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Studio: Graphic Design

Gain the fundamentals of graphic design skills while building a body of work and knowledge base to implement in your art room.

Paul Rand stated, “Design is relationships.” In this course, participants will embark upon a journey to develop insights in graphic design, which will influence strategies and decisions in both the art classroom and personal studio.

Participants will solve problems of visual communication through the use of typography, photography, illustration, color theory, composition, and iconography. As participants investigate real-world problems in graphic design, emphasis will be placed on the design thinking framework, historical context of graphic design, and integration of design theories and work in the art classroom.

Finally, participants will apply their newfound knowledge by creating graphic design artifacts, oriented toward social and community good. The culmination of the course will include a comprehensive portfolio of studio work alongside practical tools for the classroom.

See the course syllabus and Graduate Catalog for more details.

Required Materials


  • A monthly membership to Adobe Creative Cloud. Individual membership is offered month-to-month and may be canceled at any time. Student and Teacher memberships are available at a discounted price, however Adobe currently offers those memberships as annual contracts. 

Additional Materials

  • Computer with basic audio and video output equipment
  • Internet access (broadband recommended)
  • Basic computing skills (see AOEU’s Technology Requirements)
  • Access to AOEU’s online learning platform, Brightspace, to view the course content, submit assignments, and engage in discussion (provided)
  • A Google Drive account (not provided by AOEU)
  • Word-processing platform (Microsoft Office, Pages, Google Docs)
Graduate Credits
All courses will now close at 11 PM Central time on the 27th of each month. Graduate Credits 3 Graduate Credits
Price Graduate Credit $1197.00
Mon 8 Sun
Jan 2 Weeks Feb 26
Upcoming Course Run Dates
Jan 2 Feb 26
Feb 6 Apr 2
Mar 6 Apr 30
May 1 Jun 25
Jun 5 Jul 30
AOEU Course Code
Morningside Course Code
EDUC500 AOE039

Course Objectives

  • Solve problems of visual communication through the use of typography, photography, iconography, composition, and illustration.
  • Construct a unique visual style using the framework of design thinking in the creation of visual artifacts.
  • Appraise visual and theoretical utility of design work through critique.
  • Evaluate design and art principles, as they relate to design problem-solving.
  • Teach graphic design for the art classroom, with a focus on criticism, aesthetics, and methods.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of solving for stakeholder needs through the proper application of design and art principles.

Course Breakdown

Week 1
Welcome to Graphic Design!
  1. Investigate the field of graphic design, from historical events to key designers, and learn about the framework of design thinking. Select an advocacy issue in the art classroom or broader community to take through the design thinking process.
Week 2
Building Effective Graphic Design Artifacts with Adobe Illustrator
  1. Discover and learn new processes in Adobe Illustrator to create graphic design artifacts.
  2. Learn how to teach graphic design processes in the classroom, without Adobe Illustrator.
  3. Create an icon or self-portrait for use in the art classroom.
Week 3
Fundamentals of Graphic Design – Color
  1. Learn important visual fundamentals of graphic design, specifically color theory and psychology.
  2. Create an original poster, grounded in specific color theory art elements.
Week 4
Fundamentals of Graphic Design – Typography
  1. Discover and learn new processes in Adobe Photoshop to create graphic design artifacts.
  2. Appraise fonts and other typographic artifacts for typeface design, legibility, contrast, hierarchy, alignment, consistency, and color.
  3. Defend the rules and best practices of typography.
Week 5
Visually Communicating Ideas
  1. Understand the meaning of symbolism in graphic design, including the cultural, political, and socio-economic weights behind them.
  2. Defend and critique the utility of created symbols.
Week 6
Graphic Design Beyond the Art Classroom
  1. Identify best practices for graphic design in the classroom setting, including basic and advanced processes for partnering type and image.
  2. Integrate studio practices and teachings of graphic design into the art classroom.
  3. Successfully conduct the test stage of design thinking.
  4. Design graphic design artifacts to meet the needs of clients and/or community groups.
Week 7
Advocacy and Entrepreneurship through Graphic Design
  1. Develop beautiful, meaningful graphic design artifacts for the promotion of social or community good.
  2. Organize multiple components of graphic design artifacts to show visual consistency.
  3. Evaluate design work critically to discern point of view, purpose, intended audience, and tone.
Week 8
Final Analysis and Reflection
  1. Reflect on your graphic design art journey from the beginning to the end.

Sample Assignment

Create graphic design representations for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or a similar declaration. You may create an illustrated book, a poster, an infographic, or something else.

"My mind is still blown by some tool functions I didn't know even existed in Adobe Illustrator. The design process taught me to be reflective of my own learning process, and to remember the way I felt and learned when it comes time for me to teach my students Adobe Illustrator. I will definitely be using the lessons in my Graphic Design class. It rekindled a love of graphic design I used to have years ago but lost. I look forward to teaching my students what I have learned."
Jamie S., NE

Let's Get Started

If you know what you need, then go ahead and register.

Don't worry if you still have questions. Our admissions counselors keep up with the requirements for teachers in your state and can help you choose a course that's right for you and your career.

All you have to do is reach out.

Call Us 515.650.3198 8 am - 5 pm CST (M-F)
Text Us 515.650.3198 We'll respond within 24 hours (M-F)
Email help@theartofeducation.edu We'll respond within 24 hours (M-F)
Contact the Registrar

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Please contact the Registrar (registrar@theartofeducation.edu) with questions.