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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Ideas from the History of Graphic Design by California Institute of the Arts

2,231 ratings
464 reviews

About the Course

This condensed survey course focuses on four key periods or themes from the history of design in the West. Together we’ll trace the emergence of design as a recognized practice, why things look the way they do, and how designers approached specific design problems in their work. Students will develop an understanding of where the wide variety of today’s design practice comes from. By participating in this survey of the works of innovative groups and individuals, we outline the process by which graphic design moved from a purely instrumental practice, to becoming a demanding creative and hybridized field. Each week, a short quiz will test your knowledge of concepts, and a short reflective assignment will give you the opportunity to analyze the questions designers ask themselves today. This is an essential course for emerging designers entering the field, or for students interested in learning more about visual culture and analysis. No previous experience is required. A note about this course: This course is taught from the perspective of contemporary design, to connect ideas that helped formulate design practice from the 1850s through the 1960s to the ways that designers think today. The relationship of words and pictures in graphic design is looked at through the ever-changing social and cultural contexts, technologies, aesthetics, and politics of their eras. The definition and practice of graphic design includes all public visual communications, which is a global practice. It was the evolution of mass production and communication in the West that specifically redefined graphic design as a professional practice and is this course’s particular narrative. We hope students will consider how to connect the themes and ideas offered in this course to your own culture....

Top reviews


Mar 21, 2022

I was a little bit nervous about this course, I always hated History in school, but surprisingly this was very good! I enjoyed it! The assignments were easy to understand and managebale to complete.


Nov 26, 2016

Its been a great course, many info and points that are fantastic in the learning or adding new knowledge always. I will always recommend this course for those who want to know more and learn design.

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426 - 450 of 465 Reviews for Ideas from the History of Graphic Design

By Julie C

May 17, 2021

Overall content was good but assignments often lacked clarity

By Olena T

Jun 29, 2017

The course is informative and develops analysis skills.

By Robert D

Feb 4, 2021

A good introduction to the history of graphic design

By Maria B

Sep 12, 2017

i would prefer more insight into the european design

By Abayomi B

Apr 7, 2017

This course is very informative and inspiring.

By Lakshya M

Jul 26, 2020

A really nice course course for a starter.

By 当英直

Oct 24, 2016

Clear pattern of graphic design history!

By Karen

Sep 21, 2016

Good start for learning History of GD.

By Jyothsna P

Jun 22, 2020

Nice course , a little boring though.

By Juan U G C

Feb 4, 2021

Good, but i feel it too superficial.

By Kafi N

Aug 25, 2021

Very informative course! Thank you

By Khan Z A

Aug 5, 2020

learned a lot from the course.

By Cameron S

Apr 11, 2017

Nice and informative

By Christine E

May 17, 2020

Very interesting!

By Glaide W

Oct 10, 2020

Good classes

By Alexandra K M

Mar 6, 2019

I't was good

By Peter R

Jan 3, 2017



Oct 4, 2017


By Charudatta J

Jun 26, 2020



Jun 14, 2020


By Battina D G

May 10, 2020


By Katie S

Sep 14, 2020

This course was great--really wish it was a bit longer and went through more information. While the course information was good, there is a problem with peer reviews in this course. I found obvious plagiarism and/or a complete misunderstanding of the assignment every week in my peers so something needs to happen with the assignments--in one week I flagged over 4 of my peers. Maybe instructors need to select various images not found online that the students review? Something at least...

By Samantha F

Apr 5, 2019

This course provided a solid foundation in graphic design - though limited to a Western history. Today it seems as though Bauhaus-influenced minimalism is an all-encompassing design approach. As a new designer, it would have been beneficial to understand alternative or reactionary approaches (maximalism is a new design buzzword, for example) and traditions from outside the USA/Western Europe schools of design - especially as these are difficult things to research independently.

By Sami L

Dec 6, 2016

The course being concentrated exclusively on the design ideas of United States, it's quite literally "some ideas from the history of graphic design". Some of the choices for the contents of the course were, from the continental point of view, rather odd, though that did not make them any less interesting. As a summary: the course was interesting enough to be passed through.

By Bhavna S

May 22, 2017

I found this course very interesting and intensive. There is so much history to understand, interpret and re-contextualise as a designer.