Graphic Design

Click here for the Graphic Design workshop, which accompanies these resources

Graphic Design Guidebook

Take a look at this very brief graphic design workbook before you start your design project, such as a poster, infographic, book, pamphlet, etc.

SFU TLC Graphic Design Handbook 2016

The presentation PDF for the handbook can be found here:


Also, take a look at this presentation to learn a little about developing your visual literacy.


And I have this one that quickly discusses typography, but a lot of it is already included in the Graphic Design Handbook.


Here is a list of technology, tutorials and resources for graphic design:

This is just a small list of some of the tools that are available out there. I have looked through and tried most of them and they each have their own benefits.

I prefer services that allows access to your files, work files and can produce industry appropriate outputs, such as PDFs. There are always workarounds

Industry Standards/Professional Software

Adobe Creative Suite (
Adobe Photoshop CC
Adobe Illustrator CC
Adobe InDesign CC

Subscription based, for teachers and educators (all apps, USD 19.99/moth) basic version of Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements (, 79.99 USD)

Industry Standards/Professional Software Alternatives

Affinity Suite (
Only for Apple products and free Beta versions for Windows, but it seems pretty comprehensive, is affordable and not subscription based. Good for designing on Apple or Windows tablets.

 Affinity Photo (Adobe Photoshop CC Alternative) – 69.99 USD
Affinity Designer (Adobe Illustrator CC Alternative) –  69.99 USD
Affinity Publisher (Adobe InDesign Alternative) – Not yet released, end of 2016

Templated Design Solutions

Piktochart (
Online software to make info graphics. Many templates provided with illustrations, icons and customizable graphs. Can link to presentations.

Free version includes a footer with “Made by Piktochart”. To download as a pdf (i.e. print standard or for documents with embedded video) requires upgrade. You cannot upload svgs,  but PNGs and Jpegs are compatible.

Free/ Login required

Canva (
Online software to produce graphic design. Many templates are provided with many stock photos, illustrations and icons. Charts at this point are not customizable and no video embedding. You can share your work online. Can download as pdf (print standard) on free accounts.

Free/ Login required

Emaze (
Online Software for Presentations. Many templates, photos and other items to make fancy presentations. Can also make template games which is interesting.

Login Required/Not Free

Wix (
Simple website maker with plenty of provided templates, photography, illustrations, etc. Hosts websites for free but if you want your own domain name, i.e., you will have to purchase a subscription with them. 

Free/Login required

Online Photo Editors (like photoshop)

Pixlr (
Somewhat comprehensive photo editor. You can use draw tools and edit photos. Largest image allowed is 4000×4000 (13.3”(337mm) at 300 dpi for printing)

Free/Login Required

Photopea (
Similar to Pixlr but no login required. Interface is less streamlined.

Free/Login Required

Adobe Photoshop Express Editor (
A basic photo/image editor. There are easy filters to improve an image, brightness, contrast and other effects. You can easily place type and place in clip art.  No drawing ability though.

Free/ No Login Required

Online Vector Graphic Editors for Icons and Symbols

Vectr (
A very basic vector graphic program but can suit the needs of a basic user. Can be used to create or customize existing icons.

Free/No Login Required

Open Source Alternatives

There are many open source software that are supposed to be alternatives to the expensive professional software. Although there are quite a few online options, these programs are guaranteed to be free and with no restrictions and provide industry standard files. They often are a bit clunky to use. You can download the native programs from the open source site, but if you want to run them on your Apple or Andriod tablet, you can use is good for browsing appropriate open source software.

Apps that I like are Inkscape, for a more comprehensive but free vector program and OpenOffice, which is an open and free alternative to Microsoft Office and Google Docs.

Other Resources

Google fonts (
A good source for open source fonts and available in Google Docs

Font Squirrel (
For higher quality, free an almost free fonts.

I also recommend using these websites to find icons to use and adapt: | Customize your own icons


Try searching for images on Google (Labelled for Reuse Usage rights) or Flickr (No known copyright restrictions). Websites like are also good.

Other: Simple colour palette generator

Online converting tool: (can use to change html to svg)

A list of courses/tutorials:

Icon Design:

Designing Icons:


Typography, Layout, InDesign:

Inkscape Training:

Youtube links will be coming soon.

Layout & Design:

I highly recommend reading these two pdfs from Massimo Vignelli, primarily his “Vignelli Canon” which captures the spirit and craft of graphic design in an accessible way. The design for non-profit is an old publication which repeats some of the content from the canon but offers some technical advice.

Other sources

Some other sources, pretty quick reads.

Interesting Reads/Listens:

Universal Principles of Design

General Talk on graphic design and inspiration from American Design Icon Doyald Young:

Very typography specific course: