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Course Descriptions

The classes listed below are not necessarily offered every term. For current class schedules, or to register, select Register Now .

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  • ACN-202

    Brand Experience Design

    In order to stay competitive and connected with their customers, today more and more brands are morphing into multi-threaded brands. Brands are now more relevant, personal and experiential in their customers' daily lives, which means branding strategists and interaction designers now need to play key roles in determining how they grow and thrive. In this course you will learn how to collaboratively build successful brands and deliver immersive experiences. You will use trends and consumer insights research, interaction design and branding strategy projects to deliver enriching experiences for your target audience. An ideal class for design professionals, branding strategists and corporate executives, as well as students applying to ArtCenter's full-time Interaction Design, Graphic Design, Advertising and Industrial Design degree programs.

    Prerequisites: Passion and creativity! Prior design experience or fundamental design coursework highly recommended. Basic computer skills and access to a tablet or computer (desk or laptop) are required.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-419W

    Creative Process Demystified

    This one-day course will help to demystify the creative process. Whether your project involves a logo, website, illustration or entertainment design-oriented work, by the end of the day, you'll have a solid understanding of each of the different stages of the creative process and how to use them in your particular area of interest to come up with more creative solutions and make better decisions from the early sketch to the final project in the fields of illustration, graphic design, entertainment design and advertising.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • ACN-356W

    Creative Sketchbook Seminar

    Develop creative ideas, imagery and your own personal style, all within a sketchbook format. The sketchbook is the most unintimidating place to explore and is the perfect vehicle for creating the seeds of future projects. It can also become a fascinating work of art unto itself. In this inspiring one-day workshop, students will explore a variety of media and creative exercises including collage, evidence journaling and collaboration. Great for beginners or beleaguered professionals longing for some creative fun. Bring a new sketchbook,pencils and box lunch. Optional supplies: Collage materials/found papers, acrylic paints, inks, brushes, pastels, glue sticks, aluminum foil and blow-dryers.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-344

    Creative Strategies Pro

    Imagine a cure for cancer. Now imagine what the the logo would look like. This course outlines the breadth of creative services and approaches needed to tell compelling stories to market and sell professional services in the areas of academia, health care, insurance, legal marketing, financial services, environment, government, and more. Learn to convert complex business ideas into effective brand strategies and integrated marketing campaigns. Gain an understanding of how creative fits into the world of professional services by developing fictitious case studies or using real life existing examples. Topics covered include: brand, marketing, sales, thought leadership, design, technology. This is an ideal course for working professionals (junior designers, designers, art directors) and design students alike who want to deepen their creative corporate experience, glean best practices, and/or build upon their portfolios. Prerequisites: mid-level design experience and strong working knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite and PowerPoint and access to a personal computer with this software). Multimedia skills (Web/video/animation) are encouraged, but not mandatory.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Summer

  • ACN-290W

    DIY Graphic Design

    Employing strong original and conceptual thinking, this class will explore the craft and language of visual communication in a non-digital environment, expanding students' awareness and appreciation of the tactile quality of hand-crafted artwork. Traditional graphic design techniques will be the preferred method for producing class projects; students will use computers only in the production of artwork and to output digital prints. This class will introduce students to British trailblazers in the field of graphic design during the non-digital era. These designers, who produced record sleeves, posters, magazines and more, are the inspiration for this class.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring and Summer

  • INT-102L

    Design 1 - Materials Lab

    This non-credit lab is specifically for ACN Graphic Design students concurrently enrolled in INT-102X Design 1 and who are prospective students for ArtCenter's Graphic Design degree program. Lab meets weeks 3 through 9 and will instruct students in the safe operation of certain shop equipment (including the table saw, band saw, and lathe), so that they may access the shop to complete class projects during the term.

    This lab requires concurrent enrollment in INT-102X.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring and Summer

  • ACN-007

    Design 360

    Are you interested in art or design, but not sure which area suits you best? Would you like to sample each major offered at Art Center? Then this class is for you! Design 360 explores the major art and design fields offered in Art Center's degree program, including: advertising, graphic design, photography, filmmaking, fine art, illustration, product design, environmental design, entertainment design, and transportation design. Through projects centered around one major theme, you will have a chance to explore the principles of each of these art and design disciplines. Drawing skills will be emphasized as an essential way to communicate your ideas. This class is the perfect first class for adult students (over age 18) who are either new to design or seeking to expand their creative horizons.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-544

    Designing Pop-Up Books +more

    In this new course, you will explore 3D paper engineering mechanisms used in publishing from children's pop-up books, pull tabs and novelty board books to unique pop-up greeting cards and fine art installation environments. Learn techniques and mechanisms to create movement with paper from 2D to 3D, and animate your ideas using paper as your surface and tool. Each student will develop a concept proposal or dummy book ready for submission to your specific genre. Pre-press production and publishing submission requirements will also be covered. Skills learned can be applied to a range of disciplines including entertainment, illustration, graphic design, fine art, product, and environmental design.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Summer

  • ACN-175

    Essential Typography

    Typography is the modus operandi graphic designers use to communicate and reinforce the content of graphic design pieces. With its strong emphasis on the typographical grid, this course is a vital foundation for editorial design and multi-page layout. This is an ideal course for students and designers who wish to use typography with greater confidence. Gain increased sensitivity to the details of typographic form, paragraph format, page-layout dynamics and the expressive potential of type. Topics also include type characteristics and nomenclature.

    Prerequisites: It is strongly recommended that you have basic computer skills in Illustrator and InDesign (or similar graphics programs). Access to a computer with a font library is required.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-332

    Graphic Design

    This concept-oriented course is about integrating typography and images applied to projects such as magazine layouts, posters and transmedia identity systems to communicate a story, a message or a marketing idea for its intended audience. Students are encouraged to develop problem-solving and research skills in defining the appropriateness of a design. Note: This is not a computer class. However, students should have some computer experience, plus access to a computer with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign or similar graphics programs.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-030

    Intro to Graphic Design

    Explore the process of problem solving for graphics through realistic design projects. Please note that this is not a computer class but rather a course in which you will be introduced to the fundamental approaches to graphic design as you develop your conceptual process, design skills and presentation techniques. Logotypes and a range of other design projects will be assigned.

    Prerequisite: It is strongly recommended that you have access to a computer and some experience using Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-200

    Intro to Interaction Design

    This course offers a hands-on introduction to interaction design, the craft of how people interact with products, systems and services. Through brainstorming and critiquing different types of user experiences such as mobile and social applications, websites, gestural interfaces, games, consumer electronics, smart products, tangibles and art, students will become familiar with the range of design elements and methods that make up interaction design. Equal parts thinker and maker, students will conceive, design and produce simple interactive projects. An ideal course for students thinking of applying to Art Center's Interaction Design program, adults considering a career change and those interested in understanding this emerging field. Prerequisite: curiosity and a desire to create never-seen-before solutions. Fundamental design skills are recommended but not required. Basic computer skills are required. Transferable*

    3 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-574W

    Intro to Letterpress Printing

    Explore the art of letterpress printing in this hands-on workshop. This is a great introduction to setting and printing metal type, where you can take advantage of more than 2,500 drawers of foundry type in the Archetype Press collection. Learn how to use a pica rule, composing stick, leading, spacing, the layout of the California Job Case, mix ink and how to operate a Vandercook proof press. You will set, proof and print multiple copies of a poem or a few lines of text. We will then distribute type and clean up. No prerequisites or previous experience required.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-256

    Intro to Package Design

    Explore the exciting and changing realm of package design. In this 14-week course, you will develop creative packaging solutions that attract visual attention through the use of 3D form, packaging materials, typography, color and graphics. The course will also explore sustainability issues and emerging technologies that will change consumer interaction with packaging in the future. An ideal course for designers seeking to add packaging design to their portfolio or increase their awareness of the packaging field.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-089

    Introduction to 3D Design

    Designers and artists work with form and space to create meaningful and useful products, communications and experiences. In this course, you'll explore the basic elements and principles of three-dimensional design as a means for artistic expression and design solutions of all kinds. Develop a working knowledge of the processes and vocabulary associated with three-dimensional form. Topics include form, space, mass, weight, balance, rhythm, unit forms, structure and balance. This course focuses on principles and elements of design and the design process. While digital tools may be used, assignments and exercises are created by hand and are conceptual in nature. The course is an ideal foundation for beginning- and intermediate-level students interested in transportation and product design, architecture, 3D modeling, sculpting, environmental design, furniture design and more. Open to beginning and intermediate-level students.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-040

    Introduction to Advertising

    This course offers a hands-on introduction to the art, and business, of advertising. You'll sharpen your conceptual thinking skills as you brainstorm innovative marketing strategies for a range of products and services, then create magazine, newspaper and billboard campaigns that bring those ideas to life in a smart, engaging way. An ideal course for students thinking of applying to the Advertising program at Art Center; adults contemplating a career change; or those just interested in learning how advertising professionals think and how the ad campaigns we see every day are created.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-552W

    Letterpress Wood Type

    Get your hands dirty! Experience Archetype Press' collection of vintage wood type. Learn how to hand-set type and print on a Vandercook cylinder proof press. Explore the process of letterpress printing through composition, press lock-up, inking techniques and more. Over the course of four sessions, you will design and print a limited edition of 11" x 14" posters with two or more colors.

    No previous experience necessary. Note: Please wear comfortable closed-toe shoes and clothes you don't mind getting stained with ink.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-298W

    Manufacturing Techniques

    As a manufacturing center, Los Angeles provides a tremendous resource for designers; just about anything you want to create or put into production can be made here. In this seven-week course, you will receive information on how to work with a wide range of materials and industrial processes including glass, wood, metal, plastic and ceramics. Materials, technologies, processes, production, product planning and the business context of manufacturing will be explored. This class also includes information about working with vendors in the United States and outsourcing overseas, lifecycle analysis, recycling and lean manufacturing methods. Design exercises will be given to explore materials and manufacturing processes.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • ACN-128

    Mastering Color:Artist/Design

    Color is one of the main communicators in any visual endeavor. In this seven-week workshop, students will learn to use color in ways that enhance the aesthetics and usability of their work. Topics covered include: understanding and controlling the three characteristics of color; dealing with tonal and color keys; developing proficiencies using the inherent relationships of colors within the color wheel; and the psychology of color. Discussions of color throughout the visual arts, including photo and film, will also be covered. Class projects will help students become proficient in color mixing and deciding which colors are the best ones relative to a given assignment. This class is ideal for those interested in illustration, design, advertising and fine art, and may be taken in conjunction with Mastering Composition and Design. For more info visit: www.artcenter.robertpastrana.com

    1 unit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-127

    Mastering Composition + Design

    Developing a keen awareness of the communicative power of shapes and designing expressive compositions are the foundations of visual expression. In this seven-week class, you will learn to use design and compositional elements to enhance the effectiveness of your work. Composition will be discussed at two levels: the micro level, managing shapes inherent in the design process; and the macro level, learning effective ways to compose on the page. Time will be spent learning how to effectively control visual priorities on the page, whether in a painting, logo, website or drawing. With open assignments based on a student's area of interest, this course can serve to enhance ongoing projects and inform new ones. This course is suitable for those interested in illustration, design, advertising and fine art, and may be taken in conjunction with Mastering Color for Illustrators and Designers. For more info visit: www.artcenter.robertpastrana.com

    1 unit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-211

    Motion Design 1

    Motion graphics, as incorporated in broadcast design, film effects or the Internet, is a fast-growing field. This class will provide a working knowledge of current tools and techniques and explore issues of rhythm, space and time using animation, sound and video. Students will build a repertoire of different types of movement and learn keyframe editing and interpolation, masking, effects, basic sound editing and storyboarding for motion. Adobe After Effects for the Macintosh is used as a teaching tool, but the skills learned can be transferred to any application or platform. Transferable (see REGISTRATION INFO-COURSE CREDIT for details).

    3 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-589W

    Powerful Presentations

    How to tell it so you can sell it. Whether you are a creative or business professional, you must learn to connect effectively with your audience and communicate your ideas in a compelling way. This inspirational workshop will help you hone one of the most critical and often overlooked skills that everyone must possess: the professional presentation. Learn how to take your presentation skills to the next level using words, voice, body language and visuals. Mastering these skills is vital to your professional success whether you are a designer, artist, entrepreneur or business leader.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-139

    Sketching for Designers

    Learn to communicate your ideas through quick sketching techniques using a variety of media, including pencil, pen and markers. Emphasis is on developing visual communication skills for graphic design and packaging, product and advertising. Class will cover type indication, 3D form development and observational sketching through still life. This is an ideal class for designers who need to brush up on freehand drawing skills.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-387

    Sketching for Non-Designers

    This class is designed for everyone who says they "can't draw" because we believe that you can. With a few simple techniques and practice, you will learn to sketch quickly and confidently and use your newfound skills in day-to-day activities - from note-taking to leading meetings on a whiteboard, or winning at Pictionary.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • ACN-434W

    Surface Design: Illustrator

    This one-day workshop provides an overview of Adobe Illustrator tools, tips, tricks and best work practices needed to create commonly used vector-based repeat patterns for the surface/textile industry. Hands on projects during the workshop will allow you to practice full drop, half drop, brick, diamond, mirror and scatter-toss repeats. Other topics include precise measurements, color editing, pattern swatches, pattern maker, manual pattern layout, custom brushes, technical requirements for mass production, and more. Adobe Illustrator is ideal to use for vector-based artwork and is equally important as Photoshop is for continuous tone artwork. Equal knowledge of both programs is crucial for professional level work in the field of surface/textile design.

    Prerequisite: Digital Design 1, or basic knowledge of Adobe Illustrator.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-433W

    Surface Design: Photoshop

    This one-day workshop provides an overview of Adobe Photoshop tools, tips, tricks and best work practices necessary in creating commonly used repeat patterns for the surface/textile industry. In-class hands-on projects will be done to practice full drop, half drop, brick, diamond, mirror and scatter-toss repeats. Other topics include precise measurements, color editing, define pattern, pattern layers, manual pattern layout using both transform and offset options, technical requirements for mass production, and more. Adobe Photoshop is ideal for continuous tone artwork and is equally important as Adobe Illustrator is for vector artwork. Equal knowledge of both programs is crucial for professional level work in the field of surface/textile design.

    Prerequisite: Digital Design 1 or basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-484W

    The Next Great Idea

    In this one-day workshop, you will develop a keen awareness and understanding of the methods that artists, designers, and copywriters use to grow their creativity, with special emphasis on creative problem solving in a visually-oriented workplace. Gain a better understanding of the creative process, simplified; from idea to final execution and how it differs from what most people do today; how to come up with a wide range of potential solutions for visuals and/ or written word; what to do to put yourself in a creative state of mind; and understand the differences between creative play and creative problem solving - and how both are necessary. Open to students and working professionals with an interest in advertising, illustration, fine art, graphic design, photography, film, and product design.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • ACN-125

    Typography 1

    This course explores the structural and spatial properties of letterforms, providing the groundwork for display typography, logo design or alphabet design/redesign. The course introduces the five basic type families and expands on that vocabulary to include an investigation into hybrid, modified, digital and hand-drawn typefaces. Topics covered include properties of scale, proportion, figure-ground, cropping and overlap, as well as contrasts of weight, width, emphasis and direction. Pencil, pen, brush and ink and computer programs will be used, with attention given to both personal style and craftsmanship.

    Prerequisites: Access to a computer with a font library, plus basic skills in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

    Transferable.* *Not applicable to current ArtCenter degree students. See "Course Credit" menu under https://www.artcenter.edu/acn/resources.jsp for additional details.

    3 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer