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

14,533 ratings
3,771 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

Jul 13, 2020

Excellent course to learn and refresh about fundamentals of design....It applies to all spheres of MULTIMEDIA..Highly recommended... As a suggestion course and notes should be available in PDF format.

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

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3676 - 3700 of 3,739 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

By Lukas F

Aug 28, 2019

Often feels a bit too superficial and basic

By Abdihamid M M

Jan 8, 2021

this course isn't for me.

thank you

By Ivy T

Jul 30, 2020

Looks a bit outdated. A bit boring

By Jordan

May 31, 2019

Could use a few updated changes.

By Lulu

Feb 11, 2016

lecturer could be more personal

By Dixit U

Nov 17, 2020

avarage course not preferable.

By Dean C

Oct 22, 2017

Good but very beginner level.

By Natalia K

Dec 29, 2015

It is good for beginners only

By Remington C

Dec 7, 2015

Bit too simple for my liking.

By Ieva

Oct 3, 2020

the lessons were very basic

By Semih S

Dec 28, 2020

For 4 week course its ok.

By Kenneth D D

Jul 26, 2020

Only very basic concepts.

By Afia T 2

Aug 31, 2020

A enjoyable course😃

By German G S

May 8, 2020

Pretty Interesting

By Muhammad F K

Jun 26, 2020

Good. not deep.

By Dongqi L

May 30, 2019

too fundamental

By radhvi k

Jun 24, 2019

simply.. Wow.!

By Geffania G G

Jul 30, 2020

It was Good.

By Nusanta S A

Sep 28, 2020


By Silvana L A C

Jun 14, 2020


By Richard L

Aug 5, 2020

The course itself was very good. I studied for many more hours than the recommended times and I learned a lot. I read books about Bauhaus, color, and typography. I watched a film about Bauhaus and did an online course by Pantone about color perception. The thing that lets the course down is the peer reviews, which are mostly useless. I've tried hard to write thoughtful reviews and I've done more than the minimum number for every assignment. In return I've received reviews like "ok" and "good". These people are just taking the mickey and CalArts and Coursera are responsible by neglect. It would be easy to automatically check for a minimum number of words in reviews. I notice that Gail Swanlund gives guidance about how to review in the Imagemaking course, but shouldn't this be in the first course so people know how to review? There ought to be a way to report these non-reviews and the people should be stripped of their course marks.

By Lisa T

Mar 7, 2016

This course does go over some of the basics of graphic design, but I expected it to be a lot more rigorous. The assignments are incredibly simple, and I think that there should be no optional assignments in the class. The reason I'm taking this class is because I have a hard time motivating myself to learn on my own, so I need something that will really push me. I only spent about an hour a week completing this course, and I believe that you can't learn something by only spending an hour a week on it. Also what's the point of having mentors if they don't engage with you? I know I could have contacted them if I had a question, but I didn't because it was so easy. I wouldn't mind getting feedback from a professional graphic designer though if they're available. Also seeing how many students misinterpret the assignments, it makes me nervous that they are the ones grading mine.

By Olivia W

Aug 30, 2020

Like some other reviewers said this is more of an art course than graphic design, at least from my perspective. You wont be learning how to use photoshop or anything adobe for that matter. So, for your assignments I recommend using something free, such as Canva, if you don't already pay for adobe. I hope that they upload more courses on adobe and have assignments such as making a business card or a flyer.

By Teresa S

Aug 28, 2021

At one tine a enjoyed this class and now I don't. I Have been treated unfairly for the last couple months to turn in one assignment so I can complete this coursed. Every time I turned in assignment you always finds something wrong. Is this how Coursera teach and grade their student.

By Sarah F

Feb 3, 2016

"Let's try and draw a very basic, simple apple." I had to stop watching this course there. Sorry, but this is less than "fundamentals". I'm trying a new course on graphic design now...