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18-Hour Workshop

Graphic Design Fundamentals

In this class you will learn the fundamentals of graphic design while designing and producing several real-world projects. This intensive class will meet for six sessions. You will be expected to work on design projects outside of class.


  1. Broaden your understanding of graphic design concepts and processes, both formal and conceptual
  2. Enhance your skill as a designer
  3. Understand the elements of design
  4. Learn how to speak about your work and how to incorporate and evaluate critiques
  5. Develop and expand your portfolio


Use your own content and subject matter, or we will provide materials.

  1. Identity: Personal stationery set
  2. Design dissection: Redesign brand identity for a specific product
  3. Visual identity: Metrocard redesign
  4. Page design: 8–12 page booklet
  5. Large scale design: Promotional poster design for a musical performance
  6. Self promotion: Personal stamp design

You should have an intermediate knowledge of InDesign (Photoshop and Illustrator a plus, but not required). Throughout the course, the instructor will provide various handouts and reference materials. Source materials will be supplied by the instructor for in-class work. For homework assignments you must research and/or create your own images and graphics.

Design challenge homework assignments will need to be completed outside of class. Each assignment must be printed out in color at actual size, and trimmed for presentation in class. Print projects will not be critiqued onscreen.

About the Instructor

Kristi Norgaard has been the Senior Designer at Yolanda Cuomo Design for over fifteen years. During this time she has spent countless hours arranging letters and images on pages to make beautiful, informative, graphic and legible books, magazines, exhibition graphics, logos, posters and infographics. She is also an adjunct instructor in the Photography Department at New York University Tisch School of the Arts, where she teaches book design and typography classes.

Upcoming Classes

Price: $750 Click for Discounts

  • 18 hours of Hands-On Training
  • Mac or PC

What You’ll Learn

Session 1

  • What is Graphic Design?
    • Brief slide show and discussion
  • The Design Process
    • Visual scavenger scrapbook/personal research archive
    • Brainstorming
    • Client collaboration
    • Refining your ideas, incorporating critiques
    • Presenting your work
  • Word Work
    • Speed design with limited source material!
    • Learn to work quickly and creatively within fixed parameters.
    • Create multiple designs from one idea.
  • Grids Part I
    • Learn to work with grids on small scale projects.
  • Design Challenge Assignment: Personal Stationery Set
    • Letterhead
    • Business card
    • Envelope
    • Notecard

Session 2

  • How to Work, How to Begin a New Project
    • Determine the who/what/when/where/why of your project.
    • Design comps
    • Make decisions: color, size, typography, graphics.
    • Gather theme elements and start laying out ideas.
  • In-Class Assignment
    • Redesign of an olive oil label and/or a coffee label.
    • We will consider all elements on this label and design the information in an order that will not only attract attention but also hold a consumer’s interest.
  • Design Challenge Assignment
    • Rework/create a series of labels for one of the following products: beer, cough drops, pasta, or jam. The series must include three versions of the product.

Session 3

  • Visual Identity & The Branding Palate
    • Mini Cooper vs. BMW: A discussion and slide show on the corporate identity of both brands and how they target consumers with visual graphics.
  • The Branding Palette
    • Color
    • Typefaces
    • Use of imagery
    • Tone of voice
    • System
    • Flexibility
    • Application of identity
  • In-Class Assignment
    • Design a logo for a non-profit organization and apply it to a donor card and invitation to a gala event.
  • Design Challenge Assignment: Metrocard Redesign
    • Design a series of commemorative metrocards for the NYC subway system.
    • Come up with a new “look” for the cards and apply it in 5 different but recognizable ways as a set of five cards.

Session 4

  • Page Layout and Design
    • Publication and magazine design
    • Slide show and discussion on how to design information across multiple pages.
    • How to consider information like a story with a beginning, middle, and an end.
  • Information Hierarchy for Page Layout Design
    • Title, subtitle, byline, body copy, photos & illustrations, page numbers and captions
  • In-Class Assignment: One Story, Two Different Publications
    • Students will be given one story and have to design it for the NY Post and for Harper’s Bazaar. Same story, two different design techniques.
  • Design Challenge Assignment
    • Students can choose one of four titles provided by the instructor to create an 8–12 page booklet. Work with text, images, and a logo. Create an identity/style that works across multiple pages and helps to tell a story.

Session 5

  • Large Scale Poster Design
    • Slide show and discussion on poster design and composition
  • Techniques
    • Composition of text and graphics on a single, large document
    • Color and layering
    • Coming up with your own graphics
    • Working LARGE
  • In-Class Assignment
    • Hatch Show Print country music poster for Jack White (Nashville, TN) performance
  • Design Challenge Assignment
    • Poster for a musical performance
    • Students will be given a choice of musical acts and then must design a promotional poster for that act.
  • Show and Tell Special Assignment
    • Bring in something that inspires you (book, magazine, poster, packaging design, label, ticket, logo, etc.) and for the last class be prepared to discuss why you like it and why it inspires you.

Session 6

  • Self Promotion
    • We will discuss self promotion, how to build your portfolio, and how to tailor it to specific projects or clients.
  • Show and Tell from Students
    • Each student will show the object that inspires them to the class and explain why they like it.
  • In-Class assignment: Personal Stamp Design
    • Using only black, students will create a stamp as thier own personal logo or just their name and contact information.
  • Instructor Show and Tell
    • Instructor will bring in tangible (non-digital) examples from the design world
    • Paper samples
    • Various Bindings
    • Book covers with various glosses and finishes
    • Examples of die cuts
    • Publications with gatefolds
  • Design Hero Slide Show
    • The instructor will show a brief slide show of design heroes throughout history