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

14,027 ratings
3,637 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

Apr 17, 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.

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3501 - 3525 of 3,613 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

By Ben M

Aug 19, 2020

In general I enjoyed this course and thought the information provided was useful. I liked doing the exercises and they definitely introduced me to some design thinking that I wouldn't have a chance to engage in on a normal basis. The peer feedback, however, was basically useless, and unfortunately the whole class is built around it. A lot of time is required just to prepare submissions and then review others, but what you get in response as reviews for your submissions is rarely constructive.

By Abhishek V M

Apr 15, 2020

The course was interesting and the manner of teaching was good for someone beginning into this field. The assignments were well thought out, but I felt it lacked rigour since they were all reviewed by peers. I wish all the assignments were mandatory and graded by industry experts or teachers. The idea of optional assignments that are peer-reviewed takes a bit of the edge from the course.

Overall a good course that helped me think of design and its fundamentals.

By Matthew S

May 12, 2020

The overall setup and information in the course is helpful and builds a foundational knowledge of working with shapes and color. There is not a very strong concept of what makes a pleasing image, and the example images and designs are relatively cheap and childish. This leads to students doing quick, unpolished work. So I'd say there is nothing particularly special about this course, but it does the trick in many ways.

By Jennifer C

Nov 1, 2020

I really don't feel like I got any valuable information out of this course. I know this is a fundamentals course, but the lessons were all very basic and didn't touch on anything that wasn't very easily searchable. The assignments felt like busywork. Also, most of the assignments are peer-reviewed feedback only (the ones that aren't are computer-graded quizzes), so there was no real professional input at all.

By Oliver T

Nov 11, 2015

I totally liked the hands-on approach and the nice presentation of the material. On the other hand, I felt a little left alone since there was no didactically planned interaction beyond the peer reviews. Furthermore, a forum for discussion is nice, but it's a little sad if no one can answer course related formal questions, you misinterpret the instructions, and therefore receive a low grade.

By Blake F

Jul 6, 2018

This is a very basic course. The assignments are interesting and help make you think about design in new and different ways. The peer review was lacking and the quizzes were kind of silly. That being said, I think this helped me understand that I need to delve deeper into the individual aspects of design to really become a good designer. It is a good place to start for a complete beginner.

By Guinivere P

Feb 26, 2017

I really enjoyed the content and learned a lot but, there were far too many videos that were not functional. In some the video froze, in some the sound went off, in others there were a problem with bot visual and sound. It became increasingly hard to follow the ideas as I had no visuals to support the text.

By Chandler F

Aug 20, 2020

The assignments given were great. However, if you do not know how to use Illustrator do not anticipate specific lessons here. This is more for someone who knows how to use Adobe programs but needs help exercising their creative muscle. You will work fundamental artistic concepts here. I really enjoyed it.

By Laura M

Feb 8, 2019

Very interesting but basic - definitely need to continue with the specialisations afterwards. Recommendations of online software courses / tools to learn from would be useful as some people (myself included) may not have the skills to progress onto the specialisations without this knowledge. Overall happy!

By Leilani A

Jul 28, 2020

Good instruction with projects that can inspire new creativity. However, the assignments are a bit to easy for anyone with previous knowledge of art or design, while the assignments also must be completed with software which most people would not know how to use without previous classes in graphic design.

By Natalie W

Sep 7, 2018

Having a background in Art & Graphic Design already I felt the Fundamentals course didn't really push me or help me learn anything incredibly helpful. However, it did push me to start using Illustrator (Which I had never used before) and I am enjoying the process of learning about a new digital programme.

By Salomé P

Nov 24, 2020

It is truly the fundamentals, a base to start or explore graphic design. I feel the peer review should not be there so much, it could have reviews from real designers, which would be more helpful and give students confidence to continue and work on those constructive criticisms.

By Deanna M

Apr 25, 2020

The course itself is interesting. I'm finding it hard to get anything out of these classes, as there is no feedback from instructors, and all assignments are graded by peers, with very little in the way of guidance. (criteria is basically "did you do the assignment" "ok, pass")

By Nivedha G

Sep 1, 2021

The projects and assignments are great and really help you learn and make designs on your own. However, the course itself felt very basic and textbook-like - there are some good lessons, but most of the rest is not necessary for someone looking to start designing graphics.

By Helie M

Mar 19, 2020

lessons are good and sufficient although the website is not user friendly and easy to follow. the reviewing process is not fare and helpful I rather a professional person review my works than some one who may have same knowledge as me and can provide better comments.

By Taylor S

Sep 22, 2021

It was a bit hard to keep up with everything due to there being no specific definitions on screen or any stress on what we should know. Everyone has their own learning style, and this course didn't really fit mine. I did enjoy the hands-on activities though.

By Aydin A

Jun 28, 2016

Interesting and exploratory but not much was really explained; he just kinda showed examples and said see what I mean. That's great but you're not really learning why and thus in my opinion I don't feel like I learned much about graphic design

By Mahek S

Aug 14, 2016

Instead of reading blogs and books on graphic design and then following that up with consequent practice I decided to take up this course which would help me do both more efficiently and so far I'm not regretting my decision.

By Khalid G

Apr 15, 2020

this course is kinda useful but I think it needs to go deeper in some details about those fundamentals of graphic design to give a complete imagination about how this world works, glad to be here and thanks a lot!

By divyansha g

Nov 5, 2020

Interesting appraoch to basic elements of graphic design. however, i believe there should be more required assignments instead of the optional ones to gain deeper and better understanding of various elements.

By Aarya C

Aug 22, 2020

It is quite engaging from a beginner point of view but I expected the course to more of a professional level. Expected to work on a Graphic Design software like Adobe Illustrator or something like that.

By Divya A

May 9, 2020

They are teaching you basics of design. The course is pretty good for people who have absolutely no knowledge in design. Overall my experience was good. They did increase my knowledge about graphics.

By Ezio T

Mar 13, 2020

I was expecting to have more hands on experience and learning graphic designing software, but it was more about theory. I liked the theory and classes, but still I was hoping for more.

By Lim M J

Jun 4, 2020

Great course for anyone who wishes to learn graphic designs. It's eye-opening for me as it is not just about arts, but also the techniques and compositions behind every design

By Antonio C C

Mar 7, 2017

Si deseas conocer los conceptos básicos del diseño gráfico de una manera amena este es tu curso. Es prácticamente autogestivo pero con un diseño instruccional de alta calidad.