Falling in love with Lynda.com

With the seemingly ever-changing software that graphic designer use, sometimes it’s hard to stay current. Every time Adobe or Quark come out with a new version we spend days playing hide and seek with menus and tools. We wonder where they’ve put our favorites and why they got rid of that tool that we used all the time.

Don’t despair, because I have found a solution. Learn everything you need to know — and a few things you don’t — at Lynda.com. If this sounds like blatant promotion, it’s not intended that way. But, if I had a dollar for every person I’ve recommend the site to I would have enough to score that new iPhone I’m been eyeing.

Lynda.com is an affordable online software training site, featuring 35,400 video tutorials and 544 online courses in a variety of software and design topics. They even have 4,524 free movies for you to try so you can get a feel for how it works. The training covers business, web, animation databases and much, much more. You can pay $25 per month or get an annual subscription for $250.

The site is named after Lynda Weinman, who has been writing best-selling training manuals for design software since 1995. In fact, she wrote the very first book on Web design, “Designing Web Graphics.” I owned that book, and you probably own one of her books, too. Weinman was a faculty member at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and has worked extensively in the industry. How this humanities major ended up being the premium software guru is an interesting story. If you are interested in finding out more about her take a look at this Amazon.com interview.

I used to always buy her books when I needed to learn a new software program or brush up on an old one. This worked fine. Learning from the video tutorial, however, is so much quicker, being the visual leaner that I am. I like that all I have to do is log on and go. It’s easy to find what you need, because the courses are broken up into small chunks. So, if you’re looking for how to rotate a photo box, for instance, you can go directly to the skill, instead of wading through the whole course. You can go at your own speed and any time day or night. And you don’t even have to change out of your PJs.