Fundamentals of Graphic Design

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Description

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About this 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…

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this 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, 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; have 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.

Created by:  California Institute of the Arts
  • Taught by:  Michael Worthington, Faculty, Program in Graphic Design

    School of Art
Basic Info Course 1 of 5 in the Graphic Design Specialization Commitment 4 weeks of study, 5-8 hours/week Language English How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.7 stars Average User Rating 4.7See what learners said Coursework

Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.

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California Institute of the Arts CalArts has earned an international reputation as the leading college of the visual and performing arts in the United States. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Week 1: Fundamentals of Imagemaking



This week we are going to look at how images function in terms of conveying denotative and connotative messages, I'll show you a range of analog and digital imagemaking techniques and discuss how they work. In the first peer review assignment you'll create your own series of images, experimenting with formal techniques. Later, you'll have the opportunity to rework those images to enhance their ability to communicate an idea through connotation in an optional assignment: give it a try, it'll help you develop your communication skills as well as your formal skills!


13 videos, 4 readings expand


  1. Video: Course Welcome
  2. Reading: Why study graphic design?
  3. Reading: About this course
  4. Reading: About the assignments
  5. Reading: Course Tools
  6. Video: Introduction to Imagemaking
  7. Video: Denotative Imagemaking 1
  8. Video: Denotative Imagemaking 2
  9. Video: Techniques of Imagemaking 1
  10. Video: Techniques of Imagemaking 2
  11. Video: Techniques of Imagemaking 3
  12. Video: Process, Generation, Iteration
  13. Video: Imagemaking Demo 1: Printing with an Object
  14. Video: Imagemaking Demo 2: Duct Tape Prints
  15. Video: Imagemaking Demo 3: Improvised "Light Table"
  16. Video: Connotative Imagemaking 1
  17. Video: Connotative Imagemaking 2
  18. Peer Review: Brief 1.2: Making Images, Making Meaning (Optional)

Graded: Brief 1.1: Explorations in Imagemaking (Required)

WEEK 2


Week 2: Fundamentals of Typography



This week we are going to look at typographic terminology and the basic rules for creating typography. I'll show you a range of tips and techniques for working with type, in both a functional and expressive manner, and you'll find out about the process involved in making and controlling typography. This week you'll complete a quiz to make sure you understand the language of typography–this is required. I also highly recommend you complete the two optional peer review assignments. In the first assignment you'll create your own typographic monogram, and you'll use that as a central element in designing a typographic business card in the second assignment. Give them a try, they are the place where you can demonstrate and apply your formal skills, and the place where you get to play with type!


12 videos expand


  1. Video: Introduction to Typography
  2. Video: The Anatomy of Letters
  3. Video: Words and Spacing
  4. Video: Type Size: The Point System
  5. Video: Typesetting Text
  6. Video: Typefaces, Fonts and Type Families
  7. Video: Typeface Categories
  8. Video: Denotation in Type
  9. Video: Connotation in Type
  10. Peer Review: Brief 2.1: The Character of Characters (Optional)
  11. Video: Looking at Letterforms
  12. Video: Experimenting with Letterforms
  13. Video: Typographic Composition
  14. Peer Review: Brief 2.2: Make a Monogram, Make a Business Card (Optional)

Graded: Typography

WEEK 3


Week 3: Fundamentals of Shape and Color



This week we are going to look at how designers work with shape and color as their fundamental building blocks. You'll learn about visual contrast, color, rhythm and pattern in design. I'll be showing you the process involved in making an abstract design from shapes, and how to use that element to create a repeating pattern design. You'll be completing a quiz (required!) to make sure you understand how visual contrast and color work, and I also highly recommend you complete the two optional peer review assignments. In the first assignment you'll create your own simple and complex design motifs, and you'll use them as the central elements in designing a repeating pattern in the second assignment. The assignments are optional, but they are the place where you get to demonstrate and apply your formal skills, so well worth taking the extra time to complete!


10 videos expand


  1. Video: Introduction to Shape & Color
  2. Video: Graphic Shapes
  3. Video: Visual Contrast
  4. Video: Marks, Icons, and Symbols
  5. Video: Negative/Positive, Figure/Ground
  6. Video: Working with Color
  7. Video: The Color Wheel
  8. Peer Review: Brief 3.1: Negative/Positive, Complimentary/Contrasting (Optional)
  9. Video: Mixing Color: Paint, Print and Screen
  10. Video: Rhythm and Pattern 1
  11. Video: Rhythm and Pattern 2
  12. Peer Review: Brief 3.2: Repeating Pattern (Optional)

Graded: Shape and Color

WEEK 4


Week 4: Fundamentals of Composition



This week we are going to look at how designers work with visual contrasts, cropping, hierarchy and direction in single images and complex compositions. You'll find out how to control and use scale, weight, direction, texture, and space in a composition, and how to compose work that ranges from the complex to the minimal. In the first peer review assignment you'll create your own abstract compositions that demonstrate your knowledge and control of visual contrast. In the final optional assignment, you can use all your skills from the entire course to create experimental compositions in the form of a poster for a mythical band. This last project is optional, but I strongly suggest you try it out, it'll let you grow and apply your design knowledge and really enjoy and express yourself in your design work!


11 videos, 6 readings expand


  1. Video: Introduction to Composition
  2. Video: Principles of Composition
  3. Video: Visual Contrasts
  4. Video: Single Contrasts
  5. Video: Multiple Contrasts
  6. Video: Type Contrasts
  7. Video: Image Contrasts
  8. Peer Review: Brief 4.2: Double and Triple Contrasts (Optional)
  9. Video: Composition in a Single Image
  10. Video: Cropping and Hierarchy
  11. Video: Composition in Context
  12. Peer Review: Brief 4.3: Applied Fundamentals (Optional)
  13. Video: Conclusion
  14. Reading: What's next?
  15. Reading: About this section
  16. Reading: Choosing a design program
  17. Reading: Building your portfolio
  18. Reading: Design portfolio tips
  19. Reading: Writing your artist statement

Graded: Brief 4.1: Single Contrasts (Required)
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