Design in Context

Because the outlines of the profession continually change, the graphic designer must know how to integrate an understanding of visual literacy with broad-based cultural knowledge. This class examines the theoretical basis of graphic design, defining basic concepts and vocabulary used within the profession, such as information architecture, pattern-recognition, grids, proportion, rhythm, sequence, and gestalt. In addition, the course explores the contemporary history of graphic design from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary inspiration, varied cultural influences, technological innovation, and expanded applications. Great emphasis is placed on thorough research as an integral part of the ideation process. Throughout the course, weekly exercises and small projects that build on one another provide the student with a comprehensive understanding of the discipline of graphic design. / Each student will have access throughout the course to Adobe Creative Cloud software. / Open to students ages 18 and above. / View complete policies.

This graduate-level course is also part of the fully online Master of Arts in Graphic and Web Design.

How does an online course work at MCAD?
Most online courses are asynchronous, meaning that there are no set class meeting times. Instead, courses are project-based, with 2 to 3 deadlines per week, and students can choose a time and place that works best for them to complete the work. Course activities may include readings; video demonstrations and tutorials; online discussions; projects; and critiques. The workload of a 1 credit course is roughly 8-10 hours per week, whether the course is being taken for credit or noncredit.

Required Textbook:
See for a list of required textbooks.

Required hardware: A computer with internet access, capable of running Adobe Creative Cloud software.

Required software: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign (provided by MCAD). 

Register Before: August 19
If the minimum enrollment is not met by the deadline above, the class will be canceled on this date. Registration will remain open after this date if the minimum enrollment has been met.

Class Savings
Register on or before August 17 and save $25.
Register for more than one class at a time and receive $25 off each additional class (same-day registrations only).
Additional savings. Are you eligible?

Contact MCAD Continuing Education at or call 612.874.3765.

Course Details

GWD 6405 20 FA20
Date Start: 
Monday, August 24, 2020
Date End: 
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Age Group: 
Age Requirement: 
Open to students ages 18 and above.
Days of Week: 
Graphic and Web Design
Online Classes