Plain Graphics and Design

The accessibility of design and publishing software has brought layout tools to anyone with a computer. When done thoughtfully, graphics and design can add considerable impact and insight to written communications. However, the desire to decorate or create flashy designs can overshadow the main objective of plain language communication, which is to convey a message clearly.

Regardless of the type of publication (book, website, report, announcement, etc.), a professional layout is now expected in today’s marketplace. Through this course, you will be able to recognize the components of effective design and the visual elements that are essential to reach your audience. You will also describe the constraints involved in design projects through case studies and discussions.

Instructional hours: 15


Location: Online
Format: Self-paced within deadlines set by instructor
Duration: 5 weeks
Tuition: $555
Can be applied to:
Plain Language Certificate

Upcoming Offerings

Register for a course at any time, with the option to apply to a program later.

Start Date
Seats Available
Start DateTue, Sep 10, 2024
  • Tue, Sep 10 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Sep 17 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Sep 24 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Oct 1 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Oct 8 (self-paced all week)
InstructorFlora Gordon
Seats Available0
Start DateTue, Feb 25, 2025
  • Tue, Feb 25 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Mar 4 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Mar 11 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Mar 18 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Mar 25 (self-paced all week)
Seats Available18

What you will learn

After completing this course, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Describe graphic design principles that affect readability and legibility
  • Classify effective and ineffective examples of graphic design
  • Describe the role of a design brief in a design project
  • Specify criteria for choosing appropriate typography and imagery to support a clean, accessible design

How you will learn and be evaluated

Prepare to spend 6-10 hours per week on coursework, including:

  • Readings
  • Assignments
  • Online discussions

You will be evaluated on:

  • Assignments
  • Participation in discussions

Learning Materials

No textbook is required. We will provide all course materials online.

Recommended reading:

Williams, R. The Non-designer’s Design Book, 4th Edition. Peachpit Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0133966152. Also available as e-book. 

Technical Requirements

For online courses, you will need a computer with audio and microphone that is connected to the internet. Canvas is the online system that will be used for the course. For more information and online support, visit Online Learning.

To get the most from this course, you should be comfortable with:

English Language Requirements

To succeed in this course, you will need an advanced level of written and spoken English. If you are unsure whether your English language skills are sufficient, we recommend you complete the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with the following minimums:

  • Overall band score minimum 6.5
  • No band below 6.0
  • Writing band score minimum 8.0

Please note we can’t refund your registration fees after the course start date if you find your English language skills are not adequate.

If you have questions or concerns about your English language proficiency, we encourage you to contact your local IELTS Test Centre.