The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design

Make it in Design is the home of all you need for a successful career in surface pattern design


Here's a list of the most common questions we've been asked regarding our highly-acclaimed online courses.

You May Be Wondering…

If you have a question about The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design featuring Rachael Taylor please check these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for a response.  If you do not find an answer to your question here please feel free to email the team.

Q. What materials do I need to get started?

A. During the course you will be encouraged to keep a sketchbook (which can be made or bought), and sketch using a variety of materials including black ink, pencils and paint. It is helpful but not necessary to have access to a sewing machine. You would also benefit from access to a simple digital camera, and will need access to a computer, scanner and Adobe software for some elements of the course (see below).

Q. Do I need any special software to begin Module 1?

A. You can do all of the lessons and exercises for Module 1 without having any special software. However, the Bonus Technical Workshops include useful step-by-step guides to using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator for basic pattern design. Don’t worry if you don’t have this software yet – the Bonus Technical Workshops are available for you to download and keep so you can always work through them at a later date. You will also need a scanner for the Bonus Technical Workshops and you may find it useful to have access to a printer.

Q. Do I need to learn Photoshop/Illustrator before starting the course?

A. If you have time it is worth familiarising yourself with the software before the course, but if you can’t do that do not panic! You will be given step-by-step guidance for all the key things you need to know.

Q. Do I need Photoshop/Illustrator for Modules 2 & 3?

A. In order to make the most of this course you will need access to a computer, scanner and Adobe software (both Photoshop and Illustrator). We only give instruction on full Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator. The Bonus Technical Workshops are demonstrated in Adobe CC but earlier versions are fine too. This is industry standard software and if you want to make it as a professional designer this is an essential investment that you will need to make at some point. For this reason we do not demonstrate using Photoshop Elements or free software and cannot offer any technical advice on either during this Module. If you do not have this software yet you can download the Bonus Technical Workshops and do them in your own time. There will still be some exercises which you can do without them.

Q. I’ve never taken an online class before. How does it work? Do I need to be at my computer at a certain time?

A. The course is delivered in a password-protected private classroom. There is a separate classroom for each module. During each module lessons will go up daily Monday-Saturday each week. The beauty of an online course is that you can check in whenever you like and do not need to be online at a specific time as the content will be available 24/7. You can also choose when to spend time on the exercises. You can log on every day if you choose, or set aside some time once or twice a week to work through it. There will also be a private Facebook community space where you can connect with others and share images of your work.

Q. What format is the class taught in?

A. The class is taught using video (with transcripts provided), plus written posts and a huge amount of imagery. Each module also comes with a set of Bonus Technical Workshops (provided in video and/or PDF format) for you to download and keep. These provide valuable step-by-step technical guidance for using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for a variety of topics key for surface pattern design success.

Q. Will the class material be available after the class has ended?

A. Every lesson in the classroom along with the Bonus Technical Workshops will be yours to download and keep forever. The course classroom will available to you 24/7 for six months after the end of class so you can log in whenever you like. The private online community will remain open indefinitely and is a fantastic source of inspiration – each module usually has an average of 1000+ images posted by class participants!

Q. Can I ask Rachael questions during the course?

Yes, you will be invited to ask Rachael any questions relevant to the Module you are on during the course. These will be collated and fed back each week during class. Please note that Rachael will only be able to respond to questions related to the Module you are taking, so for example if you want to ask a question about manufacturing you will need to participate in Module 3, where that topic is covered.

Q. Will I get feedback on my work?

A. The Ultimate Portfolio Builder is the only course offered where individual feedback and critique of your work and website is included. This is an invaluable opportunity to see how others view your work and will give you give lots of things to think about. For Modules 1 – 3 we do not offer individual feedback or critique, and your work will not be marked. However Rachael will visit the community space regularly and leave general supportive comments on some of the work shared there, and class participants are encouraged to leave supportive comments on one another’s work.

Q. Is the course marked?

No, there is no marking of work in this course. Our intention is to encourage new designers, and build confidence in a supportive atmosphere. Please see the course pages for further information.

Q. Is the course accredited or affiliated with a University?

We are not currently affiliated with any school or University. However, our e-course has been well received with the design industry and a number of prestigious companies hold it in great esteem and have signed many of our alumni. See our success stories or our testimonials.

Q. I’m going to be away for some of the course, does this matter?

A. No. The course is online and you can access it anywhere in the world while it is live. If you are going to be away for some of the course and won’t have the opportunity to access the material, you can catch up when you get back, as you will have free extended access to the class for 6 months after the course has finished. You can also download the material and save for later when you have more time to work through the content.

Q. I have no experience of drawing or designing, can I still take the course?

A. Absolutely! You do not need a design background to take our course. There are no formal entry requirements and we welcome both complete beginners and professional designers.

Q. How long does it take to work through the modules?

You will get out what you put in! You could work through everything in about 30-60 minutes per day, or you could choose to make the most of this opportunity and spend 10-12 hours plus a week on it. It really is up to you. There is a huge amount of information and inspiration packed into this course. Please be prepared for an intensive learning experience, especially in the later modules! Class content is posted around 0900 GMT daily Monday to Saturday during the course.
You can also print out the class lessons and spend time on it after class has finished. Many of the exercises can be repeated over and over in your own time to generate new pattern ideas etc. Besides the class exercises there are a series of Bonus Technical Workshops in Modules 1 – 3 on different technical aspects of pattern design. These are all downloadable videos and supporting PDF notes so you can keep them and work on them at any time, even after the course has finished.

Q. Will I be able to communicate with others in the class?

A. Yes, you will be able to communicate via comments in the classroom and in the private Facebook group provided (where you can also share images of your work). We have participants joining us from all corners of the world so it will be an exciting opportunity to make new connections, get different perspectives and share your work.

Q. I have a background in design but have taken a break and now I’d like to learn the software and business skills to get back into the industry. Should I start with Module 1?

A. We recommend that most people start with Module 1, as our course is structured in such a way that each module builds on the skills learnt from the previous module, to increase your design skills in a structured and fun way. If you feel you have appropriate skills already, you may be more suited to starting with Module 2 which will build up the foundations of surface pattern and look at how you build your brand as a designer and helping you widen your portfolio. Please check the course pages and brochures for each module to see which class you are most suited to taking.

Q. I want to take Modules 2-3 but didn’t take Module 1. Have I missed out on too much?

You can choose to take the modules independently as singles but they are designed to flow as complementary modules which build on the previous ones. We do encourage all modules to give you a rounded view, but it is not compulsory. In Modules 2 and 3 will provide a brief summary of the key points covered in the previous module and touch on some of the same content to make sure you don’t get lost, but you will miss content.

Whether this matters in your case really depends on your level of experience and confidence. Please visit our course pages for the full list of what is included in each module, and tailor your choices to work for you and your particular circumstances and experience level. If you have never used Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator before it is highly recommended that you take Module 1 first.

Q. Can I take the classes out of order and do 2 at the same time (i.e. modules 2 and 3)?

A. We would strongly advise that you take the classes individually and in order, to give yourself enough time and space to work through them all and develop as a designer. If you do decide to take more than one class (or out of order) please note that the bundled class offers do not apply as these are only for classes taken in order and in the same series.

Q. I don’t live in the UK. Is this course relevant for me?

A. You don’t need to live in the UK to take this course – it is open to anyone anywhere, which is why the community will be so rich and valuable. In terms of the content, although Rachael is a UK-based designer, she has numerous licensing deals with companies across the US, Europe and Australia so will be sharing valuable information and insight if you are interested in selling your work internationally.

Q. Can I pay in installments?

A. We do offer installment plans for some of our courses and multi-course packages. Please see our shop to see class prices and for more information.

Q. How do I pay for the course?

A. All payments for the course are through Paypal. Please visit our shop to purchase a course or course package.

Q. Do you have a scholarship available?

A. Yes, we have an annual Print & Pattern Scholarship worth over £1,280 – we announce details of the next one on our Scholarship page on the website as soon as the dates are confirmed.

Q. Are gift vouchers available for the course?

A. Yes! Please email the Make it in Design team for more information.

Q. Is the course just for women?

A. Not at all! Everyone is welcome. Join us!

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