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

Module 1: Designing Your Way

Next Class: February 19 – March 23, 2018

Designing your way (Module 1) is a five week online course where you will learn everything you need to know to turn basic sketches into elements for pattern design. Find out more about colour and pattern, how to create mood boards and how to create repeat patterns in Adobe Illustrator.

Module 1 is a fantastic introduction to the surface pattern design industry and helps YOU to find your passionpersonal style and place within it.

We have welcomed students onto our courses from over 65 countries around the world, and our classrooms are accessible on-line 24/7, so you can join us from any time zone and fit the course into your busy life. Check out our latest research to see how our alumni rate the course, what they got out of it and why you should join us too! Whether you’re just starting out or are looking to refresh your skills, this is the start of a very exciting journey with new friends in preparation for a successful surface pattern career.

Module 1 includes:

How and where to seek out design inspiration

How to work with colour

How to create moodboards

How to build a pattern

How to develop your signature style and use this to brand your business

How to turn elements of a mixed media painting into a pattern (featuring the work of Kelly Rae Roberts)

How to create repeats in Adobe Illustrator

Time-saving tricks and industry insider tips

The secrets of successful surface pattern designers

Downloadable pattern source guide


BONUS TECHNICAL WORKSHOP VIDEOS giving you a step-by-step guide to scanning images and basic manipulation in Photoshop and Illustrator, playing with colour and sketching and creating repeats on your computer. See the whole list on our Technical Workshops page.

Not only this, you also get a peek behind the scenes of Rachael Taylor’s life as a dynamic and successful professional surface pattern designer and a glimpse at some previously unpublished designs!

Want to know more? Be sure to check out our 50 reasons why this course is awesome!


This is for you if:

You are drawn to colour and pattern

You want to learn more about how to create your own patterns

You don’t have time to study surface pattern design at college or university

You want to join a community of like-minded people on a fun and inspiring creative journey

You dream of one day licensing your own designs but don’t know where to begin (NB this is the first step – Modules 2 and 3 provide more business-related advice)

You will do this by actually creating a set of source images, designing your own motifs, putting together a colour swatch and a moodboard and designing a set of business stationery.

NB: You do not absolutely need a computer for the creative exercises in Module 1, but you will be given valuable bonus technical guides to help you design on the computer should you wish to. Please note we do not offer technical guidance for any programmes other than Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (including free software).

Please also note that this course is not assessed and does not include individual critique of your work.

Testimonials and successes

Here are a handful of words used by previous students to describe this module: totally essential liberating / energising excellent / worthwhile / informative / jam-packed challenging and fun in equal measure / informal / loved every day of it!


Course alumni have gone on launch their own design studios, win national awards, be featured in design books and on leading blogs and more. Many of our graduates have been signed for exciting licensing deals – such as Wendy Kendall with Deny Designs, Elizabeth Olwen with TeNeues, Anneline Sophia with Artscase.

Read a handful of our class testimonials, check out our alumni successes and see what our students are getting up to!

Check out our Terms & Conditions. We strongly encourage you to read these before registering, as registering for one or more Modules acknowledges acceptance of these Terms & Conditions.


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