After doing my own research on the best online design course to help me learn the fundamentals of design, I settled on Designlab’s Design 101. I’m very happy with my choice – I’ve now completed the course and can say it was a great investment.

For me, the main thing that stands out after taking the course was the mentoring. Having never experienced this, before I wanted to share my thoughts on this with you today.

Online Design Courses

Having bought several online design courses in the past, to be honest I was just expecting Design 101 to be more of the same. As I’d only ever bought online video courses before, when I logged into my account I was surprised to find that the learning material was mostly reading, backed up with an assignment.

I was soon put at ease as to how effective this pairing was. I read around each topic and put lots of questions to my mentor both over email, and during our weekly video call. I won't be buying video courses again – that's how much the practical, hands-on approach of being paired with a mentor helped my design progression.

A wireframe from Elliott's Design 101 coursework

My First Design Mentor

I was lucky enough to be paired with a very experienced designer. One of the key things here is that you are tapping into your mentor’s wealth of knowledge and experience. Having never had a design mentor before, I was unsure what to expect, but I thought the contact time could only be positive.

Reflecting now, this was the thing I loved most about the course. You can only learn so much by reading and watching videos. But you can gained invaluable insight through a conversation, where you can dig deeper into topics, and when you struggle have someone break the issue down for you into manageable, understandable tasks.

My Final Project

I loved the practical approach to learning. With the final assignment, you get to apply your new skills, and put them to the test by designing a website for yourself. I chose to redesign my freelance digital marketing consultant website, and I feel I made good progress from the original design to the new version:

Elliott's site—before and after

I put a lot of this progress down to my mentor, who helped give me direction. This wasn’t simply someone telling me to make an object bigger or smaller. Instead, they helped me to grasp the fundamentals so that I could understand what changes were needed. When I’m faced with a similar project in the future, I now feel better equipped to solve the design problem myself.

In conclusion...

Getting to grips with design can be a steep learning curve, but Designlab have done a great job of making the challenge manageable by connecting you with your own mentor. Having a mentor is the one thing that would make me take another Designlab course. If you're just getting started and want to learn more, you won't regret taking Design 101.

Elliott has written a more in-depth Design 101 review over on his blog. To find our more about his work, check out

Interested in learning about design? Design 101 is a 4-week course that can be completed in your spare time. Not sure yet? You could check out our free Figma 101 email course instead!

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Elliott Davidson

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