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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-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-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-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-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-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