Design and Composition

What makes any image work, in graphic design or photography? Composition, the assembly or construction of elements, is the artful arrangement that guides the viewer’s eye and unifies a designer’s work. In this online 2D Design and Composition course, students will develop compositional skills by analyzing everything from Grand Masters to Madison Avenue ads to tubes of toothpaste. Through a series of hands-on projects, students will learn the principles of effective composition.


Photoshop Basics, Illustrator Basics, Color Theory, or equivalent experience.


Online Learning supported by qualified College Facilitators or Online Instructors.


Students must successfully complete all the components of the online course material. Evaluation is based on hands-on exercises in each module of the course.

MODULE 1: Shape and Form

Through composition, a design can be playful, serious, humorous, or moving. In Module 1, students will explore the concept of two-dimensional shape, a foundation principle in graphic design. They will look at the way leading artists and designers use positive and negative space, creating intriguing effects through open, closed, and divided space.

MODULE 2: The Elements of Design

Too big, too small, or just right? Module 2 explores elements of design, looking at how unified compositions are created through proximity, repetition, continuation, and color. Balance and rhythm are explored as creative compositional strategies and students will learn how to use the “Golden Section,” discovered in 5th Century Greece, in contemporary compositions.

MODULE 3: Energy and Movement

How do designers attract the eye? By creating compositions with energy and movement. In this module, students will learn how to create a strong focal point and move the viewer’s eye along a chosen route in their work. Students will also look at how overlapping planes energize a layout through push and pull.

0 hours
Course Duration
Request Information