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

14,513 ratings
3,765 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

May 9, 2018

An ok course for beginners. A bit too basic for someone who has already had experience in design, but is great anyway cause it breaks things back down to the simplest parts to help you remember roots.

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!

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26 - 50 of 3,737 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

By Oliver G

May 24, 2020

"Fundamentals of Graphic Design" this course is crucial if you want to learn graphic design. Each lecture is perfect, great job from instructor Michael Worthington, I had a great experience, for me, maybe week one can feel a bit light or slow but it's fine, it sets a mood and creates an atmosphere. Every lecture and assignment is worth it, in my opinion, what you will learn here you will use it trough out all your Graphic Design career.

By JiaChen Z

Feb 1, 2021

A fantastic course for me! I've been dreaming of learning design for years, but I didn't know how to approach it. After studying this course, I understand it is the process that is the most important in the design, which I think is rarely taught elsewhere. This course focuses on the basis and concept of graphic design. It almost didn't say anything about software, which make us think more about the principle but not technical things. However, I found I was struggling to do the assignments due to the lack of ability in software. It may be better if they provide some software instruction when needed. Although I can imagine that may make students' focus deviate from what's really important in this course. But I'll suggest learning Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign after completing this course. Then continue to learn this specialization.

By Michael H

Jul 3, 2020

Excellent course! I've taken other courses on Coursera, and this one really stood out in the way the information was structured and presented. It felt very professional, well thought out, and I really learned a lot. I highly recommend the optional assignments, I think without them you won't learn as much and the information won't stick. Iteration and generation really is key to learning a new skill.

I would recommend at least a little bit of prior knowledge with Adobe Illustrator/InDesign (or their free alternatives -- the course gives you links to these), because knowing a little bit about these tools helped me to be able to complete many of the assignments without the added headache of learning how to use the program itself. And, if you are serious about graphic design, you will end up using these tools as you move forward, anyway.

By alina s

Oct 18, 2021

It was a very valuable course and helped me learn a lot about the fundamentals of graphic design. It aided me in perfecting my skills with graphic designing and the teacher imparted his knowledge with not just lectures but also with pictures and graphics. The teacher also conveyed his message through painting and using techniques to help us with our assignments. And concerning the assignments which were equally helpful in learning graphic design ourselves by imparting whatever we learned from the lectures. I would recommend this course for every single individual who wants to know the fundamentals of designing let alone graphic designing. Thank you coursera for helping me find this invaluable treasure.

By Deep S

May 24, 2020

First of all I will like you to thank you to Coursera Team for accepting my Financial Aid request for this course and letting me complete it without paying anything. Now coming to the course I have learned many things about graphics designing like what is Denotation image, different kind of image-making technique, color management, and in the last week of the course about the contrast was very interesting. I liked the way they have taken all the exams throughout the course. In the end, I will suggest everyone who is willing to learn deeply about Graphics Designing to take this course and get an extra skillset in your CV. Thank you very much, Coursera Team for all the support.

By Anna M D

Mar 25, 2021

This is the best Graphic Design Fundamentals course I have taken so far. The projects are super helpful to developing perception of the principles of GD. Note : it is preferable to have basic knowledge of the tools of Graphic Design (Photoshop, Illustrator) in order to make the projects.

The only aspect I don't like in general is the peer reviews : please have a professional review our work and give us proper feedback. I don't want to spend hours on a project and have a fellow student not even open the file to check my work and just write "she did good".

By Saad B W U

Jul 7, 2021

Best course I've ever done for Graphic Design! The outcome of this course is unbelievable. I always thought designing things or creating an artwork is not my cup of tea although I always wanted to do that and took so many courses but this course really pull my own creativity out of me. Weather a beginner/intermediate or advance designer, I recommend this course to all. And also Thank you so much for making this course.

By Sephtania P A

Jul 5, 2021

Absolutely loving it. I don't know what to say but this course really helping me into getting more understanding about graphic design. It's really good for someone who is new to the field. The tutor explain everything perfectly and i understand every videos easily, there is no rush so i can do it in my own pace. so thank you so much for the course.

By Vanita K

Oct 6, 2021

This is a great course! The teacher conveys knowledge so concise yet captivating and inspiring. I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed this course. Making all the assignments (optional & required), really improved my skills as a starting Designer. Highly recommended!

By Chloe S

Jan 8, 2021

This was an amazing intro ! I feel that I learned a lot, and every week we got to play with the new tools we were taught ! The complementary notes at the end of the last week are also very useful career wise. All and all, very satisfied with this class !

By Diana A A A

Oct 20, 2021

Very nice and easy course and I enjoyed it very much think you so much

By Alexia W

Oct 5, 2021

Great course! Broken up into manageable pieces. Very fun to learn :)

By Aditya I W

Oct 4, 2021

Really nice course, I have learn so much in here!!

By Hardik S

Oct 21, 2021

Absolutely great course for a beginner.

By Md M U

Oct 20, 2021

E​xcelent Course! Just love it.

By Heather W

Oct 18, 2021

Great Course. Good instruction.


Oct 12, 2021

realmente sencillo y practico

By Johnnatan L

Jul 18, 2020

Exceptional course

By Keyder J A

Oct 20, 2021


By Marwa Y

Jun 4, 2020

It was really good! It was fun, simple and easy. To be honest I was a little bit disappointed because it was too simple and because I have an artistic background I was pretty excited to dive in graphic design straight forward, but I think it's fair to start slow for the people who don't have a background.

If you're someone who just want basic ideas about design and how to put things together in a nice way considering the meaning behind anything, this course is definitely for you. But if you're someone who is like me, actually wants to learn everything possible about graphic design, then you probably know most of the info provided here, and you should take the whole specialization like what I'm doing.

But it was quite beneficial in the theory aspect, because now I know the technologies and terms for a lot of things!

The assignments are too easy that they were boring, there are multiple optional assignments but again, they are also boring and basic.

In conclusion, as a course about graphic design fundamentals, yes it's absolutely amazing, but as an introduction to graphic design as a specialization, it's so basic and I wish it had more work.

By Alastair T

Sep 7, 2020

My first-ever online course. Has some rocky parts where the assignments are not 100% crystal clear, but I think the break-everything-down approach will get you started on being able to think critically about how a surface works. Is the kind of class where it does the most good if you're already interested in the topic & have some skill, but want to figure out how you know what you know & what sorts of decisions a graphic can make. It's not a technical class, it's a conceptual class. The peer-review system is not really optimal when a lot of your classmates don't really get the assignment. I think you'll get out of this course whatever you put into it.

By Curtis H

Apr 9, 2020

Excellent course. Would definitely recommend for anyone like myself who is either already in a creative profession or is looking to get into one. I don't think it's just for those interested in being a graphic designer, but the principles and perspectives learned from this course are applicable in many creative fields and endeavors. I only took the one star off because while it's great to get the opinion of your fellow learners, it would be good to have some professional/experienced input on the additional exercises, but that would probably mean the course would cost more. All around excellent intro, highly recommended.

By bhavana k

Jan 8, 2018

This course is very good for a beginner. It starts from very basic and the language is very simple and clear.I loved the assignments and I learned a lot during it. My personal advice do as many assignments as many time as you can, assignments are gonna teach you more than theory.

The reason I am giving it a 4 star and not 5 because I really felt that at some points I needed some clarifications and feedback from the instructor. I started few threads for discussing my subject related questions but no reply. If coursera team is able to fill this gap between teacher and student, I guess then this course is beyond 5 stars :)

By Akash S

May 4, 2020

This course has given me deep insight about graphic design. with help of this course my fundamentals regarding various pillar of graphic design are very clear . My knowledge has definitely increased regarding Imagemaking ,Typography, colour theory, contrasts and its factors and how all these affects the composition.

I was very new to this field but now i am confident to understand the terminology of this field of graphic design.

All the fundamental have been taught in depth and have given a very clear understanding of the topic.

I am very thankfull to the team for prepairing such a wonderful course structure

By Kathie B

Mar 14, 2016

It has been 40 years since I took my last art course (and that was in elementary school). While I enjoyed making posters in high school and college, those were done by hand. I had ZERO experience with computer graphics, and was quite nervous starting this course. I liked the way the instructor eased into it - bringing less experienced artists along slowly, and constantly encouraging us to practice and experiment. By the 4th week, I figured out my computer's basic graphic design program, and was really enjoying playing with designs. I look forward to taking the other classes in this specialization.