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

6,364 ratings
1,529 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 1,486 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

By Alexandra M

Nov 27, 2015

Good useful fundamental course content

By Juachi O

Aug 03, 2017

I have an Architecture background and have done Graphic Design work on the side. It was nice to properly learn about the concepts I use intuitively and learn to apply them intentionally.

This is a really well paced program and I enjoyed the assignments as well.

By Erhan D

Feb 14, 2016

If you want to be designer, get your hands dirty on the job! I really liked this course. It really showed a new perspective for making designs and I have learned new terms and concepts during the course. I would like to continue different graphic design courses in following days in Coursera. Really appreciated it. Thanks for all :)

By Abdulaziz

Mar 07, 2016

great design course for beginners

By David U

Mar 07, 2016

I had a great time doing this course. Professor Worthington covers the theory in an interesting and useful way. The lectures are short and sweet. The best part of the course is the 9 creative assignments (2 compulsory and 7 optional, but recommended) that really force you to expand your technical skill set and get out of your comfort zone.

By Natalia S N

Oct 01, 2016

Great course. I took this first course without an interest in the specialization, but now... I want to finish all four courses!

By Tigran G

Oct 19, 2017

Realy cool

By Monica M d V

Dec 17, 2015

This is a wonderful wonderful course... The tasks are perfectly designed to make you learn and understand... Every single video lesson is fun and engaging! I definitely recommend it to any one who is no familiar with GD and is interested in learning it!

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 Hsu, J

Apr 14, 2017

Good course. I can use these skills on my job.

By Wei-Ru L

Sep 05, 2016

Very great basic but detailed concepts for graphic design.

Easily understand. The exercise made me think through the whole idea of graphic design.

By Gerald T

Jul 19, 2017

Concise introduction to the basic building blocks of graphics design

By Bar S P

Oct 05, 2016

Very good course: The instructor, the method, the process for evaluation, everything was good, fun and interesting. Thanks for sharing it!

By Iuliia

Jan 21, 2017

Its very good course, has different kind of interesting tasks which force you discover your own creativity . I recommend it for every graphic design beginner

By Oscar H

Dec 23, 2017

Excellent course, very well designed and prepared contents, top level instructor, clear and easy to be followed.

By Masha M

May 24, 2018

Michael is such a brilliant teacher. He explains every detail in a concise and simple manner. This course is so valuable for me. Thank you!

By Valentina T

Feb 19, 2017

The course introduces a structured way for beginners to make images. It provides a disciplined schedule to produce images. I recommend the course to people who have dabbled in the subject and are interested in learning a more systematic approach.

By Courtney A

Mar 07, 2016

I learned a lot and it was an excellent test of my foundational Graphic Design knowledge.

By 邢益波

Feb 20, 2016


By Tania

Feb 25, 2016

A very complete course with many applied exercises. I recommend it.

By Thomasina I

Feb 17, 2016

This is a good course and you will learn to be creative and learn about things you haven't done before. I would suggest anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals to take this course

By Andrea F

Nov 14, 2017

Perfect amount of theory and practice!

By Natalia P

Oct 29, 2016

I love this course very much! Thank you!

By Karina K

Oct 26, 2016

Excellent course! This course is better than University classes in Brazil. I recommended it!

By Dirk J

Mar 11, 2017

Good stuff. I've got out of it what I've expected and some more.