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Graphic Design Fundamentals

Graphic Design Classes & Certificates in NYC

In this hands-on graphic design course, you will expand your knowledge of design concepts and processes while you produce real-world projects using professional design software.

This class focuses on how to design and assumes knowledge of Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator. To learn these graphic design applications, check out our full offering of graphic design courses & certificate programs

Create a Graphic Design Portfolio

Produce several portfolio projects, including logos, social media graphics, stationary, book/eBook covers, album covers, event posters, and email announcements

Assignments will be critiqued during class both by the instructor and during group critiques. You’ll incorporate the feedback into your work and finish the assignment in class, or outside of class as homework (you should expect to work outside of class). By the end of this class, we hope you’ll have at least 5 finished pieces for your portfolio. The instructor is available throughout the 6 classes to give feedback and advice on all projects both during and outside of class.

If you’re looking to design website interfaces, you should check out our Visual Web Design classes or certificate program.

  • 18 Hours
  • Small classes
  • Mac or PC provided
  • Free retake

Register for a class

$975 Discounts


What You’ll Learn

  • Broaden your understanding of graphic design concepts and processes, both formal and conceptual
  • Enhance your skill as a designer
  • Understand the elements of design
  • Learn how to speak about your work and how to incorporate and evaluate critiques
  • Develop and expand your portfolio
View full syllabus

Graphic Design Fundamentals Class Syllabus

What You’ll Learn

Section 1
What is Graphic Design?


  • Brief overview and discussion
  • Elements of design
  • Gestalt Principles
Word Work


  • Letterform Anatomy
  • Type Classifications
  • Speed design with limited source material!
Design Assignment: Logo Design


  • Brief slide show on what makes a good logo
  • Design assignment: Choice of logo redesign for an existing company or create your own personal logo design.
  • Create two distinct design options for your logo.

Section 2
Design Process


  • Explore ideation and the creative design process
  • Logo exploration (Ritos del Sol, Vaya)
  • Learn logo drafting using the template feature in Illustrator
  • Introduction of Photoshop mock-ups
  • Sketching exercise. Learn to work quickly and creatively within fixed parameters.
Color Interaction


  • What do colors mean?
  • How do designers use colors effectively
  • Color palates: we will explore how to choose appropriate color palates for different assignments
Design Assignment: Identity System


  • Finalize your logo to design an identity system using a "color study" and complimentary typeface. Use this visual system to either create a stationery design or social media graphics.
Section 3


  • Typographic Overview
  • Type Selection
  • Type Pairing
  • Foundry Overview
  • Optical Spacing
Design Assignment: Book/eBook Cover Redesign


  • Create either a book or eBook cover design for a re-issue of a famous piece of fiction. Use type and imagery to create a visually appealing cover that will entice a reader.
Section 4
Historical Design Movements


  • Arts & Crafts
  • Art Nouveau
  • Dada
  • Destijl
  • Constructivism
  • Bauhaus
  • Swiss International
Design Assignment: Album Art Cover/Spotify Graphic


  • Create cover art for a band to be used for online purchases of music or streaming music services. Use a mixture of typography, imagery, and basic graphic elements, with consideration for different screen sizes and resolutions.

Section 5
Information Hierarchy


  • What goes first? Second? Last? And why?
  • Are there rules? How can we be creative within these rules?
  • We explore the who, what, where, when, and why of laying out information.
  • Learn about grid systems.
Design Assignment: Event Poster or Email Announcement


  • Students will design a poster or email announcement for an event. Designs should convey a concept relating to the subject, and use a clearly identifiable visual hierarchy.
Section 6
Design Hero Slide Show


  • The instructor will show a brief slide show of past and present design visionaries
Portfolio Criteria & Revision


  • Ten points to consider when developing a professional Graphic Design portfolio.
  • Recommended book list
  • Revision, completion and collection of any final revised exercises or projects.
  • Subway poster by graphic design student

    Subway Poster by Victoria Greiss

  • Brand identity by graphic design student

    Brand Identity by Juliana Cooper

  • Book cover art by graphic design student

    Book Cover by Juliana Cooper

  • Album cover artwork by graphic design student

    Album Cover by Peter Lam

Rated NYC's Best Graphic Design School & Courses

Learn the fundamentals of graphic design at Noble Desktop, a leading graphic design school in NYC since 1991, by learning the applications and creating several projects.

About the Instructor

With 20 years of accomplishment in graphic design and advertising, Alfred Assin specializes in branding and identity. His work spans a wide array of industries, with clients including Douglas Elliman, Robert K. Futterman, GlaxoSmithKline, The Wynn Hotel & Casino, Cartier, Bass Shoes, and Maurice Villency. He has worked for top agencies such as Frankfurt Balkind and AgencySacks, as well as boutique firms like slover [AND] company and Graj + Gustavsen. He maintains his own freelance consultancy, Mr. Grey.

Graphic designers use Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, & Illustrator

Graphic Design Applications
  • InDesign is the standard app used for creating print designs such as ads, books, magazines, and more.
  • Photoshop is an essential app used for retouching/enhancing photos and pixel-based graphics.
  • Illustrator is an app used for creating logos, patterns, packaging, and other types of vector graphics.
Adobe InDesign
  • InDesign is the standard application used for creating professional layouts.
  • Use master pages, paragraph and character styles to layout ads, brochures, books, magazines, and more.
Adobe Illustrator
  • Illustrator is an Adobe application used for creating logos, patterns, packaging, and other types of vector graphics.
Adobe Photoshop
  • Photoshop is the leading software for photo editing, color correction, and photo retouching.
  • With Photoshop you can also create graphics for print or web, design webpages and apps, create animations, and more.

Create Portfolio Projects

“Graphic Design Fundamentals is a great class for new or experienced designers. Alfred gives a perfect synopsis of graphic design history, influential graphic designers and great creative examples. I left the class with exciting new portfolio pieces and I highly recommend this class.”
Victoria Greiss, Creative Director

Student designing graphics at graphic design school in New York

Top Graphic Design School in New York

Learn graphic design applications & techniques at NYC's best graphic design classes and earn a NYS-licensed Visual Design or Graphic Design certificate.

Students earning a Graphic Design Certificate

Design Real-World Projects

Learn the fundamentals of graphic design as you design and produce five real-world projects. Design and create a range of projects including a logo, social media graphics, books, album covers, stationary, and an event poster.

Students learning graphic design in class at Noble Desktop.

Register for Graphic Design Fundamentals

$975 Discounts