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.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Flora Gordon $555.00 29 Register
Online - - TBD $555.00 30 Register

Instructional hours: 15

Schedule clarification: This course begins on the first date listed and ends six days after the last date listed. Between those times, you work at your own pace within the timelines set by the instructor.

What will I learn?

On completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • 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 will I learn?

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

  • Weekly course modules accessed through Canvas
  • Group assignments
  • Independent writing assignments
  • Extra reading
  • Online research and discussion groups

Course materials will be available 24/7, and assignment deadlines will be posted well in advance, allowing you to set your own pace for learning.

How will I be evaluated?

  • Participation in discussions
  • Group activities
  • Assignments
  • Final assignment 

Textbooks and learning materials

You are responsible for purchasing the recommended text, which is available in print and e-book formats.

All other course materials will be provided online.

Recommended text:

Williams, R. The Non-designer's Design Book. 4th Ed. Peachpit Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0133966152 (e-book available)

Technical requirements

To get the most out of this online course, we strongly recommend general proficiency with the following:

Hardware and software requirements 

We deliver this course using SFU's online course management system, Canvas. You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions on the first day of the course. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.

New to online learning? See About Online Learning for helpful videos and additional information.

No design software is required for this course.

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.

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