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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Fundamentals of Graphic Design by California Institute of the Arts

14,315 ratings
3,709 reviews

About the 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

Aug 20, 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

Jul 13, 2020

Excellent course to learn and refresh about fundamentals of design....It applies to all spheres of MULTIMEDIA..Highly recommended... As a suggestion course and notes should be available in PDF format.

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By Lizz I

Apr 23, 2020

It could improve in the use of questionnaires within and during the videos. There are not, and they would be useful. Questionnaires at the end and after many videos is not as effective.

It would be good to ask the students to ask to be aware of making polite and polite corrections when grading and giving opinions about works. Aware that English is not the native language of all participants.

There are no more Spanish subtitles in the rest of the specialized course, for those of us who do not speak English, we can no longer continue. We cannot take the rest of the courses, there are no more Spanish subtitles. It's a shame.

Podría mejorar en el uso de cuestionarios dentro y durante de los videos. No los hay, y serian útiles. Cuestionarios al final y después de muchos videos no es tan efectivo.

Seria bueno pedir a los alumnos que al calificar y dar opiniones sobre trabajos, se pida ser conscientes de hacer correcciones educadas y amables. Conscientes de que el inglés no es el idioma nativo de todos los participantes.

Ya no hay subtítulos en español en el resto del curso especializado, para los que no hablamos inglés, ya no podemos seguir. No podemos tomar el resto de cursos, ya no hay subtítulos en español. Es una pena.

By Petra P

Feb 22, 2016

The course was very interesting, hands on orientated and it offered me a lot of useful information. I have really enjoyed it! It was also a good motivation to practice graphic design more often, explore the realms of shapes, colours, typography etc.

I was really grateful for the peer reviews, but I missed a bit more professional approach sometimes, for instance comments like "I like it" or "It is not that bad" does not tell me much about my work. So in these cases some feedback from someone who already is a graphic designer and knows much more about it than us, students, starting with the graphic design, would be more than welcome.

I also missed advices on where to find out more on a particular topic.

Overall, taking this course was a very positive experience and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in graphic design.

By Marilyn L

Jan 30, 2016


The information is good. This class is good for learning the vocabulary in graphic design. I already understood more general terms like scale and form. I learned new terms like figure/ground and visual contrast (or how graphic design defines it).


The teacher's pace for some of the videos is slow for the amount of information. On week 4, the pace slightly quickens. But overall, it's really slow.


I would recommend this course for learning the terms of graphic design or getting a basic understanding of design principles. I also found the assignments fun. If you have some understanding of the basics of design and art, you do not need to watch every video. Feel free to skip on videos covering terms you have a general idea about.