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

15,969 ratings

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 5, 2021

I had a lot of fun in this course. I learnt some extra bits of information related to graphic design and I think it's a great start for beginners as well as good practice for intermediate and experts!


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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426 - 450 of 4,089 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

By Stephanie B

May 4, 2020

Great course! I started designing as a hobby and learned to use a few graphic design Softwares, however, this is what I was lacking: basic and theory. The course structure is so easy to follow and instructions for assignments very clear.

By Euan M

Feb 9, 2016

An exceptionally good course. Hands-on, and—as the name suggests—all about learning the fundamentals of design, rather than what to click in a piece of software. Highly recommended as an antidote to all the Photoshop tutorials out there.

By Elina P

Dec 9, 2022

This course is great for those who want to understand the basics of graphic design as well as for those who seek inspiration and new ways of doing things. The course is very informative and has a lot of practical tasks. Amazing course!

By Yana B

Apr 5, 2021

I really liked the first course! The information is very accessible and well presented, the teacher is excellent! And thanks to everyone who also participated in the course and evaluated the works, it helped a lot in passing the course.

By Eva H

Nov 8, 2017

Great course. Lessons are interesting and easy to follow. The tutor gives plenty of visual examples to help you understand the topics and encourage you to get your hands on design. You definitely gain the fundamentals of Graphic Design.

By Monica A N

Apr 11, 2020

Great course! I recommend it for those who are searching a starting point in the graphic design. All the projects contained in this course are well designed to help you understand the work process and apply your new acquired knowledge.

By Fabian M

Nov 28, 2016

This is one of those courses that for me open a door to a whole new world, that was right there in front of me the whole time (design is all around in society) but I had been to blind to notice. The course has lifted that veil for me.

By Rohit N

Dec 31, 2015

This perfectly introduced me to the basic know-hows of graphic design, thing which you'll never learn from self practice and creating stuff on photoshop or Ai. I enjoyed learning more from this than my 4 years in engineering in school!

By Djoeke V

Jul 9, 2021

Covers and summarizes the most important aspects of design. The required assignments can be simple if you're a somewhat experienced image-maker. More experienced learners will also learn a lot from especially the optional assignments.

By Ahmed H

Jan 16, 2019

I would like to thank you for your effort, I have learned graphic design from youtube five years ago and I am with five years of experience, but I wanted to learn graphic design in an academic way and I found that here .. many thanks.

By Brianna P

Feb 21, 2016

I really enjoyed this course. The teacher made the content very approachable and doable. The goal was to just create and start designing. I loved how low pressure it felt! It actually made me want to go the extra mile and design more!

By Siddesh S

Jun 20, 2022

My overall experience is very good. The knowledge provided on fundamental graphic design includes in-depth knowledge of all aspects as well as practical demonstrations of the topics, which aid in visualising self-concepts. Thank you.

By Ekaterina K

Jul 31, 2020

Great thanks for this course! I got a lot of new skills and now I see, that graphic design is a really interesting and exiting thing! This course helped me to free myself from my prejudices and fears in creation. Much obliged to you!

By rodolfomlchr

May 13, 2020

El curso es una buena forma de adentrarte en el diseño grafico, las activdades de cada semana son buenas y la ultima actividad los es al 100 por ciento. Aun así, creo que puedes apoyarte de otros cursos para que no se te escape nada.

By Emilie N

Feb 5, 2022

The instruction was excellent. I really appreciated Michael's low key style and his insights on design. His examples of work inspired me to explore and come up with good designs. This course reignited my passion for graphic design.

By Lev

Jul 19, 2021

I highly recommend this course to those who wanted to pursue Graphic Design. The professor teaches the fundamentals or techniques that you need to know before creating a Graphic Design. Thank you for this wonderful course, Coursera.

By Kate S

Mar 11, 2020

I enjoyed the course. It touches all important basis (fundamentals) and acts as a perfect start to go deeper into the topic with following courses from this university for Graphic specialization. Good balance of video/reading/tasks.

By Kadaria O

Aug 22, 2020

As I person, who have never been into design, I find this course helpful. It gives basics for main aspects of graphic design. I have learned new things regarding typography and fornts, as the professor talked about history as well.

By Tommy W O

Jul 22, 2020

Concise, easily grasped, and rather eye-opening. It's easy to take pen to paper or mouse to a document and go to town with expression, but I feel enriched in a way that I haven't felt for a long time by simply studying the basics.

By Meil J F

Apr 3, 2022

I learned a lot from you Mr. Michael. I wish I could use all of my knowledge from this field. I was also hoping to learn more from graphic design. Their teaching method is clear and fun. It was also interesting. Thank you so much!

By Chelsi S

May 31, 2020

Really good course, even for those who already have a bit of experience behind them, good to go over the basics again. I would highly recommend doing all of the briefs, they're not time-consuming and you learn a lot by practising!

By Phoebe B

Apr 17, 2020

I really enjoyed the content and learned a lot of valuable hands-on skills. It was great to be encouraged to make a lot of images in a lot of different ways. I'm actually amazed at how much I have learned taking this short course.

By Assel N

Jun 8, 2016

I was so happy when saw this course for the first time. It became the first step to my dream career. All lessons and assignments are very useful and interesting to watch and implement. Thanks you very much for such an opportunity!

By Jenny S

Aug 5, 2022

Thank you so much CalArts for this interactive course! I surely learned a lot of stuff about graphics design. I'm forever grateful for the knowledge and very excited to apply my learnings for my future career in graphics design!

By Jelena M

Jul 21, 2022

Very interesting and educative course. The material was explained in a very clear way, so it was notna problem to donthe assignments and quizzes. I would recommend this course to anyone interestednin the basic of graphic design.