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

14,287 ratings
3,704 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

Sep 2, 2021

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 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

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3126 - 3150 of 3,674 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

By Carol F

Jun 19, 2020

I thought this was a great introduction to Graphic Design. The instructor was clear and gave lots of examples. The cases were fun yet challenging your creativity. The only thing I wish could be better is to get feedback on the assignments from the instructor rather than just the students, although their feedback was usually very helpful.

By Vanessa I S

Dec 17, 2015

This course was very well designed and extremely suitable for peeps of all backgrounds. I suppose the only drawback was that I didn't find the course challenging enough. But I went to design school for a few semesters, so I was already pretty familiar with the concepts. Overall, very good practice and a nice refresher. Thanks, Michael!

By Nisa R

Sep 2, 2020

My only criticism about the class is that no actual feedback is given by the instructor or an expert. A lot of the times the peers that reviewed my assignments gave Yes/No answers without any feedback. I wish I could be evaluated even by a mentor at least, even if the class instructor himself is unable to look at the projects.

By Deleted A

Mar 20, 2016

This is a great intro course for anybody new to the subject. I look forward to expanding my knowledge with the base of information provided here. I also really loved the assignments and the deadlines; I've been trying to learn the fundamentals on my own, but having the structure of this class really helped me to make progress.

By Paulo C V d S

Aug 9, 2020

Really nice and comprehensible course, with examples that clarify the concepts. Some peer-reviewed assignments are a bit ambiguous and take some extra time to understand, but in overall they are great. The course is not meant to teach in-depth details on how to make great design, but nicely paves the way for further learning.

By Emily F

Apr 22, 2020

I thought the course content was very rudimentary- I would have preferred a bit more in depth material. I was also hoping to learn which programs graphic designers frequently work in. I liked all of the required assignments, but which there were more of them, and that they were graded by the instructor instead of classmates.

By Collin F

Nov 4, 2017

The lecturer was inspiring and very well spoken. The assignments emphasized the need to create many different iterations which I feel is a valuable habit to understand from the very beginning. In general I felt that I took a lot away from the course that I could easily apply to my work as a game designer / product person.

By Ilya Z

Nov 30, 2015

The course introduces you to the vital basics of graphic design. Sometimes the information provided is not enough for me as a practicing designer, but I guess it would be OK for beginners. Maybe the main thing about the course is that it constantly encourages students to do a lot of design, and it's definitely inspiring.

By Melissa C

Apr 10, 2021

This course will teach you the basic skills of graphic design perfectly. It was insightful to see all the different techniques which I was able to use at my current employment straight away. I recommend you take this course because after each lesson, you will be able to use what you've learned quickly and effectively.


Apr 15, 2020

I think the course is good, although I think some concepts are not clear, it is not easy to understand when your mother tongue is not English, outside of that, it is a very general context. I mean the explanations of the tasks and exercises, the rules were not clear to me, what was requested, how it was evaluated.

By Mariam T E H

Aug 19, 2020

I loved the course very much. As a beginner, I found it very clear and interesting as it covered all the basics! The only thing I struggled with is understanding some of the assignments! I would recommend adding a visual example of what is to be expected with instructions to be creative and think outside the box.

By Daphne K W

Jul 11, 2016

A lot of the material given in the lecture was intuitive, but I thought it was extremely valuable to see all of the different examples the instructor showed, and the peer review process was also helpful (not only to get feedback on your own work, but to see the way all your classmates approached the same prompt)

By Dileep K B

Aug 20, 2019

Excellent teaching methodology in course every video have one creative thing please don't skip

mainly the faculty Michael Worthington he an extraordinary creative skills, I didn't get this type of interaction with students in my college.

Don't stop with this course go on do specialization in graphic designing

By Kassie S

Oct 6, 2020

It was a good course! I found I already knew much of this (I am graduating with a BFA in studio art this spring). I think it covered a lot, but I was disappointed in the feedback I got from peers, often only "good" or "good work" even in sections where it asked for them to give me something to work on.

By Leslie L

Jul 3, 2020

I learned a lot in this course. This course discuss the strong foundation of Graphic Design and I'm so happy that I grab this opportunity to be able to boost my confidence as a Designer. This is an opportunity that you should never missed. Master the fundamentals and great works will come to your way!

By Katrina F

Jan 8, 2018

Very informative class and I enjoyed the flexibility in weekly assignments. Unfortunately, some of my submissions lacked enough feedback for me to learn from other students since one student repeatedly gave a sing "good" to a couple of my assignments and therefore I lost out on informative criticism.

By Mustafa A K

Mar 18, 2018

Great in-depth subjective lessons. They really help me deepen into the subject (using plenty of examples) and support me with my thoughts on the assignments. I would only improve the way the lessons were organized, and maybe make the assignments a bit more challenging?

Other than that, great course!

By Carolyn L

May 30, 2017

A good course which I enjoyed but I did find the process of peer review irksome in that although I was ready to review work, I was often told there were none and it was only finding a thread on the forum which enabled me to finally review the 2 remaining I needed to finish the course completely.

By Leva V

Jan 3, 2016

Great course that teaches you what you need for graphic design.

It is a good approach to graphic design.

The reviewing system encourages you to talk to your "classmates", there is a very friendly atmosphere.

However, it is a bit difficult to get feedback from the institute and the teacher direclty.

By India W

Aug 18, 2019

This course helped teach me the basics of graphic design. I have done graphics for GCSE and currently doing A-Level but I wasn't taught the basic theories of things, like layout and composition. My favourite part was the typography section, with the extra briefs being fun and interesting to do.

By Michael H

Apr 15, 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed the class. The only reason why I did not give it 5 stars is because, I would have liked to have seen one of the design projects reviewed by the teacher or a teacher's assistant. I appreciate the peer review, but hearing from someone with experience can be very reassuring.


May 12, 2020

I learn from this course, creative and systematic plan to solve a problem and achieve certain objectives, with the use of images, symbols or even words. Also i learn visual communication and the aesthetic expression of concepts and ideas using various graphic elements and tools in this course.

By sisichen

Aug 12, 2021

The assignment in this course is inspiring and I gain a lot and experience on how to do creative work in basic image design. It would be better if my assignment can get more feedback from teacher or mentor's professional suggestion. Although I think the opinion from classmates is helpful, too

By Bethany F

May 4, 2020

I enjoyed the course and content. I think it was split up into decent sized and manageable sections and full of lots of useful information which was presented well. I liked doing the assignments, I just wish more people would give more feedback as several reviewers only give one word replies.

By Frederik W

Jul 23, 2020

Hat Spaß gemacht und man hat noch einiges gelernt. Setzt allerdings auch wirklich bei den basics an also vieles erscheint einem auch selbstverständlich. Trotzdem hat man nochmal neue Einblicke bekommen. Besonders der Typografie Teil at mir der viel Freude bereitet, was ich nie gedacht hätte.