Adobe Education
Educators and Professional Development Specialists

Visual Design CS5: Foundations of Design and Print Production (full curriculum)

Curriculum Published 9/15/10 Last updated on 5/16/18
Visual Design: Foundations of Design and Print Production is a yearlong, project-based curriculum that develops career and communication skills in print production and graphic design, using Adobe tools. Visual Design develops four key skill areas:
  • Project management and collaboration
  • Design
  • Research and communication
  • Professional print production using graphic design tools
Students develop these key skills in a spiral—each project adds more challenging skills to foundation proficiencies. Students experience subject areas and skills across careers in graphic esign, photography, print and layout design, and production. Adobe collaborated with a community of educators across the US and UK to develop the appropriate depth and breadth of each project.
Additionally, Adobe collaborated and co-developed this content with the International Society of Technology Education (ISTE) to create standards-aligned, career-track, course materials that focus on print production and graphic design. Visual Design addresses each of these areas, using a project-based approach. Each project has phases that follow a design and development process, from project planning and analysis to evaluation and distribution. Students gain experience through real-world projects that help them better understand the roles and processes across a broad range of careers involving visual design. To simulate a professional work environment, students gradually migrate their design work from an individual process to a group process, focused on personal and client work. Design work by its very nature is iterative, so the projects contain activities that require students to evaluate and then redesign and rework their communications. Specific attention has been paid to developing concepts and principles for thorough, effective design.
This content prepares students for the Adobe Certified Associate, Visual Communication using Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended examination.

The Full curriculum PDF file is a PDF Portfolio, which cannot be viewed in your web browser. Please download the file to your computer and open it in Adobe Reader 9 or X to view.

  • Photoshop

    Editing and compositing for photos, web and mobile app designs, 3D artwork, videos, and more.

  • Illustrator

    Create beautiful vector art and illustrations.

  • InDesign

    Craft elegant layouts at your desk or on the go.

Age Levels
Communication and Collaboration, Research and Information Fluency, Digital Citizenship, Creativity and Innovation, Technology Operations and Concepts, Critical Thinking Problem Solving and Decision Making

To complete this curriculum, you will need:
- Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended installed on all machines
- Adobe InDesign CS5 installed on all machines
- Adobe Illustrator CS5 installed on all machines
- Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro installed on all machines
- Student technical guides

CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
4 / 5 • 15 Ratings

Resources (1)

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Comments (73)

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Stoyanka Veselinova

Posted on 4/3/19 3:06:12 PM Permalink

​Still very helpful. Thank you

Dr. Tarek Bahaa El Deen

Posted on 4/11/17 3:19:10 PM Permalink

Really it's very helpful Curriculum

I appreciate your work, thank you for sharing

I'll use it in my graphic design class.

Willie Moore

Posted on 4/3/14 10:38:52 PM Permalink

I like the contents!

Denise White

Posted on 3/18/14 5:14:33 PM Permalink

Very comprehensive. I like the layout.

Lisa Hertzi

Posted on 8/31/12 2:11:45 PM Permalink

I teach at the university level and i need some fun Adobe stuff to give as contest awards. Where would I go to get it?

Lukas Engqvist

Posted on 8/6/12 5:33:12 AM Permalink

@joe What Operating system/platform are you running on? I understand you are frustrated, but it is also frustrating to read about someone's problems and not being able to help. Some operating systems have several ways to view a PDF. An example is Apple has a PDF viewer called preview, that supports some but not all PDF features. Also on androids and ipads there is a limited version called mobile reader that does not support all features.

As I say we need more information about your problem to be able to help you.

joe ladd

Posted on 8/6/12 1:01:04 AM Permalink

I am trying to download a pdf from your files. It keeps telling me to download reader I do that and try to download the PDF and it tells me to download the file I just downloaded. I GIVE UP!!!!!! What a waste of time.

Adobe Education

Posted on 8/19/13 2:46:03 PM Permalink

Hi Joe - you need to save the file to your desktop and then open it in Adobe Reader. It is a PDF Portfolio, so it won't open in your browser and you'll keep getting that message to download Adobe Reader every time you try to view it in your browser. Hope this helps!

Adobe Education

Posted on 7/19/12 1:20:24 PM Permalink

Thanks for sharing Grant!

For those of you planning to use this curriculum in the upcoming school year, let us all know how it works for you and what you think of it. It would be great to start a discussion with feedback and best practices on how to use the curriculum.

debra starnes

Posted on 8/18/13 7:32:59 PM Permalink

I stumbled on the curriculum last year and decided to weave it into my current curriculum. I only teach one semester so at first I was worried I wouldn't be able to fit the content into the course. I was amazed at how seamless the transition was in that there was a nice overlap on what I was already teaching and the additional well thought out content that you provide. Now I'm able to have a more robust Adobe experience for my students. I am also better preparing them if they decide to pursue certification. I'm an adjunct instructor, so having the extra resources is fantastic.

I'm digging into this year and adding additional links and resources. Constantly looking for new tools to increase the learning experience. Adobe is truly a "class act".

Adobe Education

Posted on 8/19/13 2:44:32 PM Permalink

Thanks for sharing your story Debra!

Good luck this year and keep us posted on how things are working for you.

Grant Craton

Posted on 7/18/12 11:36:24 PM Permalink

I downloaded this curriculum and I am incredibly excited to use it in my graphic design class this up coming year. I know my students are going to benefit from this!

Judy Durkin

Posted on 5/8/12 6:37:38 PM Permalink

Fantastic Curriculum. Maybe next year, instead of stealing bits and pieces, I will do the whole thing from start to finish in one of my classes and then turn 'em loose on the ACA exam. Ha!

Adobe Education

Posted on 4/10/12 1:48:04 AM Permalink

@ Samba

The curriculum is free and aligns to the Adobe Certified Associate certifications. You can learn more about certification, training, courses, and prices in our FAQ:

If you have more questions please let us know.

~Adobe Education

Adobe Education

Posted on 4/10/12 1:43:52 AM Permalink

@ Marjoni

The curriculum is a PDF portfolio and not viewable in an Internet browser so you are required to save the file to your computer and open with the free Adobe Reader software. To save a PDF file, right-click or Control-click on the file link and click Save File As. Select the destination where you which to save the file.

~Adobe Education

Samba siva

Posted on 4/7/12 8:45:38 AM Permalink


I want to do some of the Adobe certification courses on Designing and Programming would you please know how can I get the information about the prices and duration.



marjoni mcbride

Posted on 4/4/12 9:58:33 PM Permalink

I have Adobe reader version 10.1.2 but every time i try to open it it always ask me to down load reader nine or higher. Can you help?

Adobe Education

Posted on 3/19/12 3:09:04 AM Permalink

@ Mohammad. The curriculum is a PDF portfolio and not viewable in an Internet browser so you are required to save the file to your computer and open with the free Adobe Reader software. To save a PDF file, right-click or Control-click on the file link and click Save File As. Select the destination where you which to save the file.

~Adobe Education

Mohammad Nasir

Posted on 3/16/12 6:29:07 AM Permalink

How can i download the full curriculum?

Lukas Engqvist

Posted on 3/16/12 5:40:02 AM Permalink

If your file is 42 MB it's not just the front page… the file is a PDF portfolio. You will need Adobe Reader 9 or Acrobat Pro. I know many schools when installing the creative suite do not get Acrobat installed correctly, which is a shame since it is the central tool for the creative suite… but it has to do with system administrators and IT staff not knowing that this is a seperate install in the site licence of the suite.

There should be a button saying "get started" which will take you to an overview and folders with each learning objective.

Angela Lidgren

Posted on 3/15/12 11:36:40 PM Permalink

I also have a mac, tried rightclicking, save

linked file as... but all i got was the frontpage of Reader...

Angela Lidgren

Posted on 3/15/12 11:29:43 PM Permalink

I couldnt open it, i just came to get adobe reader and when i dowloaded it i couldnt get any further. Am i doing something wrong?

Daniel Yhidego

Posted on 3/4/12 12:43:54 PM Permalink


Lukas Engqvist

Posted on 2/22/12 3:29:34 PM Permalink


Have you tried right clicking and choosing "save linked file as…" (if you havent fixed your mouse for right click it's a good idea to do so or you can press ctrl as you click for the contextual menu.

Dawn Williams

Posted on 2/22/12 3:21:37 PM Permalink

Hi - Me again. I'm trying to get to the weblink to start this program, but it keeps sending me back to the Adobe Reader page. I've already downloaded/installed it but can't get past this page. I have a Mac w/OXS Lion and using the default Safari, although I have Mozilla installed as well. Am I missing something?

Thank you!

Dawn Williams

Posted on 2/22/12 2:54:39 PM Permalink


I'm playing "catch up" after a 20 year hiatus from the graphics field (think drafting tables, rubylith, letterpress, etc) and LOVE CS5. I just want to say I've spent over a thousand dollars taking the vector course...only to have the instructor show ADOBE TV. :::aaarrrgghhh!!!::: Anyhow. Looking forward to this online ed to cover the gaps and thanks for an amazing program.

Adobe Education

Posted on 2/6/12 3:08:13 PM Permalink

Lori DiRocco

Posted on 2/4/12 3:40:34 PM Permalink

I am in need of the CS4 materials since our school only has that installed at this time. Where can I find the PDF for the full curriculum? We have switched from a block schedule to a 7 rotator schedule which means the full-year program will work well with my classes.

Lukas Engqvist

Posted on 1/4/12 6:43:08 AM Permalink

@ Rorbert Ross

I think if you plan to teach also look at, lotts of great tutorials, and I think it's worth the extra energy to go through the "Classroom In a Book" series because they give you more ways of dealing with the same problem, which is a great help when students get stuck. Having a good reference library is allways a help, and it's not wrong to have a account ;)

Most of those resources are good just for self learning, but by all means the course materials are a great start. Try it… what's the worst that can happen :D

Adobe Education

Posted on 1/4/12 3:20:52 AM Permalink

Hi Robert.

The curriculum is written more for teachers to teach students but you can certainly take what is there and work through it yourself. Just follow the steps and use the students technical guides. Hope it's useful. Let is know how it goes!


~Adobe Education

Robert Rees

Posted on 1/4/12 1:22:28 AM Permalink

Hey there

I was planning on going through this on my own. Where these meant to be able to take on individualy?

I'm trying to catch up after being away from computers for so many years....I actually used to be real handy with em

Adobe Education

Posted on 12/30/11 3:04:04 PM Permalink

@Shelly - unfortunately, we do not have the image files used in the tutorials available for download. There are copyright restrictions limiting our ability to do so.

@Miguel - The Visual Design curriculum is available in Spanish through our partner ETC Iberoamerica -

Miguel Canella

Posted on 12/29/11 11:13:21 PM Permalink

Hi, I want to know if there is any spanish version of these material.


Shelly Henderson

Posted on 12/28/11 4:09:20 PM Permalink

I would like to use this curriculum with my students. I have been able to download the full curriculum but is there a way to get the psd or jpeg files used in the tutorials?


michelle de villiers

Posted on 12/1/11 9:06:26 PM Permalink

Hey everyone. First time here, so (waves).

I have a question about the certification. I am in the Eastern Cape, in South africa, and cannot seem to find an area that has a certiport center. Is there any other way that I could write the ACA exam?

Thanks for reading this, and thanks in advance for any help you can give me.


Lukas Engqvist

Posted on 11/2/11 8:39:31 AM Permalink

Are all the negative ratings just malign in this post? I'm just wondering what the motivations are?

Adobe Education

Posted on 10/31/11 2:31:30 AM Permalink

vikram pal

Posted on 10/29/11 10:13:37 AM Permalink


i am vikram from chandigarh, india. i heard about adobe education initiatives in india espacially in rajasthan. i am already working as Sr. Trainer in an Organisation and work with govrenment to impart ICT Trainings. i wish to join Abobe and wish to serve in the field of education and school education especially. Can u just share contact detail of concerned officials like HR or someone else with whom i can initiate talk on this.

Thanks | With warm regards


Edper Castro

Posted on 10/7/11 4:48:14 AM Permalink

Hello Lukas.

Thanks for your reply and sorry for this late response.

I'm trying to dowload the CS5 but somehow it just stops.

I have some more questions by the way as far as the specs shown below.

Is the openGL graphics card a separate one or onboard? And so also with the VRAM?

Our PCs here are equipped with 2GB RAM which at least ok for the specs above.

But i don't know if the openGL video card is part of its motherboard and so is the VRAM.

I tried to check it directly from our PC but i could not see the required features above, namely,

the openGL and the VRAM.

By the way do you have any idea if Adobe still offer CS4? Because i believe CS4 is more compatible

with our specs here.

Thanks again Lukas and GOD bless.

Lukas Engqvist

Posted on 9/29/11 5:32:37 AM Permalink

@Edper As far as I understand you can run Photoshop on 32 or 64 bit. If you are unsure you can download the 30-trial and see if you can run it, that way you can test before deciding how to move on.

Edper Castro

Posted on 9/29/11 4:20:37 AM Permalink

By the way i found out that the system requirement of at least Photoshop CS5 is very high.

For example you are required to use 64-bit processor rather than 32-bit processor? Because of this

we could not implement it in our own lab here because we are using a 32-bit processor.

Do you still sell CS4 versions until now? If yes, is there any cut-off for its offering (like what Microsoft did to Windows XP)?

Thanks for your response in advance and GOD bless.


Adobe Education

Posted on 9/27/11 2:03:18 AM Permalink

Hi Vinoth,

To learn more take a look at our certifcation FAQ.


~Adobe Education

vinoth murugaraj

Posted on 9/26/11 6:00:51 AM Permalink

hai i am vinoth i am doing multimedia i need some information about to get the adobe certificate.what are rules follow to exam and about certificate then this certificate are used to my feature job opportunites?

Edper Castro

Posted on 9/20/11 5:16:34 AM Permalink

Adobe Education,

Thank you so much for the reply.

I will send the link to the one in-charge in purchasing the software.

Kudos and GOD bless.


Adobe Education

Posted on 9/16/11 5:46:40 AM Permalink

Hi Ed,

We don't handle purchases on the Exchange but you can learn more about special educational volume licensing in your area here. To find out your sales representative I think the closest would be Australia and they could then help you find an authorized reseller in Micronesia. You can find information here and here.

We don't have a curriculum specifically for Photoshop, as it's part of the Visual Design curriculum, and in lui of the textbook the student technical guides are the materials to hand out. A good complimentary book is Adobe Press's Classroom in a Book series.

You do not need to be certified to teach the Visual Design curriculum although certification of course is always beneficial.

I hope this answers your questions. Best of luck on what sounds like a great endeavour. Please let us know how it goes!

~Adobe Education

Edper Castro

Posted on 9/15/11 2:56:18 AM Permalink

Hello there.

I am teacher here in College of Micronesia and we are currently planning to adopt your material in Visual Design.

But i have questions and there they are:

1) How much does the software cost, namely, CS5 Creative Suite for a school like us? We are planning to have at least 31 licenses (30 for

our lab computers and 1 for me as the teacher)

2) Do you have curriculum like this purely for Adobe Photoshop instead?

3) Does the teaching material has an accompanying textbook? If yes, how much and how can we order it? If no, could you recommend one?

4) Do i need to be a certified adobe professional in order for me to teach it here in our college?

5) Who is your sales representative for Federated States of Micronesia (this is near Guam and in the Pacific)?

Thank you in advance for your answer and GOD bless.


Andrew Young

Posted on 9/13/11 4:17:48 AM Permalink

Got it, thank you so much, this is definately going to help me and my Marines out here.

Adobe Education

Posted on 9/12/11 2:33:53 AM Permalink


to find a class please refer to the FAQ on training providers.

~Adobe Education

Adobe Education

Posted on 9/12/11 2:32:44 AM Permalink

@ Simon. The curriculum is a PDF portfolio and not viewable in an Internet browser so you are required to save the file to your computer and open with the free Adobe Reader software. To save a PDF file, right-click or Control-click on the file link and click Save File As. Select the destination where you which to save the file.

~Adobe Education

Andrew Young

Posted on 9/10/11 2:18:00 PM Permalink

I'm about positive it's a security issue on my end. I'm going to wait another hour or so before I try again. As far as the OS, windows XP.

Lukas Engqvist

Posted on 9/10/11 12:02:30 PM Permalink

@ Andrew to be able to help we need more info on your browser and operating system. Sometimes it is better to rightclick on a link and choose download source to. Most likeley it is a security setting preventing you from downloading the file.

Andrew Young

Posted on 9/10/11 11:38:54 AM Permalink

Good afternoon,

I've tried downloading the course materials but it's telling me that THE FILE IS DAMAGED AND COULD NOT BE REPAIRED. It stops at 529.54KB of 42.43 MB.

I would like to use this material to help me train the Marines that I work with. Thank you for your help in this.


Simon Costello

Posted on 8/23/11 11:23:29 AM Permalink


Waited for the download then page appeared asking me to download Acrobat Reader!

Very confusing as my Acrobat Reader was up-to-date anyway and what I wanted was the Curriculum .pdf!
Just need (for people like me) a caption saying to download pdf right click perhaps.

Apart from that, the curriculum pdf on Visual Design is great. As Adobe products get more and more complicated (how many ways are there now to create a mask!) I have begun to loose the will to live. Going from one tutorial to another can become disorientating. I have decided that I need to retrain as terminology is constantly evolving and these .pdfs provide the structure I need to move on.

I can work through these curriculums and then find the relevant tutorials in a structured way.

So it is a big thanks from me to Adobe.

Lukas Engqvist

Posted on 8/5/11 6:55:50 AM Permalink

They are found in the main portfolio the one labled "full curriculum" the guides are interleafed in the projects were appropriate. If you run the project in the progression suggested then you will get the guides in a good sequence.

Sara Romfo

Posted on 8/5/11 1:26:04 AM Permalink

I'm confused about the "guides" mentioned in the lessons.

I downloaded the "instructor and student materials" pdfs, and I checked out the tv channel episodes, but I don't see the guides mentioned such as,
"Phototshop guide: Overview of Adobe Photoshop CS5 workspace

Photoshop guide: How to correct color

Photoshop guide: How to retouch photos

Photoshop guide: How to generate different file formats"

With access to the above mentioned guides, I think the lessons would be ready to teach.


Adobe Education

Posted on 8/3/11 7:44:03 PM Permalink

@Peter -

The file in this curriculum is a PDF Portfolio and some Internet browsers cannot open these files within the browser. Try right-clicking on the link, saving the file to your desktop, and then opening the file up with the latest version of Adobe Reader.

Hope this helps!

Adobe Education

Peter Ventrone

Posted on 8/3/11 7:40:35 PM Permalink

Hi when I click on the web link, all I get is a prompt to download Adobe reader, which I did to update my current version but that's it. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Lukas Engqvist

Posted on 8/3/11 9:39:51 AM Permalink

There are many that are asking for online resources to master the software. I would say that the help files in the software is great place to start. Adobetv is also a great resource, and I find that a account is worth every penny. Even if I know how to use the software myself, seeing others teach I learn new ways to explain the same prblem. It is a good idea to see many video tutorials teaching the same thing, because it gives you an arsenal of alternative ways to explain things. Also books are great, if you never done them press through the Adobe Classroom in a Book for each application, it may be tedious to redo the book for each version update, but to have done it once will help you both to feel confident with the program and to see how you can teach more than one way of doing the same thing. It would be great to have a book list where we could list the books we use, both for ourselves and for students, with a place to comment on how to use them.

Two books I'm loving at the moment, because they cover more than just how to use the software are: InDesign Type (ISBN 978-0-321-68536-0) and Vector Basic Training (978-0-321-74959-8)

Adobe Education

Posted on 8/2/11 5:58:41 PM Permalink

@Steven -

There are a number of resources within the Visual Design curriculum that help the teacher teach these concepts. Take a look at some of the background resources within each project for more information on places to find instruction on these concepts.

But, specifically, here are some other helpful resources on the Adobe Education Exchange:

How to analyze advertisments - this worksheet would be helpful for students to understand the purpose, audience, and audience needs for images and then translate that into preparing their own images for advertisements.

Project Plan - This worksheet guides students through the project by helping them set up a plan for managing the project and tracking the time they spend to make sure they are managing the project effectively and meeting the goals.

Review and redesign of advertisements - This worksheet helps provide guidance for the communication with others and client interaction objective.

Hope these resources help - they are all included in the Visual Design curriculum and the teacher materials have more detailed instructions on how and when to use them.

Adobe Education

Steven Chayt

Posted on 8/1/11 4:16:00 PM Permalink

Can you suggest additional meterial that covers the areas of:

1.1 Identify the purpose, audience, and audience needs forpreparing image(s).

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of project management tasks and responsibilities.

1.4 Communicate with others(such as peers and clients) about design plans.

These soft skill topics are often more difficult the objectify for purposes of tests and exams. Are there any presentations that cover theese topics?

Adobe Education

Posted on 7/12/11 2:24:04 PM Permalink

Hi Austinchuka,

Please refer here for more information on training and here for finding locations in Nigeria.


Posted on 7/12/11 1:53:27 PM Permalink



Adobe Education

Posted on 7/6/11 2:18:11 AM Permalink

Hi More,

See the above FAQ on training and certification to learn more on using Adobe Products. You can also learn how to learn about specific products here.


~Adobe Education

More Fondavilla

Posted on 7/5/11 4:07:28 PM Permalink

i need to learn adobe so i can do more things especially on pictures and designs.

Adobe Education

Posted on 7/4/11 3:08:18 AM Permalink

Hi Mohammed,

To learn more about developing your skills and training opportunities see the resources in our FAQ on training and certification.

Good luck!

~Adobe Education

Mohammed aloraimi

Posted on 7/3/11 5:49:27 AM Permalink

I am a teacher of information technology
I teach software design geophical
And I need to develop my skills with you

Adobe Education

Posted on 6/20/11 4:08:40 AM Permalink

When the curriculum was first released and an educator or educational institution purchased CS5 the curriculum came with the software as a DVD resource. All of the contents on the DVD are available in the PDF portfolio.


~Adobe Education

Sadie Estrella

Posted on 6/17/11 8:18:20 PM Permalink

There is a DVD mentioned that has some curriculum files. Does that cost money? How do we get that?

Lukas Engqvist

Posted on 6/2/11 7:39:47 AM Permalink

@Kait (& @David) The files should be PDF archives, what is your PDF viewers? Are you using Adobe reader at current version? Since PDFs are quite versitile, and there are some 3rd part PDF viewers that support portfolio to different degree there may be problems. Try to right-click to down load link and open the portfolio with a current Adobe Reader or Acrobat Pro.

Kait Robison

Posted on 6/1/11 9:48:07 PM Permalink

When I click the link, it opens a new window that is just white. There is no sign in, nothing.


Adobe Education

Posted on 5/19/11 2:53:54 PM Permalink

Hi David -

Sorry about that. It should be fixed now.

Adobe Education

David Conover

Posted on 5/19/11 11:48:03 AM Permalink

When I click on the link, i'm lead to a sign-n page. After I sign in, the page goes white and then just hangs.

Adobe Education

Posted on 5/10/11 5:31:27 PM Permalink

Hi Lukas,

This content is governed by a Creative Commons Atribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. This allows you to adapt the materials, including translating them, as long as you attribute Adobe for the original work, do not sell the content, and share the content you create with the same license.

That being said, I will contact you offline to inquire about your interests in translating the content. We are eager to have Adobe curriculum localized into other languages.

Adobe Education