Graphic Design History and Methods

Graphic Design History and Methods

Maryland Institute College of Art

Renowned authors and leading faculty at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Brockett Horne and Ellen Lupton challenge designers to build effective, sustainable, ethical, and rewarding creative practices.

Graphic design is all around us. From apps and infographics to theme parks and bike lanes, every public place and interactive product employs design to influence behavior and craft memorable experiences. In a series of conversations, Horne and Lupton combine ideas from art, business, psychology, and critical theory with a range of new and established design methodologies. This program offers insights into essential aspects of graphic design practice, from history to theory and methods.

Course 1, Introduction to Graphic Design History, provides an overview of graphic design history. These sessions will change your understanding of everything from fonts and brands to posters and propaganda. Lessons cover a range of topics from early printing to Art Nouveau, Constructivism, Dada, Bauhaus, and current design discourse. Short quizzes and exercises help students apply their historical knowledge to create designed objects.

Course 2, Graphic Design Methods, examines the design process itself. Students will experiment with different approaches to making and thinking. Topics include storytelling, authorship and ownership, systems and identities, multisensory design, principles of design thinking, behavior and interaction, and more. Creative prompts invite students to apply new theories and methods to intriguing challenges, while quick quizzes help students retain their learning.

What students are saying:

"Ellen Lupton and Brockett Horne's creative collaboration makes this lecture series both engaging and entertaining (while still being educational, of course). The assignments were well thought out, and lots of fun. Thank you for such a terrific course! :D "

"Good course to get a handle on graphic design. I am a musician but enjoyed taking this course to learn more about how to make album art work and posters for my shows. The two teachers were great to watch together and motivated me to keep learning."

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply tools of critical inquiry to creative form-making
  • Actively apply conceptual tools and techniques to basic design problems
  • Analyze relationships among designers, users, process, and artifacts


2 Courses
10 Sessions / 6.0 hours of work per session
46 Lesson videos
Course 1: Introduction to Graphic Design Starts Sep 2, 2016
  • Session 1: Origins of Text and Graphic Design
  • Session 2: Liberated Styles of the Late 1800s
  • Session 3: Avant-Garde: New Representations in Objects and Space
  • Session 4: Mechanical Abstractions and Photomontage
  • Session 5: Practicality in Typography
  • Session 6: International Styles
  • Session 7: Cultural Revolutions
Course 2: Graphic Design Methods * Starts Apr 30, 2019
  • Session 1: Concepts
  • Session 2: Engaging Users
  • Session 3: Makers
* Program exclusive course

Featured Coursework


Skill Level : Beginner


  • Access to note-taking tools and basic design tools, such as pencils, scissors and tape, drawing pens


  • Laptop, desktop, or tablet device


  • Access to digital drawing software, such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop
Upon completion you'll earn
  • A verified Specialist Certificate that prove you completed the Program and mastered the subject.*
  • A verified course Certificate for each individual course you complete in the program.*
  • 3.0 transferable academic college credit(s) (additional fees apply)

* Each certificate earned is endorsed by Kadenze and the offering institution(s).

Price: $300 USD *

Add college credit at checkout or later for just $900

Specialist Certificate

Receive a Specialist Certificate by earning a Certificate of Accomplishment in each course within a Program.
Students earn a Certificate of Accomplishment for any course they complete with a grade of 65% or higher.
Using its unique link, you can share your certificate with everyone from future employers and schools to friends, family, and colleagues.

Credit Eligible

3.0 units
Kadenze has partnered with Maryland Institute College of Art to offer this course for college credit.*
*If enrolled for credit, this rigorous college-level Program will provide credits that are recognized and transferable from the partnering institution upon completion. Credit as workload and transferability is defined by the granting institution. Participation in this Program does not represent an acceptance decision or admission from the institution that offers them.

*In order to receive college credit, learners must complete all courses within the Program. Credit is not given for partial completion.

Why join a Program?

Becoming a specialist in a subject requires a highly tuned learning experience connecting multiple related courses. Programs unlock exclusive content that helps you develop a deep understanding of your subject. From your first course to your final summative assessment, our thoughtfully curated curriculum enables you to demonstrate your newly acquired skills.

Program Benefits
Access an exclusive curriculum taught by expert instructors and industry leaders
Earn a verified Specialist Certificate with a unique shareable link
Submit and share coursework
Enroll in credit-eligible Programs and receive college credit (when applicable)
Receive grades and feedback
Build a portfolio to showcase your work
Participate in forum discussions
Receive exclusive discounts on select Program materials
Test your new specialty with a summative assessment
Collaborate with peers