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Fundamentals of Graphic Design, California Institute of the Arts

4,912 ratings
1,226 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


Apr 18, 2016

very good introductory course. i enjoyed the assignments, they are not overwhelming, easy to start, and the optional ones offer great opportunity to dig little deeper into graphic design fundamentals.


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.

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1,187 Reviews

By Popescu Raluca

Dec 11, 2018

Great course for beginners! Thank you!

By Gillian Stirland

Dec 10, 2018


great to have a certificate and more knowledge in stuff i've been doing for years to promote my business ventures


By Charles Ian Wilson

Dec 09, 2018

Very proffesional

By Nuria Mansilla Fernández

Dec 08, 2018

It has been very pleasant and very useful. A fantastic base to continue learning

By Matías Araujo

Dec 04, 2018

Excellent course as an introduction to the graphic design world and it' s principle concepts.

By Mariya Nikolaeva Pavlevska

Dec 04, 2018


By Jaelynne Brown

Nov 29, 2018

Very pleasant.

By Chia Yen

Nov 28, 2018

Interesting concepts learnt and I look forward to taking more courses in this specialisation.

By Dominic Rogers

Nov 26, 2018

Clear descriptions. Course starts with the basics and expands in a logical manner

By Юлия Саатова

Nov 26, 2018

Great course! Now I start to create and don't affraid to make mistakes. Thank you!