Just wanted to drop in some advice if anyone wants it. If you want to learn design, I see it as two different pieces:
1. Design concepts
With design concepts, I’d start with color theory. Everything kind of unlocks from there. Study design principals, architecture, and the golden ratio and you’ll be good to go. Also, fashion magazines and websites like http://wired.com provide good inspiration.
With mechanics, that’s all about getting your software and actually putting stuff together. You’ll need GIMP (free) or better yet, the Photoshop/Illustrator combo. All the best designers are pros at Illustrator and everyone who designs uses either photoshop or GIMP.