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

Design School

The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design is the
definitive guide to becoming a surface pattern designer.

Next Class: September 25th – October 27th, 2017

‘Monetising your designs‘ (Module 3) is a five week online course where you will learn everything you need to know to monetise your designs!

This course includes the nitty gritty of freelancing, licensing, selling outright, manufacturing and more PLUS you’ll get free access to leading trend forecasting site WGSN, live briefs from real companies AND Rachael Taylor’s little black book of industry contacts!

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. Plus, you can access the classroom for up to six months after the course finishes.

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!

If you want to feel confident launching your own successful business and understanding all that entails being a professional surface pattern designer, this module is for you.


Module 3 includes:

  • How to identify multiple streams of income for your designs
  • How to sell and license your designs (what they don’t teach you at art school)
  • The ins and outs of freelancing
  • How to get into manufacturing your own product
  • How to choose the right distribution channel for you
  • How to negotiate a contract that is right for you
  • How not to get ripped off
  • How to manage your time and money
  • How to manage stock levels
  • How to get a job in design
  • How to stay motivated


  • How to create a pattern portfolio to show to potential clients
  • How to apply patterns to mock up product templates and room sets
  • How to turn a placement print into a technical repeat for wallpaper or fabric
  • Everything you need to know about getting in, getting ready and attracting customers at trade shows
  • How to design a Trade Show Brochure in Adobe Illustrator
  • Invaluable industry info such as colour print specifications for both paper goods & textiles

You will do this by actually creating a mini portfolio for potential licensing clients, a trade show plan and a business development plan.

PLUS *NEW* BONUS TECHNICAL WORKSHOP VIDEOS giving you a step-by-step guides to surface pattern design using Photoshop and Illustrator. Find out more on our Technical Workshops page.

AND our money-can’t-buy bonus little black book of industry contacts!

And if that wasn’t enough, you also get full access to leading trend forecasting site WGSN for 90 days (this alone is worth more than the entire cost of the course!)

Want more?

Check out our 50 reasons why this course is AWESOME!


This is for you if:

  • You have completed Module 2 (although this is not a prerequisite)
  • You have a collection of work but do not know how to get it out in the world, and get it sold
  • You want to learn more complex techniques for sophisticated and commercially-appealing surface pattern design
  • You want to connect with other emerging designers and learn from industry experts
  • You want to know the right contacts in industry to get you where you want to be
  • You want to generate more income from your existing designs
  • You want to know just how to secure that licensing deal
  • You want to make it as a professional surface pattern designer

Please note this course is not assessed and does not include individual critique of your work. You will need at least basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to get the most out of this module. Please note we do not offer technical guidance for any other software programmes (including free software).

Take a classroom tour!

Take a peek inside our classroom to see what’s in store when you open its virtual doors and just how easy it is to learn on-line with us.

Elizabeth’s video

Testimonials and successes

Emma Sugrue from our April 2016 class explains why she would recommend Module 3, what she found most useful and how it has helped her move forward in her career:

Here are a handful of words used by previous students to describe this module: I was blown away and loved it all / informative and fantastic / great, great value / inspiring and rewarding / forget university or night school – this is all you need! / an invaluable course for anyone serious about a career as a surface pattern designer / an eye opener on many levels / an essential development opportunity / my world will never be the same again (in the best possible way!)


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.

Week 1

Week 1 - Freelancing

  • The wonderful world of pattern
  • Getting into freelancing
  • Working with clients
  • Working diaries from Ian Dutton, Amanda Wray and Klara Hawkins
  • Contacts galore!

… and more! PLUS Bonus Technical Workshop on how to set up a greetings card file (including adding foil and flitter finishes), plus a giftwrap template

Week 2

Week 2 - Selling

  • All about licensing
  • All about selling
  • Working with an agent
  • Creating a portfolio
  • Exclusive interview with Khristian A. Howell

… and more! PLUS Bonus Technical Workshop on how to create layered repeats in Photoshop (for fabrics, wallpaper and products printed on a roll) plus a tea towel template

Week 3

Week 3 - Manufacturing

  • Product love
  • Manufacturing your way
  • Pricing and packaging
  • Managing stock and selling your wares
  • Exclusive interview with Jessica Swift

… and more! PLUS Bonus Technical Workshop on how to create branded packaging layouts, plus an apron template

Week 4

Week 4 - Trade Shows

  • All about trade shows
  • Preparing your stand
  • Making the most of your trade show
  • Trade show diary from Surfacephilia
  • Exclusive interviews with Top Drawer and the British Craft Trade Fair

… and more! PLUS A trade show planner AND Bonus Technical Workshops on how to design a trade show brochure and use paintbrushes in Illustrator

Week 5

Week 5 - Business

  • Practicalities of running your own studio
  • Financing your business and business development
  • Trends overview and exclusive interview with Joanna Feeley
  • Interview with Dids Macdonald, CEO of Anti-Copying In Design (ACID)
  • Interview with interview with Kelly Hudson, senior solicitor at McDaniel & Co
  • Tips on staying motivated, inspired and sane!

… and more! PLUS our little black book of contacts AND 90 days’ free access to leading trend website WGSN!

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