, with YouTube, anyone can access high-quality graphic design tutorials for free. I evaluated over 20 YouTube channels on key factors like video production quality, teaching abilities of the hosts, number of tutorials available and subscriber counts. Based on my research as a design consultant for small businesses, these are the 7 best YouTube channels for mastering graphic design skills:
1. Will Paterson – For Logo Design and Branding
As a brand strategist, I highly recommend Will Paterson to entrepreneurs looking to craft a strong brand identity. With over 463,000 subscribers, Will Paterson shares a wealth of tutorials on logo design, branding guidelines, product packaging and more.
Paterson‘s 15+ years of design experience is evident in his tutorials. He walks step-by-step through the process of creating real-world client projects like a logo for a swanky cocktail bar. The videos have excellent production value and Paterson explains concepts clearly with useful tips for beginners.
Beyond just technical skills, Paterson focuses on the strategy behind effective branding and logo design. His deep dives into topics like color psychology, typography pairing and identifying brand personality are invaluable for DIY business owners.
2. Bring Your Own Laptop – For Business Branding and Design
If you‘re looking to design your startup‘s brand assets, Sean McCabe‘s Bring Your Own Laptop (BYOL) is a must follow channel. With over 230,000 subscribers, McCabe provides tactical tutorials on designing logos, business cards, presentations and more.
As a successful designer turned entrepreneur himself, McCabe understands the challenges small business owners face in crafting a brand identity with limited resources. While his videos aren‘t lengthy tutorials, they provide excellent tips and strategies you can apply to your own client projects.
BYOL is the top channel I recommend for quick videos on designing resumes, creating social media marketing assets on a budget, improving your creative process and building your personal brand.
3. Phlearn – For Photo Manipulation and Compositing
With over 1.5 million subscribers, Phlearn is my top pick for entrepreneurs looking to enhance their photo editing skills. Host Aaron Nace provides over 500 tutorials on manipulating images with Photoshop for stunning marketing materials and social media posts.
While Photoshop has a steep learning curve, Nace breaks down advanced techniques in an easy-to-follow way. Some of my favorite videos teach removing complex objects from images, seamless photo compositing, using layer masks and working with Camera Raw.
Phlearn also offers Photoshop and Lightroom challenges to improve your skills. The excellent teaching style makes it the perfect channel for entrepreneurs with basic Photoshop skills who want to create more polished visual content.
4. Adobe Creative Cloud – For Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop
With over 1 million subscribers, the official Adobe Creative Cloud channel should be on every design entrepreneur‘s radar. Adobe‘s trainers provide expert-led courses on using Illustrator for logos and graphics, InDesign for multi-page projects and business cards, and Photoshop for photo editing.
The channel offers structured learning paths for beginners as well as quick tips and tutorials. As a business owner without a formal design degree, I found Adobe‘s fundamental courses on graphic design principles hugely valuable in developing my skills.
With regular updates on new features, the Adobe channel makes learning the intricacies of CC software less intimidating. It‘s an essential resource for entrepreneurs looking for structured graphic design education.
5. LogosByNick – For Logo Design Principles
Finding the right logo is crucial for creating a memorable brand, but it‘s also an area entrepreneurs struggle with. That‘s why Nick Greenfield‘s LogosByNick channel, with over 151,000 subscribers, is fantastic for learning professional logo design principles.
Greenfield focuses in-depth on the strategy behind effective logos, like choosing colors, fonts, iconography, composition and more. His videos walk through the logo design process from start to finish, providing tips to avoid common mistakes. I especially appreciate Greenfield‘s critiques and improvements of logos by beginners – the feedback is invaluable.
Any entrepreneur looking to design and pitch logos for their business or clients should study Greenfield‘s tutorials on designing balanced, impactful logos.
6. Yes I‘m a Designer – For Motion Graphics
While static graphics are essential, video content and animations are increasingly important for social media marketing. Brian Maffitt‘s Yes I‘m a Designer channel with 258,000 subscribers is my recommendation for learning motion graphics and animation.
Maffitt provides detailed walkthroughs on creating animated social posts, logo reveals, and kinetic typography videos using After Effects. His friendly teaching style and practice projects help demystify the learning curve for motion design.
Even with no prior video editing experience, entrepreneurs can quickly apply Maffitt‘s tutorials to create professional animations and motion graphics that make their brand stand out on social media.
7. DesignCourse – For Graphic Design Theory
While most YouTube channels focus on tools and tutorials, DesignCourse by Gary Simon stands out by teaching the fundamentals of graphic design. With 1.38 million subscribers, it is one of the most comprehensive channels for foundations like color theory, typography, layout principles and design psychology.
As a design consultant for startups, I frequently recommend Simon‘s videos because they help entrepreneurs develop a strategic creative process rooted in design thinking. The theory is applicable regardless of which design tools you use.
For business owners with no formal background in graphic design, DesignCourse‘s curriculum is an excellent way to fill knowledge gaps so you can create effective, on-brand graphics and content.
Developing graphic design skills has never been more important for entrepreneurs to create visual brand assets and marketing content. While hiring a designer is ideal, it requires significant investment.
YouTube provides free access to expert-led design education that every business owner can benefit from. The channels outlined above are the top options based on several criteria like video quality, teaching methods, depth of content and subscriber engagement.
Each channel targets a different aspect of graphic design learning. As you grow your brand‘s visual presence, I recommend exploring several channels to build well-rounded skills in areas like branding, photo and video editing, animation, logo design and layout principles. YouTube makes leveling up your graphic design knowledge more convenient than ever before!