Fundamentals of Graphic Design Course Reviews

The course Fundamentals of Graphic Design on Coursera, authored by Michael Worthington, provides a comprehensive introduction to the principles and techniques of graphic design.

Fundamentals of Graphic Design Course Reviews
Fundamentals of Graphic Design Course Reviews

The course covers essential concepts and tools that are crucial for creating effective visual communication.

Throughout the course, students learn about the elements of design, such as color, typography, imagery, and composition. They gain an understanding of how these elements work together to convey meaning and create visual impact. The course emphasizes the importance of balance, hierarchy, and unity in design, teaching students how to effectively organize and structure their work.

Students also explore the role of graphic design in various contexts, including branding, advertising, and web design. They learn how to analyze target audiences and develop design solutions that effectively communicate with them. The course delves into the process of creating design briefs, conducting research, generating ideas, and refining concepts.

In addition, the course introduces students to design software tools and techniques. They learn how to use industry-standard software like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to bring their design concepts to life. The course provides practical exercises and assignments to help students apply their newfound knowledge and develop their design skills.

By the end of the course, students have a solid foundation in graphic design principles and techniques. They are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to create visually compelling and effective designs for various applications.

Course Content:

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.

The Fundamentals of Graphic Design course on Coursera, created by Michael Worthington, is divided into 4 weeks. Each week covers a specific aspect of graphic design and contains multiple lectures, quizzes, and assignments. Here is a breakdown of the course structure:

Week 1: 

Course Overview

4 videos (Total 12 min), 8 readings

4 videos

Course Welcome 3m

Why Peer Review? 1m

Peer Review Tips 4m

How to apply feedback 2m

8 readings

Why study graphic design? 6m

About this course 2m

About the assignments 2m

Course Tools 2m

Academic Integrity 2m

What is peer review? 5m

Forum Guidelines 5m

Requesting Peer Reviews 5m


Week 1: Fundamentals of Imagemaking


13 videos (Total 73 min)

13 videos

Introduction to Imagemaking 2m

Denotative Imagemaking 14m

Denotative Imagemaking 22m

Techniques of Imagemaking 12m

Techniques of Imagemaking 22m

Techniques of Imagemaking 34m

Process, Generation, Iteration 4m

Imagemaking Demo 1: Printing with an Object 8m

Imagemaking Demo 2: Duct Tape Prints 5m

Imagemaking Demo 3: Improvised "Light Table" 4m

Example Submissions from Brief 1.1: Explorations in Imagemaking 19m

Connotative Imagemaking 15m

Connotative Imagemaking 24m


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 (Total 53 min)

12 videos

Introduction to Typography 59s

The Anatomy of Letters 2m

Words and Spacing 2m

Type Size: The Point System 3m

Typesetting Text 4m

Typefaces, Fonts and Type Families 4m

Typeface Categories 4m

Denotation in Type 6m

Connotation in Type 9m

Looking at Letterforms 4m

Experimenting with Letterforms 5m

Typographic Composition 4m

1 practice exercise

Typography 30m


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 (Total 52 min)

10 videos

Introduction to Shape & Color 1m

Graphic Shapes 2m

Visual Contrast 5m

Marks, Icons, and Symbols 3m

Negative/Positive, Figure/Ground 8m

Working with Color 5m

The Color Wheel 4m

Mixing Color: Paint, Print and Screen 6m

Rhythm and Pattern 14m

Rhythm and Pattern 28m

1 practice exercise

Shape and Color 30m


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!

12 videos (Total 79 min), 1 reading, 3 quizzes

12 videos

Introduction to Composition 1m

Principles of Composition 7m

Visual Contrasts 6m

Single Contrasts 2m

Multiple Contrasts 9m

Type Contrasts 4m

Image Contrasts 6m

Example Submissions from Brief 4.1: Single Contrasts 9m

Composition in a Single Image 5m

Cropping and Hierarchy 9m

Composition in Context 14m

Conclusion 1m

1 reading

What's next? 5m


Continuing your graphic design studies


In this section we've provided some useful resources for students wishing to further their studies in graphic design. The information was authored by Calvin Rye, MFA alumnus of the Graphic Design program at CalArts in consultation with CalArts' Graphic Design faculty and our Office of Admissions. In addition to some advice about selecting the right program of study, we've also included some tips for creating and presenting a strong, organized portfolio and writing your artist statement. These are essential components of any application to a graphic design program, as well as a freelance graphic designer's toolkit. Regardless if you are applying to schools or looking for work in the field, we hope you find these tips and resources useful to your goals.

4 readings

Choosing a design program 6m

Building your portfolio 4m

Design portfolio tips 4m

Writing your artist statement 3m




As a former student, I am pleased to provide a detailed review of the Fundamentals of Graphic Design course by Michael Worthington on Coursera.

First and foremost, Michael Worthington's expertise in graphic design shines through in this course. His in-depth knowledge and passion for the subject are evident in his teaching style. He effectively breaks down complex design concepts into digestible chunks, making it easier for students to grasp and apply the principles.

The course content is comprehensive and covers all the essential aspects of graphic design. From the elements of design to color theory, typography, and composition, every topic is explained thoroughly with relevant examples and demonstrations. The sequential structure of the course allows for a smooth progression of skills and knowledge.

One of the standout features of the course is the practical assignments. These assignments provide hands-on experience and allow students to apply the concepts learned in each module. The detailed feedback from instructors and peers helps in understanding areas of improvement and encourages growth in design skills.

The integration of design software, particularly Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, is commendable. The course offers practical tutorials on using these tools effectively, which is essential in the graphic design industry. The step-by-step instructions provided by Michael Worthington ensure that students can follow along without feeling overwhelmed.

Furthermore, the course incorporates real-world examples and case studies, demonstrating how graphic design principles are applied in various contexts. This practical approach helps students connect theory with real-life design scenarios, making the learning experience more engaging and relevant.

The course community and discussion forums foster a supportive learning environment. Engaging with fellow students and participating in discussions allows for the exchange of ideas and perspectives. It also provides an opportunity to receive constructive feedback and expand one's understanding of graphic design through different viewpoints.

The production quality of the course materials, including videos and supplementary resources, is excellent. The visuals and explanations are clear and concise, enhancing the overall learning experience.

On the flip side, while the course covers the fundamentals of graphic design comprehensively, some students with advanced knowledge in the field might find certain sections repetitive or introductory in nature. However, for beginners or those seeking to solidify their foundational skills, this course is an excellent choice.

In conclusion, the Fundamentals of Graphic Design course by Michael Worthington on Coursera is an outstanding learning resource. It offers a well-structured curriculum, expert instruction, practical assignments, and valuable community engagement. By the end of the course, students gain a strong foundation in graphic design principles and techniques, preparing them for further exploration in the field. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in pursuing a career or developing skills in graphic design.

At the time, the course has an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars based on over 16,268 ratings.

What you'll learn:

After completing the course Fundamentals of Graphic Design by Michael Worthington on Coursera, students gain the following skills:

  1. Understanding of design principles: Students acquire a solid understanding of the fundamental principles of graphic design, including color theory, typography, composition, and visual hierarchy. They learn how to apply these principles to create visually appealing and effective designs.

  2. Design thinking and problem-solving: The course teaches students how to approach design challenges and solve problems through critical thinking and creativity. They learn how to analyze client requirements, conduct research, and develop design solutions that meet specific objectives.

  3. Visual communication: Students learn how to effectively communicate messages and ideas through visual elements. They understand how to use imagery, color, and typography to convey meaning and evoke desired emotions. They gain the ability to create designs that engage and resonate with the target audience.

  4. Software proficiency: The course introduces students to industry-standard design software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. They learn essential techniques and tools in these programs, enabling them to bring their design concepts to life and work efficiently in a digital design environment.

  5. Branding and identity design: Students explore the role of graphic design in branding and identity development. They learn how to create cohesive visual identities for businesses or organizations, including logo design, brand guidelines, and collateral materials.

  6. Web design fundamentals: The course covers the basics of web design, including layout, user experience, and interface design. Students learn how to create visually appealing and user-friendly web designs that effectively communicate information and engage users.

  7. Portfolio development: Throughout the course, students work on practical exercises and assignments that allow them to apply their newly acquired skills. By the end of the course, they have a portfolio of design work that showcases their abilities and can be used to demonstrate their skills to potential employers or clients.

These skills equip students with a strong foundation in graphic design, enabling them to pursue careers in fields such as advertising, branding, digital media, and web design.


Michael Worthington is a renowned expert in the field of graphic design. With extensive experience and knowledge, he has established himself as a respected author and instructor in the industry.

As an instructor, Michael Worthington brings a wealth of practical experience and expertise to his teaching. He possesses a deep understanding of design principles and techniques, and he effectively imparts this knowledge to his students. His teaching style is engaging and accessible, making complex concepts easy to comprehend for learners of all levels.

Michael Worthington's professional background includes working on a wide range of design projects across various industries. This hands-on experience gives him valuable insights into the practical application of design principles in real-world scenarios. He is well-versed in different design software tools, allowing him to teach students the technical skills required in the field.

In addition to his instructional role, Michael Worthington has also authored numerous resources and publications on graphic design. His expertise is recognized within the design community, and he actively contributes to the advancement of the field. His contributions demonstrate his dedication to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in graphic design.

Overall, Michael Worthington's expertise and knowledge in graphic design, coupled with his effective teaching approach, make him a highly respected authority in the field. Students can trust in his guidance to acquire essential skills and insights that will help them succeed in their graphic design endeavors.


Here are some more detailed requirements for the Fundamentals of Graphic Design course by Michael Worthington:

  1. Computer and internet access: Students must have access to a computer or laptop with a stable internet connection. This is necessary to access the course materials, lectures, and participate in online discussions.

  2. Design software: Students are required to have access to design software, specifically Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. These tools are used extensively throughout the course. It is recommended that students have the latest versions of these software programs installed on their computers. Alternatively, comparable design software with similar features and capabilities can be used.

  3. Basic computer literacy: Students should possess basic computer skills, including familiarity with operating systems (such as Windows or macOS), navigating through files and folders, and using software applications. Proficiency in using a keyboard and mouse is essential.

  4. English language proficiency: The course is conducted in English, so students should have a good command of the English language to understand the lectures, read course materials, and engage in discussions. Fluency in English is important for comprehending instructions and effectively communicating with instructors and fellow students.

  5. Recommended prerequisites: While not mandatory, it is beneficial for students to have a basic understanding of design principles and concepts before enrolling in this course. Some prior exposure to graphic design or related fields can help students grasp the course content more effectively.

  6. Software installation and setup: Students should ensure they have the necessary permissions and resources to install and set up the required design software on their computers. Technical support may be available through the software provider or the course platform.

  7. Time commitment: The course duration and time commitment may vary. Students should allocate sufficient time each week to watch video lectures, complete assignments, participate in discussions, and engage with the course content. The exact time required will depend on the individual's learning pace and level of involvement.

It is important to review the specific requirements and prerequisites provided by the course platform before enrolling, as they may contain additional or updated information.

Register Now!