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Fundamentals of Graphic Design, California Institute of the Arts

5,545 ratings
1,369 reviews

About this Course

Graphic Design is all around us! Words and pictures—the building blocks of graphic design—are the elements that carry the majority of the content in both the digital world and the printed world. As graphic design becomes more visible and prevalent in our lives, graphic design as a practice becomes more important in our culture. Through visual examples, this course will teach you the fundamental principles of graphic design: imagemaking, typography, composition, working with color and shape... foundational skills that are common in all areas of graphic design practice. I don't just want you to watch a video of someone talking about design, I want you to MAKE design! If you want to be a designer you have to be a maker and a communicator, so this course will offer you lots of opportunities to get your hands dirty with exercises and with more practical projects. At the end of this course you will have learned how to explore and investigate visual representation through a range of image-making techniques; understand basic principles of working with shape, color and pattern; been exposed to the language and skills of typography; and understand and have applied the principles of composition and visual contrast. If you complete the course, along with its optional (but highly recommended) briefs, you will have a core set of graphic design skills that you can apply to your own projects, or to more deeply investigate a specialized area of graphic design. To succeed in this course you will need access to a computer. You can complete this course without one but it will be tougher. Access to, and a beginner's level knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite programs, such as Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign will help you, especially if you want to complete the optional briefs....

Top reviews


May 10, 2018

An ok course for beginners. A bit too basic for someone who has already had experience in design, but is great anyway cause it breaks things back down to the simplest parts to help you remember roots.


Aug 21, 2018

Very interesting, I liked the format. Easy to follow, nice excercises. It's actually good to cover the basics of design, even if you are not an absolute beginner, and especially if you are self taught

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1,327 Reviews

By Rhonda Clark

May 17, 2019

Great instruction with plenty of practice. I got a good start on my very first graphic design portfolio. This course gave me the perfect introduction to graphic design and left me with the desire to continue. I just recently have become more interested in art and design. It might be a little late in life for me but I am a lifelong learner. I want to learn more about this fascinating artistic concept.

By Refaat Nagy

May 16, 2019

Amazing course with amazing classmates

By Rubén Darío López Becerra

May 16, 2019

I ended up having a clear understanding and management of the graphic design basis.

By Mingtao Wu

May 16, 2019

Very good intro course with touches of everything we need to know.

By Muhammad Rizwan

May 14, 2019

i am very happy to learn this course ,i learned different things that is most beneficial for me in future. its amazing.

By Sotiria Tsimoura

May 14, 2019

I really enjoyed this course as a beginner with no previous experience.

By Omaporn Prarunyapimook

May 10, 2019

Very nice thank you

By Ernesto Jiménez

May 09, 2019

This course is really helpful for understanding the objective of the graphic design.

By Moza Ebrahim

May 09, 2019

I found this course enjoyable and easy to follow. very useful information.

By Susan Grissom

May 09, 2019

Great course! I learned so much and stretched myself.