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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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3151 - 3175 of 3,682 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

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.

By Ashley R

Apr 23, 2018

I enjoyed the videos, the teacher was very clear and specific, yet offered great insights and flexibility. This course really gets your mind working and looking at things in different ways. My only complaint is that I thought this would be more geared towards using computer applications.

By Robert D

Jan 16, 2021

This course provides a very good foundation to the world of graphic / communication design. One of the most important aspects of design is experimentation, and I feel this course does a great job of encouraging students to try out new things, and not be too precious with what they create.

By Leon B

Feb 26, 2019

The course gives a good introduction to graphic design. My only concern is that the only reviews are peer reviews, but given the scale and cost this in completely understandable.

I definitely recommend this course for anyone with an interest in design who has not had any previous training.

By James H

Mar 4, 2018

Engaging, well structured course content. Appropriate/accurate work load estimates. Instructive assignments which isolate and combine concepts in ways that really help them stick. (Peer assessment is a bit hit and miss but that is just the nature of things and not the fault of the course)

By Cindy L

Mar 9, 2016

The materials and knowledge of the fundamentals from this course are helpful. However, the assignments and peer grading threw me off. I did not like the fact that your grade depended on students' review of your assignments. It is all subjective. Good course materials, poor grading system.

By T_ H

May 18, 2021

I like the breakdown of images and typography, and the instructor is very calm and engaging. My only gripe is with the peer-graded assignments. I don't receive enough feedback/criticism from the students to know what I can improve on or why I received the grade they've given me.

By Sylva M

Jun 17, 2020

This course covers a lot of the basics of graphic design and encourages practice. I definitely learned a lot and was able to apply my skills in the assignments. One slight drawback is that the lectures are a bit boring and seem to drag on. Other than that, I enjoyed this course!

By Ryan H

Jul 2, 2018

The course content is quite good. The feedback I'm getting from peers is not great. It's mostly stuff like "good job" or "Nice work." It's pretty much all very short sentences and nothing useful. You can read it in your system to see it yourself. I've taken a star off for this.

By Pavan R

Oct 12, 2018

I felt that this course has strong fundamental knowledge, although a little short. It gets the job done when the aim is to let people know about the general fundamentals of graphic design. Overall, I recommend this if one doesn't know how to get their creative juices flowing.

By Vincent P

Sep 27, 2020

Overall this is a great intro class. The content was engaging and thoughtful, and the assignments were fun.

The peer review process is quite frustrating, with one word critiques or copy and pasted responses with unrelated content. This portion of the class was not helpful.

By Pinkie

Mar 8, 2016

Clear teaching line and complete content makes it a wonderful choice for starters who are interested in graphic design. However, as the name of the course indicates, it is not an advanced tutorial for those who wants to enhance their design skills in a more specific area.

By Parul N

Nov 26, 2018

I have learned a lot during these four weeks. I have been able to understand the use of graphic design and how I can develop my skill further. I think if we could get in touch with the instructors as well for doubts as well as our assignments , we can learn a lot more.

By Jennifer C

Oct 26, 2017

Great course but I find the instructions for the homework a bit confusing and there could have been more examples like in intro to image making. However, I think it's essential and even though it was boring causing me to not try hard I think I had to learn this content.

By Liliana E

Sep 2, 2019

It was really fun and challenging making this course. I love graphic design but my experience is very little so I've learned a lot. The downside is that none of the assignments are reviewed by a teacher, we only get feedback from our peers and some aren't very helpful.

By K N K

Apr 2, 2018

Course was great but felt the quality of sound and visuals should be improved. As Coursera is a professional platform, the videos are not that much fair to look at. and the sound, theres a lot of noise in the background which is a disturbance for some viewers.

Thank you

By Sara M

Jul 25, 2020

So this course me many basics about graphic design.Over all it was great one.But only one problem is that the instructors didn't show the software use here,I had to toil with the assignments because of that if software use is taught here then it could be 10/10 course

By Lucy S

Mar 2, 2016

Information was very good and presented in a clear and intriguing manner. I do wish the professors or someone could give some oversight. Some students were nice, but some were very nasty to each other. Ironically, the people with the worst work were the nastiest.