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

16,124 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


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


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.

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51 - 75 of 4,132 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

By Alexia W

Oct 5, 2021

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

By Freyana K

May 11, 2022

I loved the course. I learned so much with the help of this course.

By Maria K S R

May 10, 2022

Such a wonderful course. A must for graphic designers.

By Aditya I

Oct 4, 2021

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

By Muhammad S U R

May 9, 2022

Recommended Course for Graphic Designers.

By Md M U

Oct 20, 2021

Excelent Course! Just love it.

By Heather W

Oct 18, 2021

Great Course. Good instruction.


Oct 12, 2021

realmente sencillo y practico

By Andrea C

May 10, 2022

A very good experience.

By Johnnatan L

Jul 18, 2020

Exceptional course

By Keyder J A

Oct 20, 2021


By Amena N

Jan 28, 2022

4.5 stars

The course itself is great. I love the short informative videos, that are right on point. I love how the course introduced me to core principles while encouraging me to explore and try new techniques.

The only set back there is the method of evaluation which is peers review.

I was lucky at the beginning with people who were really detailed with sharp eyes who gave me useful feedback. And then you have the "nice" and "okay" luckily those I came across in only in the optional assignment.

That is until I submitted the last required assignment that has 100% objective goals and pretty straightforward exercise to test your grasp of the concept. Then I got people who are telling me "You need a square" and even giving me 0 points saying that I didn't submit the correct number of pages, when I clearly did. It took me 3 trials to get a decent feedback and a passing grade on this simple task that was explained in specific detail in a video by the instructor.

I think may be the rubric for this assignment specifically or in general needs to be more straightforward, through a yes or no set of questions. But in my opinion it would be better if you could hire a person who checks the reviews and assignment and whether or not a student is either doing the assignments and the review wholeheartedly.

Over all this was a great course and I am grateful for Coursera for giving me the financial aid to take it. It really made a difference for me and I learned essential skills and concept that I will need and make use of as a graphic designer.

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.

By Jaime J

Jul 1, 2020

I'm a writer/communications specialist who has been working with and learning from visual designers for 20 years. This course was great for me to get structured, high-level information about the fundamentals of their work, plus some hands-on practice in exploring how to work with basic design principles. If you are looking for instruction in how to use design software, do not look to this course (try YouTube). If you're instead looking for an introduction to ideas and exploration, go fo =r it.

By Mary P

Jan 2, 2022

The information in this course was useful and a great jumping off point. However one star has been deducted because of the ridiculous peer review that took up my time and in return got useless comments like good job and nothing else as well as peers removing half a point to things just because they couldn't decide what image they liked best and gave no explanations, comments good or bad and was absolutely useless to helping the designer improve there work.

By Laura M C M

Nov 8, 2020

Some of the feedbacks of my companions were not useful because they were not interested in giving me a good feedback, it would be nice if the professor also give a feedback

By Satwik V

May 16, 2020

Course is all good but I was expectiongmore of application , and an insight into graphic design softwares like photoshop and illustrators.

By Elena P

Apr 19, 2016

Overall I think this is a great course and really helpful. However, I had an unpleasant experience on the last week. There is an assignment that asks you to create a single contrast composition of 2 shapes. It says "shapes" and still people are not sure if they can use more count of those shapes. I chose to use 2 shapes, but multiple counts and some people that thought this is not only 2 shapes, but 2 counts as well, chose to grade my work with the lowest rating due to unfulfilled assignment. I think this is Coursera`s fault to begin with. They should word their requirements properly so it does not create confusion. Now, we are left to the good will of a classmate to judge our work and people are not even sure what the assignment asks of us exactly.

By Júlia U

Oct 29, 2018

El curso está bien, aprendes aspectos básicos del diseño gráfico y te permiten experimentar con ellos. Su mayor problema es que el nivel de exigencia es muy bajo, los proyectos más interesantes son optativos y en ningún momento te corrige un profesor, sino otros alumnos del curso (que muchas veces ponen 0 esfuerzo en dicha corrección).

A pesar de ello he aprendido y lo recomiendo a gente que esté empezando en el mundo del diseño gráfico, aunque es mejor tomárselo como un auto-aprendizaje que como un curso tutelado.

By Jacqueline

May 5, 2021

The videos nicely layout information and the course is easy to follow. The reason for two stars is that you never learn from a professional. Every project is peer-reviewed, which can be beneficial when done right. When you are in a beginner class and only getting peer reviews, you don't learn as much as you could. Many of the reviews I have seen are just "ok", "cool", or "N/A". It's a shame. The information is good and the assignments are great, just missing the professional advice.