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

4.8
stars
13,636 ratings
3,515 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

FS
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.

GA
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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51 - 75 of 3,477 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

By Sherif M

Feb 9, 2020

This is one of the best courses you can take if you want to get started as a graphic designer. I've been working as a graphic designer for many years but I had only learned the technicalities and software, never the principles or foundations and only worked with my sense and feeling for them. This course basically solved my problem as it's focus is exactly that: the foundations and principles of graphic design. The main components of image, design terminology, approaching design, experimenting and exploring the different aspects of design. I honestly though this course would be too simple but despite being about the fundamentals it provides some of the most essential knowledge you can have as a designer and it does it in a clear, non-complicated way (Thanks to Mr. Worthington's calm and clear approach). I am glad I signed up for it!

By Nikki S

Feb 9, 2021

This was a helpful course for breaking graphic design down to the basic building blocks of the art. It will give you some simple concepts and principles to keep in mind as you create graphic design. You will get a high-level overview of basic image-making, typography, and contrast/hierarchy within your design elements. I was looking for a true 101 graphic design program that would cover the most basic concepts, and this delivered. I feel prepared to move on and take a deeper dive into each of the topics covered so that I can grow my skill set. The only suggestion I would offer is to make the final optional project a required one. That project requires you to take everything you've learned and use it in a final design project. It seems odd that this isn't the final required project.

By Evgeniya S

Jul 21, 2017

The course is basically the reason I decided to sign up to Coursera in the first place. It gives a good introduction into graphic design. Instead of focusing on projects and tutorials on how to use design programs like inDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop - the course gives a good theoretical background into graphic design than no other courses offer online. You will be encouraged to use various media to create your artwork, instead of going through a boring video which expects you to copy whatever the person on the screen is doing while learning nothing about the process. I really enjoyed this and recommend it to anyone who can handle the applications on their own, and needs a good theory and background into design, creation process and similar ideas.

By Michele

Jun 26, 2016

Very rewarding, with easy to understand but comprehensive lectures and optional exercises that can be done with each sub-section of the lecture. These exercises were interesting, relevant and challenging. It was also educational to do the peer reviews and see how other students approached the assignments.

The instructions for assignments perhaps could be broken into bullet points, as sometimes they were perhaps not fully understood on the optional exercises. Some guidelines to help give more substantial or constructive feedback (beyond "This met the assignment criteria" or "I liked #3") could be helpful.

I'm very glad I did this course, and I was thoroughly engrossed in the exercises. It was sad when the course ended. :-)

By Alessandra O

Dec 1, 2016

The course responded very well to my expectations. It outlines and analyze all the elements and strongly prompts you to think about design making and to ponder each component of it. And it makes you work!! I learned a lot, technically, by myself, having to submit assignments. Looking at the materials I made, I almost cannot believe I did it by myself. The only thing: I wish I had more time to work on it and, perhaps, if the students knew since the very beginning they will finally make use of each assignment to create a very final one, they would probably consider this when choosing objects, styles, techniques. But maybe this is stated since the beginning and I did not realize that. Anyway, absolutely worthy.

By Fernando H

May 11, 2018

Excelente course! I graduated in Advertising and Audiovisual, but I'm algo a motion graphics designer freelancer. This course was an inspitation for me. And due to my schedule, it was very accessible and convinient at this point in my life. I've tried other courses online, but in this one I felt I could actually put the exercises in practice and learn by doing as the design area suggests. Another thing I found interesting was the variety of people, skills, tecniques, knowledge I got in touch. This plattaform is very democratic and for this area this is very very interesting. I'm satisfied and I plan to continue on the next modules. The course deliver everything it says. Thanks you, CalArts.

By Tarang S

Apr 25, 2016

The course is simply amazing. Prepare to do a lot of hands on work, and use your creativity. The instructor gives hands on work that is really fun to do, and you end up with the knowledge and the skills to actually make a good poster, especially if you do the bonus assignments, which are really nice.

I must note, though, that it is very useful to know how to use computer programs to arrange files and text. I used Adobe Illustrator (like the instructor) and Pages, but basic knowledge of Microsoft Powerpoint or similar is enough, as you will scan hand-drawn pictures and put them in, arrange them, then export them as PDFs. Considering you are on this website, I'd say you are ready! Start ASAP!

By Kadri A

Feb 8, 2016

Loving this course! It has a really nice pace. I always prefer shorter videos cause then I can divide the week up and not have to find hours to do it all at the same time. Also it is easier to think along (I am doing it as an after work extra activity). Probably a lot of things are basics but this was exactly what I was looking for. Also the system of mandatory and optional tasks is really nice cause people can choose how deep they want to go. I have skipped optional things cause I do not want to design myself, more work better together with the designers but I might change my mind during the next course cause I am definitely taking the hole spezialisation!

By Sakshi Y

Aug 20, 2020

Really loved the course and learned a lot. I am a beginner and after enrolling into this course, I gained so much knowledge about graphic designing. The course content is easy to understand and it prompt us to complete the assignments which I think is really helpful. We can apply and implement our ideas and knowledge on these assignments and make design in our own way. The best way to learn graphic design is to make graphic design. Reviewing peers work and getting peers feedback in return was also an amazing thing in this course. I enjoyed learning and really excited about the other courses in graphic design specialization I am enrolled in.

By Marli M

Mar 3, 2017

Very well organized course, with interesting topics and assignments. I took it as a free course and was very grateful for all the good information and practice was available. Many of the other students were very talented and it was fun to see their work during Peer Review. The 2 only criticisms are that (1) I wish they had recommended good, free software for completing the assignments. I ended up doing the 2 required assignments in an outdated version of MSWord, but managed to make that work, though it was time consuming. And (2), I never figured out how to request reviews of my work except as a "reply" to another post.

By Joe W

Jan 7, 2016

I really liked this short course. Having not been exposed to any kind of arts classes before (not since elementary school anyway), I felt this instructor explained things in a way (and used examples as he explained) that I could understand. It got me to appreciate just how much you can do just by changing simple things like typeface and size. This class got me doing stuff that I hadn't done in a long time, like painting with water colors. It was not a complicated or challenging class, but it was a very good introduction, which is what I think it was intended to be. It was approachable and it inspires further exploration.

By Цибульняк К

Jun 10, 2016

I'm fully satisfied with all course.

I was able to systematize all existing knowledge about graphic design and also fill some "holes" in basics of creating graphics, especially I'm very gratefull for lesson about typography (it has always been my Achilles' heel :) ).

All assigments are very interesting, I got a lot of fun considering what I will do for each of them and also enjoyed whole process then.

This course is highly recomended for all, who wants to start in graphic design industry and for those, who already experienced in it, but also needs to put in order existing experience in appropriate form.

Thank you!

By Nicolle U

Feb 2, 2020

I loved the content. I loved that you get a lot of relevant info packed in short videos, the content doesn't make you feel overwhelmed. If you are an artist or designer sometimes you can feel like you "already know" some of the things your watching, I like to think that it is important not to skip the content, sometimes it can help you refresh some of the knowledge you have.

IMPORTANT: This is NOT a course to learn how to use any design program ( Illustrator, In design, Photoshop etc), they explain that at the beginning. This is a course to help you understand the essence of design and its creative process.

By Arestides P

Jun 6, 2020

Calarts Faculty, School of Art - Program in Graphic Design, Michael Worthington teach you the fundamentals of graphic design the theoretical side of it. He dissects the parts in easy to understand manner. The project assignment keeps you busy and of course the best way to learn is to get your ideas flowing and create something within the perspective of graphics design. I definitely recommend this course if you want to understand graphic design. By the way the instructors of this Graphic Specialization Course is all professional faculty member with years of experience both academe and corporate.

By Selin S

Nov 3, 2020

This course has been a starting point for me to understand how the design processes. I learnt about the usage of tools and creating an image for a given theme. There are no limits when it comes to creativity. The video lessons are not that long but helpful. There are mini quizzes at the end of each sections and for those who want to learn more further readings are available. The assignments felt real because if I would got to a studio to learn the basics of design I'd recieve many reviews on my work. Here in coursera it is also possible to have that community and people are really helpful.

By José R H

May 31, 2019

The course and the professor are excellent! If you are a beginner, like me; there is no better place to start your journey. My only gripe is the student reviews. Sometimes the commentaries are thoughtful and help you, and others, just a waste of time. The same goes for the works I reviewed. Some students put time and effort to complete an assignment, and others, they just put anything down to get it out of the way. The same as in life, I guess. You'll get out of this class as much as the effort you put in. Once again, the course and professor are outstanding! Many thanks to Cal Arts!

By Silvia A C

Jun 24, 2021

I really liked it! Even though the course has very basic topics about graphic design, I think it's a great option for beginners or designers that want to refresh their essentials. As designers, we have to remember that these basic concepts are the basis for more complex and structured creations, we all need to know them and learn how to correctly master them. I recommend it if you would like to start learning about the fundamentals, or if you're like me: a designer that wants to specialize and switch careers (I'm a fashion designer). Thank you CalArts, Coursera, and Mr. Worthington!

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 Suzanne A V

Nov 8, 2020

This course is a perfect beginner's course about graphic design. It tackled and explained the basics in the simplest manner. It also provided exercises that made me understand the theories more. The videos and audio and visual aids are very clear, as well as the sample outputs. This course has definitely encouraged me to look closely on the fundamentals on graphic design, how they work as a single unit and how they can go together to make a pleasing and informative piece. My gratitude to Coursera, CalArts and Michael Worthington, the instructor, for this course.

By Jennifer M C

Feb 15, 2016

The course was very cool. If you have already studied anything design-related, the content might be too basic and might look boarded in a rather shallow way. However, if you are new to the topic, I think the course is the perfect introduction to how the design process works and also, to the specialization (if you are interested in that). Additionally, the assignments offer a great chance to practice every concept reviewed in the videos, so that even a person who knows those things, but is a little rusty on the whole practice side, might benefit from the course.

By matthew

Jan 8, 2019

This is a really beneficial course to wrap your head around terminology. While some may be review or feel like "yeah, duh" ideas in terms of the uses of contrast and space, for any novices or amateurs looking to better their skills, or anybody exploring graphic design from its roots, it's a necessary jumping off point. The only thing I'd add is a module on software, both to explain what software is being used for the demo, and what options are out there for beginners, including open source software, to make the course as affordable and accessible as possible.

By Sambhavi B

May 21, 2021

What an amazing course! I've done many others related to Design, Typography, Illustration and this was by far the best. I learned so much and the assignment and optional briefs were incredibly helpful to really assimilate the theory. Michaels explanations were very clear and his approach is very beginner friendly and encouraging, he gets you making and learning with ease. The structure of the course is organised, systematic and gradually builds upon itself. The assignments are interrelated so you really feel you're growing. Thanks for creating this course!

By João C

May 28, 2019

Initially thanks to Coursera, CalArts and Professor Michael Worthington for the partnership. The course is excellent, are initial foundations that open the vision for the universe of graphic design. I believe this is a fundamental step towards building a good designer. I recommend.

Pt-Br

Inicialmente obrigado ao Coursera, CalArts e professor Michael Worthington pela parceria. O curso é excelente, são fundamentos iniciais que abrem a visão para o universo do design gráfico. Acredito que essa é etapa fundamental para a construção de um bom designer. Recomendo.

By Maureen O

Oct 2, 2019

Fundamentals of Graphic design was such a good heads start for me in design. I started designing 2 years ago but little did i know i was doing it the wrong way all the while. Taking this course, I've been exposed to right design thinking and the basics of design. The exercises, peer graded assignments and quizzes have all played major roles in fine tuning my design basic knowledge. I look forward to taking subsequent courses in the specialization as this has triggered my zeal to horn my creative abilities. Great teachers! Great team!

Thank you!

By Jay M

Jul 28, 2020

I have greatly enjoyed learning from our teacher Michael Worthington who has a very simple yet succinct way of explaining the fundamentals of graphic designing that I felt I already knew about and oh boy was I wrong! I had been a painting student and though Bauhaus did apply the same fundamentals on all craetive strains yet the Graphic play viz-a-vis painting still felt somehow different. And it felt like fun. I loved every single minute of it. Looking forward to doing a few assignments left in week 4.

Thank you Coursera and Thank you CalArts :)