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

6,430 ratings
1,541 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


Apr 18, 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.


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.

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251 - 275 of 1,499 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

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.

By Shitalkumar K

Jan 29, 2016

Awesome course with lots of learning and fun!!!

By Ashley K

Jan 25, 2017

Got great feedback from other students.


Dec 27, 2015

A great pleasure for me to be part of this awesome course. I have enjoyed it as a child.

By Courtney L

Feb 13, 2017

Great course!

By Hugo A L M

Nov 26, 2015

Even if you are an experimented designer, it's useful to come back to the basics and maybe discover something you've forgot or something new. A good one for people interested in design.

By Tevah P

Apr 14, 2018

The demonstrations in these videos were really engaging and inspiring and the course covered a lot of useful content.

By Maria M

Nov 11, 2015

Up until now this course is really practical, well explained and a "happy" place to be! I love it and wish my University lessons were as fun and informative as this!

By Angelica B

Nov 12, 2016

This course has been great and I have learnt things I can start applying to my job straight away.

By Vaishali K

Nov 30, 2015

I loved this course. Thank you!

By Mohamed G W

Aug 19, 2017

I Learned more from this course such as how to think as a Graphic Designer