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Graphic Design for Beginners (Online Short Course)

Graphic Design For Beginners (Online Short Course)

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Ruth Sykes


Graphic design begins with ideas, and this course encourages the development of ideas through observation and research as well as introducing students to layout and typography. The course includes six diverse but related projects, inspired by the BA degree course at Central Saint Martins. Beginning with a graphic ideas brief, the projects continue with an introduction to typography and layout; including projects to design a logo, a poster and a magazine spread; the final projects are to make a small book and build a portfolio using a template website. You will be required to complete the projects in your own time to maximise your learning process and upload your work for constructive feedback during the live session.

Please note that this course does not provide instruction in using computer programs and knowledge of graphic design computer programmes is not required to complete the projects.


  • Techniques to form and develop creative ideas
  • Typography and logotypes
  • Kerning, tracking and leading
  • Scale, spacing and positioning
  • Poster design
  • Magazine layout
  • Using grids to enhance your work
  • Book making and Bookbinding

By the end of the course you will have;

  • Practiced techniques that will promote your creativity and help you develop clever and creative ideas
  • Attained an understanding of what graphic design is and what graphic designers do
  • Studied techniques that will allow you to create effective and provoking layouts
  • Completed a diverse range of exercises designed to strengthen your graphic design skills
  • Had your work reviewed by your tutor and received feedback
  • Learnt how to make typography, layout and image making work together to communicate ideas
  • Produced work that can be added to a portfolio that can be used to enter further study

    • Who is Graphic design for Beginners (Online) for
      This course is aimed at beginners to graphic design who are keen to experiment and produce an inventive portfolio, either for an application for further study or for those who just want to refresh themselves and exercise an enquiring mind.
      Level: Beginner
      Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and over

      Why choose a CSM Online Short Course
      Our online learning short courses allow you to experience Central Saint Martins wherever you are in the world. Additionally all CSM Online Short Courses include

      • Live sessions with expert
      • Lesson recordings
      • Practical assignments
      • Personal feedback
      • VLE with course content
      • Forums for support
      • 3 months online access
      • CSM Certificate upon completion

      Visit Frequently Asked Questions for further details about preparing for your online course, including any equipment you need.

      Please note that all courses are taught in UK time. To compare times, please check World Time Buddy.

Tutor Description

Ruth Sykes is an Associate Lecturer on the Graphic Communication Design programme at Central Saint Martins. She is a co-founder of REG, the London based graphic design partnership whose clients have included The Victoria & Albert Museum, Amnesty International, Central Saint Martins, English Heritage and the Crafts Council.


Online Short Course Materials

To take part in the Online sessions you will need:

  • An up-to-date web browser (we recommend Firefox or Chrome)
  • The latest version of Java installed on your device
  • Microphone and headphones (a headset with a microphone function is recommended)
  • Webcam
  • Strong Internet connection via WiFi or ethernet; 2G, 3G or 4G will not be sufficient

Course Specific Materials

Please ensure that you have the following materials to hand:

  • Black ink pen
  • Sketchbook (A4 size)
  • Scissors
  • Scalpel knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Metal safety ruler
  • Glue stick
  • PVA glue
  • A3 white paper (around 80gsm) x 12 sheets
  • A3 tracing paper (around 6 sheets)
  • A camera (any sort, a camera phone is fine)
  • Millboard, A4 size x 2 sheets
  • Cartridge paper, A4 size x 4 sheets
  • Coloured pens and pencils can be useful
  • 1 x USB webcam (external), to easily show work in progress

To complete your projects further materials are usually required, which will depend on your ideas for your projects.

Available dates