Design Director Online Course


Design Director is an e-tutored personal online course on graphic design. It includes design theory and practice, methods of developing ideas for design and advertising, and techniques for running creative projects (working with the brief, organizing creative sessions, presenting concepts and more).

  • Duration: 10 weeks, lessons once a week
  • Author: Vitaly Kolesnik, the Creative Director at Dancing Water.

Design Director’s goal is to help designers who need to quickly improve professional knowledge and skills. Amongst our clients are:

  • Design studios and ad agencies, aiming to give new designers a quick and efficient start or to move their employees to a new level of professionalism.
  • Companies, aiming to give their interns a stronger professional basis.
  • Designers, aiming to improve their skills.

During the course the student will be in a constant online contact with a tutor via an online account. The tutor’s main goal is to help the student develop his or her design skills and knowledge in the most efficient way. Once a week the next lesson will appear in the student’s online account. The tutor will answer questions and give feedback on completed assignments. After completion of the course, you will have access to all your account materials for an unlimited amount of time.

Moneyback guarantee: If, after the first lesson, you don’t like the way the course works, you can receive a full refund.

Course Program

The course program consists of four main areas:

  1. Design Theory. Composition, proportions, color theory, typography and the other most important aspects of graphic design.
  2. Main Design Genres. How to design books, periodicals, identities, advertising.
  3. Creativity Techniques. Effective tools which help to develop great design ideas in a short time.
  4. Managing Creative Projects. Recommendations on how to run a creative project, from brief to presentation.

1. Design Theory

  1. Human perception. Space as force field. Balance and movement. Perception of form.
  2. The language of graphic design. Space, form, color, type, image, composition, physical construction.
  3. Form. Figure and background. Positive and negative space. The language of geometric forms.
  4. Color. Color wheel. Working with color contrast. Combining colors. Psychologic perception of color.
  5. Type. Typography and typefaces. Type classifications.
  6. Format and proportion. Historic formats, proportions and harmony. Notable proportions and proportion systems. Where and how to use proportions.
  7. Visual organization in design. Idea, function and form. Composition. Grouping. Collage techniques. Building and using typographic grids.
  8. Semantic organization in graphic design. Sign, symbol, metaphor, analogy, association.
  9. Structural organization in graphic design. Emphasizing the structure.
  10. Physical organization in graphic design. Unleashing the potential of physical construction.
  11. Notable figures in graphic design.
  12. Notable schools in graphic design.

Every topic is supported with practical assignments and tutor’s feedback.

2. Design Genres

  1. Book design. Choosing format, defining margins, designing page layout.
  2. Periodicals. Designing newspapers and magazines. Using typographic grids.
  3. Booklet design specifics.
  4. Stationery design. Card, letterhead, invitation, leaflet, flyer.
  5. Logo design. Designing distinctive and functional logos.
  6. Corporate identity. Building a style guide.
  7. Advertising. Essentials of advertising design. Developing ideas for advertising.

3. Creativity Techniques for Idea Development in Graphic Design

  1. Concept Challenge. A technique of generating alternative creative solutions.
  2. Paraphrasing. Paraphrasing helps find unexpected directions in the process of searching for ideas. One of the simplest techniques for working with a creative brief.
  3. Random Stimulus. A method of quick idea generation.
  4. Reversal. A method of provocative idea generation.
  5. Morphological Analysis. Combinatorial idea improvement / development.
  6. Visual Matrix. Using visual associations for design idea development.
  7. Style Constructor. Generating visually diverse versions of a design concept.
  8. Idea Selector. How to evaluate ideas and select the most effective ones.

4. Managing Creative Projects

  1. Creative project workflow. Overview of creative project’s main stages.
  2. Kick-off meeting with the client. Questions checklist.
  3. Creative briefing. Recommended structure.
  4. Idea development stages.. Understanding the process of idea development. Where to find ideas.
  5. Brainstorming rules. How to prepare and run an effective brainstorming session.
  6. Idea generation. How to choose the idea generation tools most appropriate for your project.
  7. Idea crystallization. . How to build powerful ideas. Evaluating ideas.
  8. Idea Presentation. How to present ideas to a client.
  9. Design Presentation. How to present graphic design concepts.
  10. Idea Realization. Main ingredients of successful idea realization.

Bonus for Freelancers

If you are planning to start your own small creative business, you’re qualified for this free bonus section.

  • Freelance Perspectives. What you will have to learn and what you will have to unlearn to become a successful freelance designer.
  • Freelancer’s Skills for long-term success. A review of the most needed skills for being a successful freelancer.
  • Planning Your Future. How to smoothly switch to freelance work.
  • Organizing Your Office Space. How to organize an office at home or elsewhere.
  • Setting Your Prices. Price arithmetic.
  • Client Relations Principles. Working with Tough Clients.


Drop us an email if you are interested and we’ll discuss the details.