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

11,454 ratings
2,928 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


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.


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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2476 - 2500 of 2,891 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

By Sue D

Jan 23, 2016

Really good course. I would have given it 5 stars but it could use a little improvement. Too many optional assignments perhaps. They should have been required. The class just didn't engage you enough. That being said I've signed up for the next ones.

By Christine

Jun 13, 2016

Excellent introduction to graphic design. The instructor is engaging and interesting and the topics are broken down into easy to understand segments with excellent examples. Assignments are interesting and really helped me work with the different topics.

By Hari G

Feb 13, 2019

I wish the examples and the projects were a bit more fun/engaging. I understand that this was a fundamentals course, but I found it a little dry. Some of the examples were also "ok." Did not really inspire me to create as much as I would have liked.

By Sarah K

Apr 21, 2020

It was a very useful course that made me think about letters, configurations and pictures with a different perspective from what I was thinking previously ... made me discover new things and train more. It opened the way for me to be more creative.

By Hari H S R

Aug 05, 2019

This course is arguably the best starter for getting started with communication design as a practice. It was an insightful and productive experience. I would recommend Fundamentals of Graphic Design to anyone with aspiration for design in general.

By Curbita

Sep 17, 2016

I didn't really liked the course of the first week but than I really came to enjoy a lot the course about pattern and forms in particular which was a completely new way of thinking how to create for me, very interesting and full of possibilities.

By Soledad R

Feb 24, 2016

Explanations are simple but covers many aspects. The assignments are also simple but quite useful to practice what it is explained in the video lesson. I really enjoy with this course and creating the composition suggested in the assignments.

By Kara A R

Oct 19, 2020

I found no issue with the course in terms of content, materials and assignments. However, I do wish there was a way to balance the peer-reviewed work as I've people who've misunderstood the brief multiple times. One even graded incorrectly.

By Ranjit R

May 29, 2020

This course is great to learn about the fundamentals of graphic design. I learned about the basics of typography and how to work with shapes and patterns. If you are about to start to learn graphic design then this course is for you.

By Claudia N M S

Jul 24, 2020

the material from the Calarts are great, the lecturer also teach us very well. a little concern is with the fellow student. i sometime get a peer review that don't really help me to point out my strength and weakness in my work.

By Sakina H J

Aug 21, 2016

Its a great course to start understanding the basics of design and know what graphic design is all about. the lectures are very well explained and the assignments are all very easy to complete.

Its a very well structured course.

By Ruben S

Feb 09, 2016

It is a great course, simple yet complete. However, it would be nice if we had more contact with our lecturers, and if they graded our assignments instead of other classmates. They are not as experienced as our teachers are.

By Deborah M

Jan 23, 2017

I really loved this course, it really pushes you forward to create and it is a really good course for beginners. I would only love for the review part to be more

challenging in order to get better at your work in the future

By Laura B

Mar 06, 2016

I loved the course, although I think the instructions for various briefs should be more precise and/or someone should be available to clarify the instructions and answer any questions from students (regarding the briefs).

By Anthony J S

Jan 22, 2016

Four stars, because there is always room for improvement. But this is a well structured course and gives a great grounding for anyone looking at graphic design.

Thanks to those who put this course together, great work.

By Kelly L

Mar 05, 2018

Good information, wish there were more assignments and perhaps multiple presenters. This class is part of a specialization, so you can not get the certificate for completion unless you join the specialization.

By Anastassiya R

Dec 12, 2016

I found the course rather interesting and useful for the beginners in graphic design, however I think the students need the feedback from the instructor. I missed some professional critic during the course.

By erin n

Oct 07, 2020

The course itself was well done, however the peer review is useless. Only one person actually made a comment beyone "good". So it makes it difficult to grow when there is no feedback at all on the work.

By Alan S

May 28, 2017

I liked the course as a beginner to graphic design and I would recommend it for everyone. Maybe to be perfect I would like it to include more examples and technical classes, but it was definitely worthy.

By Sheena P

Feb 02, 2017

This Course has opened my eyes to different simple concepts I had forgotten or not quiet understood until now. I am going to work through all of the 5 coursed for Graphic design. this was a great start.

By Sandrine C

Jan 08, 2016

The fundamentals, like the title says. Very well explaineI wish there was more info on what software to use for the assignments for those of us more used to traditional mediums rather than digital.

By Danielle E

Sep 13, 2020

I think this course is fun to learn the fundamentals of design and how to apply it in Graphic Design. It is good for those who are new or want to refresh on the basics and have extra practice.

By Mariia A

Aug 16, 2018

It would be great if you also include some Adobe Illustrator basics into the curriculum, rather than that I had lots of fun learning with you and acquiring new skills in design and typography.

By Feste I

Jun 03, 2019

In terms of lectures, it was a great course. I undoubtedly learned a lot and enjoyed it. The last star is missing since I wish there was a bit more interaction among people taking the course.