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Graphic Design Basics

You don't need a degree in graphic design to do desktop publishing. But an understanding of the graphic design basics, including the elements and principles of graphic design, will help you do better work as a designer, publisher, and visual communicator. Explore these lessons in the free Graphic Design Basics Course for Desktop Publishing.

NOTE: Lessons 2.3 through 2.7 are not yet available; however, self-study material is provided that covers each of those missing topics.

Overview and Introduction to Graphic Design Basics
Introduction, outline, and descriptions for each of the classes or lessons in the graphic design basics course.

1.1 Introduction to the Elements of Design
5 lessons on lines, shapes, mass, texture, and color, and a final assignment help build the foundation for the next 5 free graphic design basics classes in this section.

1.2 Lines as an Element of Design
3 lessons explore the appearance, patterns, and uses of lines in desktop publishing and graphic design projects.

1.3 Shape as an Element of Design
4 lessons define geometric, natural, and abstract shapes with emphasis on the meanings and use of basic geometric shapes of square, circle, triangle.

1.4 Mass as an Element of Design
Mass is the element of graphic design under scrutiny here along with size and measurement methods for desktop publishing. Only 2 lessons but many pages of auxillary material make this one of the more involved classes so far in this free series.

1.5 Texture as an Element of Design
3 lessons contain numerous definitions and examples of types of textures used in design and publishing. Learn about paper finishes and the different ways to create visual textures.

1.6 Color as an Element of Design
3 lessons on value and color including color wheels, tints and shades, warm, cool, and neutral colors, and the meanings and use of different colors and color combinations. This free course is for motivated students.

2.1 An Introduction to the Principles of Design
The first class of Section 2 is an overview of the six principles of design. 2 lessons (including a makeover assignment) provide definitions using metaphors and allegory.

2.2 Balance as a Principle of Design
6 free lessons and a self-test illustrate symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial balance in design along with some related concepts such as the 'rule of thirds' and 'visual center' of a layout.

2.3 Proximity & Unity - Self-Study
Learn how to arrange elements on the page through proximity — keeping like items together and creating unity by how close or far apart elements are from each other. Not in lesson format. Study the principle of Proximity.

2.4 Alignment - Self-Study
While centered text has its place it is often the mark of a novice designer. Learn how to align text and graphics to create more interesting, dynamic, or appropriate layouts. Not in lesson format. Study the principle of Alignment as well as How to Use the Principle of Alignment in Page Layout and Use Ragged-Right or Fully-Justified Text Alignment Appropriately and Use Centered Text Alignment Sparingly.

2.5 Consistency & Repetition - Self-Study
Get an understanding of the importance of consistency for the reader and ways to create a consistent and balanced look through different types of repetition. Not in lesson format. Study the principles of Consistency and Repetition.

2.6 Contrast - Self-Study
Not part of the Graphic Design Basics class, this multi-part tutorial illustrates several ways to use the principle of contrast. Also see: Contrast

2.6 Contrast - Self-Study
Big vs. small, black vs. white. These are some ways to create contrast and visual interest. Learn a variety of ways to use contrast. Not in lesson format. Study the principle of Contrast.

2.7 White Space - Self-Study
The art of nothing is another description for this principle. View examples of good and bad use of white space and how to avoid trapped white space. Not in lesson format. Study the principle of White Space as well as How to Add White Space to a Layout and Use More White Space.

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