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

6,215 ratings
1,497 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 10, 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.


Aug 21, 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

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176 - 200 of 1,457 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

By dominic s p

Jul 11, 2018

Great and valuable course!!!

By Lucas M O S

Jul 17, 2018

Excellent introductory Graphic Design course. I recommend !

By khadiga e b

Feb 10, 2016

wonderful course, very helpful with basic knowledge of graphic design usage of elements and forms and terminologies. Thank you, the videos were very helpful and very insightful and easy to follow. I'd so love to carry on taking more courses that can help broaden my knowledge

By Christopher G

Feb 28, 2017

Provided a solid and comprehensive introduction to graphic design

By Isabelle M

Feb 12, 2016


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 Victoria A

Apr 10, 2016

Great overview of Graphic Design! Thank you for so much for the basics. I would definitely recommend this free, 4-week course to friends.

By Marisol V

Dec 25, 2015

Keep on doing these kind of courses! Thank you so much!

By Sonia C

Feb 08, 2016

Excellent course. Thoughtful introductions and good briefs. Enjoyed and learned lots

By Nina M

Dec 03, 2017

Great content !

By Andres M

Dec 01, 2015

Great quick course to introduce concepts that everybody should be familiar with, really easy to follow.

By Rebecca C K

Nov 11, 2016

very informative and yes, one learns a lot of theory

By Glaucia B

Nov 20, 2015

A good, fun and very didactic introductory course. I'd like to have more courses on graphic design.

By Akshid R

Dec 12, 2016

Great instructor and lessons. I love the organisation of the course and it really provides a great basis for looking deeper into aspects of graphic design! Looking forward to doing the other courses in this specialisation.

By Kaveh V

Feb 14, 2016

This is a great course for getting into art in general. A lot of the course is very cursory and never goes too far into detail like some classes do, which can be overwhelming.

The structure of required vs optional assignments was great, allowing you to choose where you'd like to practice more or even just additionally be able to continue (whereas some people cannot).

I would highly recommend this course to everyone. I look forward to continuing the entire specialization when I have more time. Until a couple of months from now, CalArts - you have made me a happy student!

By Elizaveta B

Dec 09, 2015

Very inspirational course. Great tips and amazing opportunities to gain hands on experience.

By Diana L M

Mar 23, 2016

I really liked the course, the content and flow of information not being too saturated, helps students to not lose interest on the course.

By Valerie C C

Mar 22, 2016

Really enjoyed this course, wish the other courses in the specialization could be audited.

By keren k

Jan 03, 2016

great course for beginners in graphic design.

you get to know the basic and the tasks are simple so anyone can do them.

no previous experience is needed but its fun to try and make your own designs

By Melissa S

Mar 29, 2016

This course was well designed and very informative.

By Tae W C

Feb 12, 2016

Great course for anyone!

Excellent learning and hands-on for those in any field and creative interests, also non graphic/visual designer like me. Lessons inspired me and helped applying to other projects I am working on by stimulating creative thinking and ways to experiment.

By Carol S

Nov 07, 2015

Excellent. The best Coursera course that I've taken.

By Ricardo G

Jan 24, 2016

Great course! Amazing teachers and good content!

By Juan S G R

Apr 17, 2016

This course is the best option to know or review all the graphic design essentials and how to combine them to make a good piece of communication art. I really recommend this course in which you will find an excellent structured program to learn from the basic concepts all the way through the very pillars of the graphic design thinking and creation.

By María A O

Dec 03, 2015

Very practical and enjoyable introduction to graphic design. It condenses a lot of content in an approachable and diversified way so it's useful to learn a lot in little time.

It's also encouraging to put all the concepts taught into practice with various media, with its balance between technique and talent. I like the instructor's way to express the importance of relying on the idea over difficulty.

Among the MOOCs I've taken on art topics, this one stands out as one of the most clarifying and fulfilling.