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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-436

    Advanced Surface Design

    In this advanced-level surface design class, you will complete 14 collections (1 per week) with the goal of building a full portfolio that you can use to apply for jobs in the industry or show potential clients. For those interested in pursuing surface design professionally, this class will provide an opportunity to work at a much deeper level into various themes and develop a signature style.

    Prerequisite: Introduction to Surface Design.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Spring

  • ACN-470

    Art Directing Teams

    The transition from being a designer to the leader a creative team can present many challenges. How do you guide a multidisciplinary group towards one common goal while still empowering each discipline to engage and contribute? In this course you will explore case studies of current companies revolutionizing the creative industry, discuss leadership styles and identify strategic, change-making role models. Interview creative leaders to gain a better understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, develop your own brand mission, and leave the course with a network who can help guide your career. Guest speakers who have had success in art directing multidisciplinary teams will share their experiences. An ideal course for designers or art directors looking to move into greater leadership roles, individuals interested in what creative leadership looks like in a variety of fields, and students interested in illustration, graphic design, advertising, industrial design or photography. No prerequisites other than a curious mind and a sense of collaborative thinking.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall

  • 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-469

    Craft Your Creative Brand

    In order to get noticed and build a long-term creative career, freelancers and artists must develop their own distinct, marketable brands. In this course ideal for creative entrepreneurs, aspiring creative professionals, designers, photographers, illustrators and artists you will explore your aspirational goals, core values and distinct approach as the basis for designing your visual brand identity. You will focus on crafting and presenting a consistent visual message relevant to clients, collectors or patrons. Approaches to marketing, content creation, curation and establishing authorship will be explored. No prerequisite.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-133W

    Creative Letterform

    In Creative Letterform, you will learn to use letterforms as design elements and as a means of communication to convey verbal, emotional and associative information. Gain an understanding of the illustrative and character qualities of letterforms and become familiar with the personalities of various letterforms as you explore contrast, shape, size, color and direction. Discover how to create compositions using the form and construction of letters-straights and curves, verticals and horizontals can produce strong directional movement; thick and thin strokes and varying weights of letterforms can create textures, patterns and rhythms.

    No prerequisites.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring

  • 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-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-446W

    Designing Pop-Up Books Wksp

    In this 10-week workshop, you will explore 3D paper engineering mechanisms used in the publishing world - from children's pop-up books, pull tabs and novelty board books to 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. 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.

    Noncredit

    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 for prospective Interaction Design majors.* Please note: due to an instructor schedule conflict, class meeting has changed to THURSDAY nights.

    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-258

    Intro to Surface Design

    Discover the limitless possibilities-and career opportunities-of the burgeoning arena of surface design! In this new course ideal for advanced students and professionals in the fields of graphic design, textile design and illustration, we will explore the many styles and techniques used in creating surface designs. Over the course of 14 weeks, we will review designer case studies, product categories beyond textiles, and themes in demand by manufacturers. Using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, we will also scan hand-drawn artwork; set up accurate repeat patterns; change colors, scale and textures; and color index for mass production. Finally, we will develop coordinated surface design collections, take a collection from concept through refinement, and apply designs to products. Prerequisites: Basic drawing, color theory, design and computer skills using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor. The $30 materials fee will allow students will have an opportunity to see their designs printed on fabric.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Spring

  • 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-557W

    Letterpress Holiday Card Wkshp

    Design, hand-set and letterpress print your own unique holiday cards, notes or gifts, using Archetype's extensive collection of foundry type, ornaments, dingbats and decorative rules. You will be introduced to the basics of hand-set typography and letterpress printing on the Vandercook proof press. Class meets at Art Center's Archetype Press. Limited to 10 students.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall

  • ACN-104W

    Make it Great:Design Concepts

    This course introduces new and intermediate students to the skill sets needed in the design and illustrative fields. Each week students are introduced to a variety of core fundamentals necessary to succeed in the applied arts. Topics covered include an overview of comp sketching (people, places and objects), perspective (to create accurate space and dimension in indoor and outdoor environments), composition, color theory and visual communication. Ideal for those interested in the fields of graphic design, advertising and illustration, this course is designed to support and reinforce the skills necessary in the creation of successful content. More info: www.artcenter.robertpastrana.com

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • 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-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