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7 Sessions (adaptive)
Audit (Free)
Premium ($10 USD / Month)
Maryland Institute College of Art
Visual Arts, Design, History and Culture
Skill Level
Video Transcripts
Cubism, Futurism, Dada, Typography, Publishing
Course Description

Where did graphic design come from, and where will it go next? This fast-paced introduction to graphic design history will change your understanding of everything from fonts and letterforms to posters and brands. Discover how printers revolutionized society when they created open access to information. Explore the visual systems that inform graphic design practice—from handwritten alphabets to online publications. Learn how avant-garde artists, architects, poets, and painters shook the world by reinventing mass media. Pursue the dream of a unified civilization held together by neutral typefaces, international pictograms, and global brands—and see how subcultures rebelled against cultural uniformity by forging their own visual identities. Thinking about history will open your eyes to new ideas and diverse practices. The course is taught by Brockett Horne and Ellen Lupton, renowned authors and leading faculty at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). In a series of dynamic conversations, they will introduce you to fascinating people and processes that changed the way we communicate. Test your knowledge with short quizzes, and stretch your own design practice by responding to inspiring creative prompts.

Course image A. M. Cassandre. The uncompromising one, the strongest, 1925. Lithograph.
Collection of Merrill C. Berman


This course is in Adaptive mode, and is open for enrollment. Learn more about Adaptive courses here.

Session 1: The Visible Word
The Invention of Writing, The Typographic Revolution, and Cultures of Publishing.
Session 2: Liberated Style
Arts and Crafts and the Ideal Book; Art Nouveau and Jugendstil.
Session 3: Inventing the Avant-Garde
Cubism, Futurism, Dada
Session 4: The Mechanical Eye
Constructivism and Photomontage
Session 5: New Typographies
Constructivism, Dutch Modernism, and the Bauhaus.
Session 6: International Styles
International Symbols and Global Identities; The Postmodern Reaction.
Session 7: Cultural Revolutions
Design and Civil Rights; Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Universal Design
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Enroll for College Credit

Credit Eligible

Kadenze has partnered with Maryland Institute College of Art to offer this course for college credits.*

How much does it cost?

This course costs $0 USD to take for college credit.

*Upon completion, this rigorous college-level course will provide credits that are recognized and transferable from the partnering institution. Credit as workload and transferability is defined by the granting institution. Participation in these courses does not represent an acceptance decision or admission from the institution that offers them.

Learning Outcomes

Below you will find an overview of the Learning Outcomes you will achieve as you complete this course.

Grading Policy
Course Great Breakdown Chart
Total: 105.00%

This course requires a total of approximately 50 hours of work, including both lectures and independent student learning time.

Plagiarism: We learn by doing our own work, and by collaborating with other students. Discussing course content and assignments with your peers is an important and helpful way to deepen your learning. However, encouraging others to copy your homework and submit it as their own is a form of cheating. So please don't post your completed assignments or correct answers to quizzes, tests, or other assessments to the discussion forums or in repositories outside of Kadenze.

Instructors & Guests
What You Need to Take This Course

- Image creation software, or ability to hand draw and scan or photograph

-Ability to upload .jpg, .jpeg or .png for assignments.

Additional Information

Peer Assessment Code of Conduct: Part of what makes Kadenze a great place to learn is our community of students. While you are completing your Peer Assessments, we ask that you help us maintain the quality of our community. Please:

  • Be Polite. Show your fellow students courtesy. No one wants to feel attacked - ever. For this reason, insults, condescension, or abuse will not be tolerated.
  • Show Respect. Kadenze is a global community. Our students are from many different cultures and backgrounds. Please be patient, kind, and open-minded when discussing topics such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other potentially controversial subjects.
  • Post Appropriate Content. We believe that expression is a human right and we would never censor our students. With that in mind, please be sensitive of what you post in a Peer Assessment. Only post content where and when it is appropriate to do so.

Please understand that posts which violate this Code of Conduct harm our community and may be deleted or made invisible to other students by course moderators. Students who repeatedly break these rules may be removed from the course and/or may lose access to Kadenze.

Students with Disabilities: Students who have documented disabilities and who want to request accommodations should refer to the student help article via the Kadenze support center. Kadenze is committed to making sure that our site is accessible to everyone. Configure your accessibility settings in your Kadenze Account Settings.