P&P Scholarship Winner Interview: Maria Atanackovic


On Tuesday, November 14th 2017 , we will be launching 2018 Make it in Design Scholarship in association with Print & Pattern. Last year we were thrilled to receive the amazing entries from over 200 applicants from 39 different countries! We had a wonderful time looking through all the phenomenal artwork and cannot wait for the 2018 applications to roll in!

Entries are shortlisted by ABSPD co-founders Rachael Taylor and Beth Kempton, with final judging by Marie Perkins at the Print & Pattern blog.

The lucky winners of the 2017 scholarship each received a free place on Modules 1-3 of The Art & Business of Surface Design and The Ultimate Portfolio Builder + 90 days free access to leading trend forecasting site WGSN and opportunities to feature on the Print & Pattern blog, MOYO magazine, and the Make it in Design website!

In the run up to the 2018 scholarship we wanted to showcase one of our very talented scholarship winners from 2017, so today we bring you an interview with Maria Atanackovic who was selected by Marie Perkins of Print & Pattern.


  • Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a surface pattern designer based in Dublin Ireland. I specialise in designing quirky prints for application onto a wide range of products. My desire is to create uplifting artwork that is unique and versatile. I hold a BA (hons) in Surface Design from University of the Arts, London. This training enabled me to develop both a unique style, and a commercial eye. Since graduating, I have lived and worked in countries as culturally diverse as Taiwan and Panama. These experiences most definitely enriched my creativity and have immensely influenced the eclectic style of my work. I am also the proud winner of the 2017 Make it in Design scholarship competition. Since winning the prize, I have been busy building my portfolio and developing my style further. I am now keen to see my work on products and embark on the next stage of my design career.

  • When did your interest in design first start and how did that come about?

I have always been creative. From a young age I was interested in photography and I liked to make things. After I left school I went on to complete an art and design foundation course. During this course, I discovered screen printing and realized that this method of creating art really suited my bold style. I spent a great deal of time experimenting with the process and then went on to study surface design at University of the Arts, London. There I specialized in printed textiles and began incorporating some digital processes into my work.

  •  What steps did you take to get to where you are now as a designer?

Although I studied surface design at University I followed a different path after graduation. I travelled a lot and lived and worked abroad. It was only when my son was born that I put down roots and relocated to my native Dublin. I really wanted to pursue a creative career and began thinking about returning to my surface design roots. Luckily, the industry is very different now compared to when I left University. There are so many online courses such as Make it in Design, so I decided to take the plunge and enrol in module one. That was it really, I loved it and it reignited my passion for pattern. My confidence grew and I was suddenly part of this amazing community of people with the same goals as me. After module one, I entered the Make it in Design scholarship competition and won. Since then I have worked my way through all of the modules and have just completed the Ultimate Portfolio Builder.

  • How would you describe your style, and  what kind of designer do you want to be known as?

My style is definitely bold and vibrant with a colourful core. I want to create uplifting artwork that is unique and versatile.

  • What are you working on currently?

I have just finished the UPB, so I am currently working on developing my portfolio and creating a look book. I have also recently joined Printblock (http://www.printblock.ie/) a community of screen printers here in Dublin. So, I am looking forward to spending more time in the studio getting messy with dyes.

  • What would be your dream design gig?

My dream gig would be to collaborate with the Australian label Gorman. They are very much up my street and I think that my designs would suit their brand.

  • Looking ahead what are your major goals for the next couple of years?

My two-year plan in a nutshell is; to find an agent, continue building my brand, release a small product range, and license a collection of bolt fabrics.

  • If you were a pattern what kind of a pattern would you be and why?

I would be a colourful abstract. Because why not?


ABSPD & Scholarship

  • How did you find out about the P&P scholarship?

I had already completed the first module when I entered the competition, so I found out about it whilst on the course. I got so much out of the first module, this made me realise that surface design was something that I definitely wanted to pursue. I decided to give it a shot and entered the competition. I have to say that I am delighted that I did!

  • Could you tell us about your experience of the e-courses taken as a result of winning the scholarship?

I only have good things to say about the Make it in Design courses. They have been invaluable to me and have pushed me to develop as a designer. They are so packed full of information and there’s also this wonderful community that develops throughout the courses. I have now worked my way through all of them and my portfolio is so much richer for it. I also have more of an idea about the market and where my aesthetic fits into it. The courses cover everything and more.

  • What advice would you give to designers thinking of applying for this years scholarship?

I would definitely say just go for it! You have absolutely nothing to lose. I didn’t think for a minute that I would win, so you never know. Submit something that you’re proud of and that will stand out from the crowd

  • What was the most important lesson you took away from the e-course?

If I had to say one thing, it would probably be to figure out where you fit in to the market as a designer and focus on that. It is definitely important to find your niche. After all, you will never please everyone so embrace your uniqueness and you will find your place.

  • What difference did it make to have a supportive community of fellow students and how important do you think that will be going forward?

The community and camaraderie that develops over the modules is so important. Being part of other people’s journeys and them being part of yours helps you to remember that it is just that, a journey. Our progress from module one up until the Ultimate Portfolio Builder has been phenomenal. You get to see everyone’s design style evolving and their confidence growing, that’s so inspiring. Then there’s the sharing of resources which is hugely beneficial when trying to navigate this new world. Now that we’ve worked through the modules I believe that the community will carry on supporting each other. We will delight in each other’s successes and perhaps collaborate on projects together. It’s a very exciting time for us all.


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