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

11,443 ratings
2,923 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


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


Jul 14, 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.

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2451 - 2475 of 2,884 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

By Bethany F

May 04, 2020

I enjoyed the course and content. I think it was split up into decent sized and manageable sections and full of lots of useful information which was presented well. I liked doing the assignments, I just wish more people would give more feedback as several reviewers only give one word replies.

By Frederik W

Jul 23, 2020

Hat Spaß gemacht und man hat noch einiges gelernt. Setzt allerdings auch wirklich bei den basics an also vieles erscheint einem auch selbstverständlich. Trotzdem hat man nochmal neue Einblicke bekommen. Besonders der Typografie Teil at mir der viel Freude bereitet, was ich nie gedacht hätte.

By Ashley R

Apr 24, 2018

I enjoyed the videos, the teacher was very clear and specific, yet offered great insights and flexibility. This course really gets your mind working and looking at things in different ways. My only complaint is that I thought this would be more geared towards using computer applications.

By Leon B

Feb 26, 2019

The course gives a good introduction to graphic design. My only concern is that the only reviews are peer reviews, but given the scale and cost this in completely understandable.

I definitely recommend this course for anyone with an interest in design who has not had any previous training.

By James H

Mar 04, 2018

Engaging, well structured course content. Appropriate/accurate work load estimates. Instructive assignments which isolate and combine concepts in ways that really help them stick. (Peer assessment is a bit hit and miss but that is just the nature of things and not the fault of the course)

By Cindy L

Mar 10, 2016

The materials and knowledge of the fundamentals from this course are helpful. However, the assignments and peer grading threw me off. I did not like the fact that your grade depended on students' review of your assignments. It is all subjective. Good course materials, poor grading system.

By Sylva M

Jun 17, 2020

This course covers a lot of the basics of graphic design and encourages practice. I definitely learned a lot and was able to apply my skills in the assignments. One slight drawback is that the lectures are a bit boring and seem to drag on. Other than that, I enjoyed this course!

By Ryan H

Jul 02, 2018

The course content is quite good. The feedback I'm getting from peers is not great. It's mostly stuff like "good job" or "Nice work." It's pretty much all very short sentences and nothing useful. You can read it in your system to see it yourself. I've taken a star off for this.

By Pavan R

Oct 12, 2018

I felt that this course has strong fundamental knowledge, although a little short. It gets the job done when the aim is to let people know about the general fundamentals of graphic design. Overall, I recommend this if one doesn't know how to get their creative juices flowing.

By Vincent P

Sep 27, 2020

Overall this is a great intro class. The content was engaging and thoughtful, and the assignments were fun.

The peer review process is quite frustrating, with one word critiques or copy and pasted responses with unrelated content. This portion of the class was not helpful.

By Pinkie

Mar 08, 2016

Clear teaching line and complete content makes it a wonderful choice for starters who are interested in graphic design. However, as the name of the course indicates, it is not an advanced tutorial for those who wants to enhance their design skills in a more specific area.

By Parul N

Nov 26, 2018

I have learned a lot during these four weeks. I have been able to understand the use of graphic design and how I can develop my skill further. I think if we could get in touch with the instructors as well for doubts as well as our assignments , we can learn a lot more.

By Jennifer C

Oct 26, 2017

Great course but I find the instructions for the homework a bit confusing and there could have been more examples like in intro to image making. However, I think it's essential and even though it was boring causing me to not try hard I think I had to learn this content.

By Liliana E

Sep 02, 2019

It was really fun and challenging making this course. I love graphic design but my experience is very little so I've learned a lot. The downside is that none of the assignments are reviewed by a teacher, we only get feedback from our peers and some aren't very helpful.

By K N K

Apr 02, 2018

Course was great but felt the quality of sound and visuals should be improved. As Coursera is a professional platform, the videos are not that much fair to look at. and the sound, theres a lot of noise in the background which is a disturbance for some viewers.

Thank you

By Sara M

Jul 25, 2020

So this course me many basics about graphic design.Over all it was great one.But only one problem is that the instructors didn't show the software use here,I had to toil with the assignments because of that if software use is taught here then it could be 10/10 course

By Lucy S

Mar 03, 2016

Information was very good and presented in a clear and intriguing manner. I do wish the professors or someone could give some oversight. Some students were nice, but some were very nasty to each other. Ironically, the people with the worst work were the nastiest.

By sarakshi c

Feb 08, 2016

Course is pretty good as a starting point. Makes you start thinking on different lines and gives a good introduction about the various aspects involved. Getting reviews from other students also helped a lot.

So overall, i quite enjoyed the course. Thumbs Up!! :)

By Minaketan O

Jul 05, 2020

I really loved this course. As someone who knows the know-how from the practical side, I really wanted to enrich my theory skills. This has been a great course and everything has been so helpful and simple. I recommend anyone looking to start design theory.

By Sue D

Jan 23, 2016

Really good course. I would have given it 5 stars but it could use a little improvement. Too many optional assignments perhaps. They should have been required. The class just didn't engage you enough. That being said I've signed up for the next ones.

By Christine

Jun 13, 2016

Excellent introduction to graphic design. The instructor is engaging and interesting and the topics are broken down into easy to understand segments with excellent examples. Assignments are interesting and really helped me work with the different topics.

By Hari G

Feb 13, 2019

I wish the examples and the projects were a bit more fun/engaging. I understand that this was a fundamentals course, but I found it a little dry. Some of the examples were also "ok." Did not really inspire me to create as much as I would have liked.

By Sarah K

Apr 21, 2020

It was a very useful course that made me think about letters, configurations and pictures with a different perspective from what I was thinking previously ... made me discover new things and train more. It opened the way for me to be more creative.

By Hari H S R

Aug 05, 2019

This course is arguably the best starter for getting started with communication design as a practice. It was an insightful and productive experience. I would recommend Fundamentals of Graphic Design to anyone with aspiration for design in general.

By Curbita

Sep 17, 2016

I didn't really liked the course of the first week but than I really came to enjoy a lot the course about pattern and forms in particular which was a completely new way of thinking how to create for me, very interesting and full of possibilities.