About this Specialization
100% online courses

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible Schedule

Flexible Schedule

Set and maintain flexible deadlines.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Hours to complete

Approx. 6 months to complete

Suggested 3 hours/week
Available languages

English

Subtitles: English, Serbian...

What you will learn

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    Communicate through image-making and typography

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    Complete a capstone project to add to your professional portfolio

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    Gain the fundamental skills needed to be a graphic designer

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    Learn everything you need to know to work in interface design, motion graphics, and editorial design.

Skills you will gain

Art HistoryHistoryGraphicsGraphic Design
100% online courses

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible Schedule

Flexible Schedule

Set and maintain flexible deadlines.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Hours to complete

Approx. 6 months to complete

Suggested 3 hours/week
Available languages

English

Subtitles: English, Serbian...

How the Specialization Works

Take Courses

A Coursera Specialization is a series of courses that helps you master a skill. To begin, enroll in the Specialization directly, or review its courses and choose the one you'd like to start with. When you subscribe to a course that is part of a Specialization, you’re automatically subscribed to the full Specialization. It’s okay to complete just one course — you can pause your learning or end your subscription at any time. Visit your learner dashboard to track your course enrollments and your progress.

Hands-on Project

Every Specialization includes a hands-on project. You'll need to successfully finish the project(s) to complete the Specialization and earn your certificate. If the Specialization includes a separate course for the hands-on project, you'll need to finish each of the other courses before you can start it.

Earn a Certificate

When you finish every course and complete the hands-on project, you'll earn a Certificate that you can share with prospective employers and your professional network.

how it works

There are 5 Courses in this Specialization

Course1

Fundamentals of Graphic Design

4.8
4,933 ratings
1,233 reviews
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....
Course2

Introduction to Typography

4.8
2,150 ratings
448 reviews
Typography is the art of manipulating the visual form of language to enrich and control its meaning. It’s an essential area of skill and knowledge for graphic designers. Typography predates modern graphic design by around 500 years; it is rich in rules, conventions, and esoteric terminology—but it remains an exciting space for invention and expression. In this rigorous introductory course, we will study, name, and measure the characteristics of letterforms. We’ll consider the pragmatic concerns involved in selecting and combining type. We’ll peek into the 
rich historical, cultural, and aesthetic histories of familiar typefaces. We’ll discuss time-tested conventions and best practices in setting type, as governed by principles of hierarchy and spatial organization. And we’ll explore the expressive, meaning-making potential of type. Informative lectures will be complemented by a series of three peer-assessed assignments, culminating 
in an opportunity to design a full-scale typographic poster. Please note that this is not a software course; a basic working knowledge of Adobe InDesign or other 
page layout software will be assumed. You will need access to a computer and page layout software, such as InDesign, to complete the assignments....
Course3

Introduction to Imagemaking

4.5
1,144 ratings
236 reviews
This course for serious makers, and for students new to imagemaking. Imagemaking is a fluid and exciting area of graphic design that comes out of practice and process: experimenting fearlessly, showing and sharing ideas, and giving and receiving knowledgeable and constructive input. For the sake of this online platform, we have applied some structure to our investigations, but for the most part imagemaking is loose and unstructured. If we must adopt a rule in this course it is only this: you will not become a graphic designer by watching videos alone. Or, don't just make stuff just in your head. So here, the focus here is on making, and you are expected to devote serious time and intellectual energy to that activity in this course. Specifically, you will: - experiment with a range of materials and techniques to make images for graphic design - expand your visual vocabulary both in terms of making and talking about work, in order to discuss your work and work of others - learn how to make, manipulate and arrange images to create compositions, eventually culminating in the design and production of an-image-based book. The first half of the course is an opportunity to experiment and explore imagemaking in order to expand your visual vocabulary. You will create pieces that are expressive, meditative, or 'design-y' to instigate, evoke, experiment, record, explain, or try out a media. In the second two weeks, we’ll invite the images to deliberately and intentionally carry meaning and communication through relational moves like juxtaposition, composition, and context. We’ll look at developing and expanding the range of approaches for putting things together by composing page spreads with your images. Since nothing exists without context, we look at how to intentionally drive the image’s connotations, meanings, and associations generated through elements of composition and “visual contrasts.” Ultimately, we will take the images that you create and make a book from them. The results of your assignments (and experiments) may generate something completely unknowable now or in the future—and that's the goal....
Course4

Ideas from the History of Graphic Design

4.6
926 ratings
194 reviews
This condensed survey course focuses on four key periods or themes from the history of design. 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. 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....

Instructors

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Michael Worthington

Faculty, Program in Graphic Design
School of Art
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Louise Sandhaus

Faculty, Program in Graphic Design
School of Art
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Anther Kiley

Faculty, Program in Graphic Design
School of Art
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Gail Swanlund

Faculty in Graphic Design
School of Art
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Lorraine Wild

Faculty, Program in Graphic Design
School of Art

About 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. ...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes! To get started, click the course card that interests you and enroll. You can enroll and complete the course to earn a shareable certificate, or you can audit it to view the course materials for free. When you subscribe to a course that is part of a Specialization, you’re automatically subscribed to the full Specialization. Visit your learner dashboard to track your progress.

  • This course is completely online, so there’s no need to show up to a classroom in person. You can access your lectures, readings and assignments anytime and anywhere via the web or your mobile device.

  • This Specialization doesn't carry university credit, but some universities may choose to accept Specialization Certificates for credit. Check with your institution to learn more.

  • To complete the assignments in most of the courses in this Specialization you will need access to a computer. It's the tool where most graphic design ends up in one way or another. Access to, and a beginner's level knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite programs, such as In Design, Illustrator or Photoshop will be needed to complete some assignments. For some courses you will also need some art materials as well.

    Specific information on tools and materials are outlined in the first week of each course.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.