Emergent Designer

Free resources for the self-taught graphic designer. Learn the fundamental concepts and basic skills of digital graphic design.

graphic design fundamentals

Get started on the basics of graphic design and become a self-taught graphic designer

graphic design tutorials

Learn how to use free graphic design software to create your own designs

free Graphic design resources

Free tools and resources that will help you learn graphic design online

Want to share resources

Suggest Resource


Principles of Design

Clear explanation, with excellent examples, of four fundamental principles of design: emphasis, unity, balance, and rhythm.


Introduction to Type

Very concise multi-part explanation of the different elements of typography, including type anatomy, type design, a brief history of type, and type family classifications.  Excellent reference for beginners and non-beginners alike.


Gridding in Graphic Design 

“A grid system is a set of measurements a graphic designer can use to align and size objects within the given format.” Explanation on the use of grids in digital graphic design, by the programmer, artist, and professor Rune Madsen.


Elements of Graphic Design 

“The elements of design are the basic components used as part of any composition. They are the objects to be arranged, the constituent parts used to create the composition itself.” Older but very precise article on what elements of design are and how they are used (no longer maintained but still useful).


Further readingPrinciples of design for beginners and non-designers

Color Theory for Designers

“This is the first in a three-part series on color theory. Here we’ll discuss the meanings behind the different color families, and give some examples of how these colors are used.” (via Smashing Magazine)

Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color


History of Graphic Design 

Comprehensive online resource covering graphic design from the invention of writing to the age of information, including many influential graphic designers.


Design is History 

Excellent chronology of graphic design, with many examples and featured designers.


Early Days of Commercial Graphic Design 

Ever wonder how designers managed to produce graphic design before the computer? This upcoming documentary tells the story. (Trailer)


Tools and Resources

Webfont Blender

Handy online tool where you can test different font combinations quickly and easily.


Color Palette Generator

Enter the URL of an image to get a color palette that matches the image. Smart.


Infohound Color Schemer

Simple tool to help you experiment with various color schemes for your next web or print project.


Graphic Burger 

Extensive repository of mockups, icons, backgrounds, and other types of graphics shared by the Graphic Burger community.  Free for both personal & commercial use.



Amazing repository of beautiful photographs by photographers from around the world.  Free for both personal & commercial use.



Receive learning resources, updates, and freebies right to your inbox

(I will never send you spam or junk)