Introduction to Graphic Design - Schoolhouse Teachers

Introduction to Graphic Design

Length: 17 weeks
Content-type: Text-based
Age/Grade: 6th – 12th Grades
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Introduction to Graphic Design is an excellent guide to the basics of graphic design for your middle school and high school students. It will teach students how to recognize quality graphic designs in the products they see and interact with every day, what makes certain designs stand out, how to design an eye-catching ad that communicates a specific message to a target audience, and what types of jobs are available for graphic designers today.

Course Introduction

Graphic design is everywhere, from packaging on millions of products, to Facebook and social media memes, e-newsletters, flyers, postcards, logos, websites, product labels, billboards, etc. It’s everywhere whether we realize it or not. We live in a world where people want to see images more than they want to read an article. If the meaning of the article can be conveyed in a Facebook meme, then that’s what is shared in social media. A really good design will draw you into purchasing that nifty gadget, sharing a post on Facebook, reading an article, or eating at a particular restaurant.

This course is going to focus on the basics of graphic design. In particular, we’re going to discuss:

  • the legality of graphic design (things to be aware of)
  • the basics (importance of fonts, colors, white space, and more)
  • the message (what idea you are conveying in the design)
  • the design (setting up the design so that it flows the way it should), and
  • the outcome (what you can do as a graphic designer).

Each lesson will end with an activity which helps to solidify the lesson. As we get further into the course, my suggestion is that you create multiple designs. The more you practice a skill, the better you will become.

We’re also going to set up a studio here on the site where you can share your graphic designs with me. If you have a design to submit, please email me for instructions. I’m available to answer any questions or problems you may encounter, and if your student (or you, the parent) would like for me to review any designs or materials, please feel free to send them to me at I am happy to review any and all designs and give feedback.

Please note: There are no specific hardware or software requirements for this course beyond access to the Internet. The class can be viewed on any device that supports a pdf file. The projects can be done with numerous image software programs, including free online resources such as Gimp and Canva. 

Lesson 1: What is Graphic Design?
Lesson 2: The Law – Be Honest and Forthright
Lesson 3: The Elements of Design – Pixels
Lesson 4: The Elements of Design – Fonts
Lesson 5: The Elements of Design – Colors
Lesson 6: The Elements of Design – The Audience
Lesson 7: The Elements of Design – The Message
Lesson 8: Using PicMonkey, Canva, and Gimp
Lesson 9: Creating a Logo
Lesson 10: Creating a Flyer, Postcard, and Advertisement
Lesson 11: Creating a Brochure
Lesson 12: Creating a T-Shirt Design
Lesson 13: Creating a Book Cover
Lesson 14: Creating a Label Design
Lesson 15: Designing a Poster
Lesson 16: The End Game
Lesson 17: Final Assignment

This course is best taken as a one-half credit course and may count as such on a transcript if approximately 60 hours of student work is invested and all lessons are completed.

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