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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 .

Helpful hint: When you are ready to register, write down your class number(s) before selecting Register Now .

  • 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 and Spring

  • 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 Fall and Spring

  • 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-509W

    Designing + Dyeing "by Hand" -

    To create beautiful, effective, sellable surface/textile designs, it is critical to understand and develop ideas and concepts thoroughly before beginning work on the computer. This new class therefore features a variety of "by hand" methods that can be used in creating final designs for apparel, paper, accessories, and home decor. Shibori dyeing, batik/resist printing, hand stenciling, low-water immersion, foiling, silk screening, embroidery, embellishments, and sustainable dyeing techniques will all be explored. A final collection will then be created based on the "by hand" technique of your choice.

    Prerequisites: Knowledge of color theory; basics drawing skills are recommended but not required.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring

  • 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-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

    In this new course students will learn about the many styles and techniques used in creating surface designs as well as be presented with designer case studies, product categories beyond textiles, and themes in demand by manufacturers. Hands-on projects will include developing coordinated surface design collections, taking a collection from concept through refinement, and applying designs to products. Digital techniques in both Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop will be covered including scanning hand-drawn artwork, setting up accurate repeat patterns, changing colors, scale and textures, and color indexing for mass production. An overview of career opportunities for surface designers will also be discussed. This is an ideal course for professional graphic designers, illustrators and artists, as well as more advanced students studying graphic design, textile design or illustration. Prerequisites: Basic drawing, color theory, design and computer skills using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, or by permission of an Art Center advisor.

    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-552W

    Letterpress Printing 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-445W

    Linocut Prints Letterpress Wk

    In this hands-on workshop you will learn the process of carving linoleum blocks and using the Vandercook No. 4 Proof Press for limited edition printing. In this workshop we will cover the fundamentals of carving, tools, color mixing, and the reduction print process. Participants will produce a limited edition print.

    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-296

    Photoshop Kick-Start 2

    This course continues where Photoshop Kick-Start 1 left off. Many of the skills introduced in Kick Start 1 will now be taken to the next level, with higher expectations, and will include color correction, selection techniques and layer masks. The class will focus on two assignments throughout the seven-week course, giving students ample opportunity to develop their concepts into strong portfolio pieces.

    Prerequisite: Photoshop Kick-Start 1 or equivalent working knowledge of Photoshop, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor. Access to a computer with current version of Photoshop is required.

    2 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-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 and Spring

  • 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 and Spring

  • ACN-508W

    Textile/Surface: Explore

    In a world where many designs feature "generic" surface/textile motifs and collections, this course will emphasize finding your own unique design style and sensibility. Find out what distinguishes you from other artists as you develop a portfolio of several collections during the course. We will "mine" journals and past artwork, transform written product, personalize a global trend, and perform other in-class projects that will free you to take risks, push through difficulty, and find what inspires you. Creating a unique branding strategy through social media and website design will also be discussed and critiqued.

    Prerequisites: Introduction to Surface Design, or Design for Textiles + Surfaces, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor. Access to a computer, scanner and printer, plus previous Photoshop or Illustrator experience is helpful.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring

  • 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

  • ACN-580W

    Valentine Card Letterpress Wk

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

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring