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Online Course

Graphic Design

University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera

  • Provider Coursera
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session In progress
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Duration 4 weeks long
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Taken this course? Share your experience with other students. Write review


Welcome to Graphic Design, the second course in the Effective Communications Specialization. Over 70 different companies have provided this specialization to their employees as a resource for internal professional development. Why? Because employers know that effective visual communication is the key to attracting an audience, building a relationship, and closing the sale.

This practical course gives you the tools to create professional looking Powerpoints, reports, resumes, and presentations.. Using a set of best practices refined through years of experience, you’ll:

• make your work look fresh and inspired.
• apply simple design “tricks” to begin any project with confidence and professionalism.
• receive and respond to criticism and revise your project from good to great.

"This course is fantastic. It teaches a great amount of starter graphic design information but it is broken down into easily understood videos and quizzes. The quality was top notch and the interaction was as good as you would get in a brick and mortar school. I did not feel like I was missing anything by taking it online." - a recent Graphic Design student

All of the course assignments can be completed with basic presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Apple Keynote. You’ll also have opportunities to explore and apply more sophisticated tools, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.


Module 1: Getting Started
-This module introduces you to the importance of recognizing good design as the starting place for creating professional, attractive work of your own.

We will look to the ubiquitous world of graphic design to establish a vocabulary of successful design and to find inspiration for our own projects.

We will also discuss course prerequisites and review a basic digital design glossary that will help you navigate your chosen application.

Module 2: The Blank Canvas
-This module will look at the blank canvas – the untouched rectangle that will become our design project. We’ll discuss the importance of working with a grid, understanding negative space, and using appropriate margins. This module will also explore the palette of elements which, when chosen and used wisely, ensure that the finished design project is successful. We’ll cover type, color, images, and graphic elements such as borders, bars, and backgrounds.

Module 3: Tricks of the Trade
-It's time to start designing! In this module, we'll discuss the process of composition. We'll use the palette items covered in Module 2, and deploy common visual design “tricks” such as contrast, repetition, sublimation, tension, and more. To help see both the effect and the universality of these design approaches, we'll look at design examples from art history, film, and current media. We’ll also cover the strategy of composition. We'll see that providing an obvious target, maintaining a natural visual flow, and prioritizing information are all critical to clear visual communication.

Module 4: Revision and Distance
-As we've said before, designers don't work in a vacuum. Our work will be judged by others, and, as good designers, we will learn to take that judgement constructively and in stride. In this module we’ll talk about what it means to be confident, yet open to criticism. We’ll explore the importance of revision as an ongoing component of design, as well as the need to enlist feedback and maintain distance in assessing our own work.

Taught by

David Underwood

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Reviews for Coursera's Graphic Design Based on 4 reviews

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  • 1
Lucas M
Lucas completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
I was looking for a Graphic Design course and I was undecided between this one and "Fundamentals of Graphic Design" from CalArts.. so I took both!

Hopefully this review will help others decide which one to take, or maybe even take both, too!

This course is quite easy to follow, the lectures are a bit more entertaining and the way they approach design is super pragmatic and to-the-point. You get access to many rules of thumb that will help you gain direction.

Despite overlapping a bit, the CalArts course is a bit drier and more theoretical. It does provide unique value specially in the final week.

Overall, though, I'd say that if you had to pick just one course my recommendation is to pick this one. I would say that taking both is ideal. However, anyone taking either course is gonna have the basics covered well enough that they should be able to start designing some good stuff afterwards!
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Taneisha M
by Taneisha completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
it was good information and advise for persons interested in graphic design, teaches you principles of the art and tips for the trade and how to make you work better and know when it is done
1 person found
this review helpful
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Fabienne B
by Fabienne completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Un cours d'introduction au design graphique, riche et agréable à suivre. Le cours est bien construit, une liste de "bonnes pratiques" est fournie. Le tout étant motivé par l'expérience de l'enseignant.

Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Lanah B
Lanah completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • 1

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