Graphic Design is something we can all do – really well. Just don't tell everyone.
The course covers the following areas:
1. What makes a designer?
Quite simply, anyone can become a graphic designer. There's no great secret to it. Most good design is based on understanding the purpose of the project, and the audience. And then it's 'just' a matter of coming up with a good idea...
Sometimes ideas spring into being as if they were just waiting for the right opportunity. Other times they take hard work, lots of effort and many discarded attempts. The main thing is to let the project tell you what it needs to be, and then to try and get everything else out of the way – but of course, that's a lot harder than it sounds.
2. The art and science of colour
Colours are incredibly important because different colours make us respond in different ways. We're actually built to react to some colours faster than we are to others, so building the right colour scheme for your design is vital. Fortunately there's a lot of help available.
We'll look at different ways of creating colour schemes – triadic, complementary, tetradic, analogic and more – to help you create a unified design.
3. Typography: more than simply letters
There are many ways to differentiate between typefaces. Heavy, blocky type would be completely unsuitable for a logo for a health spa, whereas a flowing, graceful script font would be equally unsuitable for a company dealing in cement. So, there's a typeface for every occasion. This part of the course looks at matching the right typeface with the right project.
4. Design principles and elements
Principles are the 'guiding lights' of design work. Elements are the objects actually used to create it. Traditionally, graphic design is taught as a combination of the two. According to different approaches, there are five, six or more principles. We look at eight: emphasis, movement, pattern, repetition, proportion, rhythm, variety and unity. Then we look at the elements used to create them.
5. The Golden Ratio and the Rule of Thirds
Some important guides for designers have been around for centuries. The ancient Greeks, for example, came up with the Golden Ratio when they designed the Parthenon; the early Renaissance artists developed the Rule of Thirds. We're still using both of them today – and they still work.
6. Designing books and book covers
A book cover is a great way to spread your design wings. It's a single element, and – obviously enough – it needs to help sell the book. Forget the idea that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, we all do. Books are great, too. You need a solid layout that will take care of chapter beginnings, chapter pages, a table of contents and so on. Page layout is great – it represents a clearly defined structure within which you are free to create something beautiful. What's not to like?
7. Designing ads and logos
Logos are some of the most creative objects a designer can create, and some designers specialise in them. The best logos are simple graphics that reach out and instantly send their message. Best of all, the world of logo creation can be seriously lucrative. If you're good at logos, the world will beat a path to your door.
8. Creating a portfolio and marketing yourself
It's very unlikely that anyone will want to blow your trumpet for you, so you have to be prepared blow it yourself. It's not easy getting recognition in a highly competitive marketplace, so having a good online portfolio of your work is absolutely essential. Having created one, then you have to market yourself. Otherwise, the chances are that nobody will ever see it.