Surface Design Essentials

International School of Colour and Design, OpenLearning

Surface design skills creates two-dimensional designs that are suitable for a wide range of surface applications. Appropriate to fabric, fashion, bed and kitchen linen, homewares, stationery, retail packaging, graphic design executions and wallpaper to name a few. In this course we teach you the foundations in creating original designs through wet and dry media and mark making to build up a pattern bank. From here you'll work in Illustrator to gain the technical skills required to create and develop patterns into repeat.

Your personal design style is nurtured through the course with 1:2:1 feedback as you progress.

Note – this course will require the purchase of a visual diary, some inks, paper, paints, pens and pencils however this will depends on the medium you wish to practice with during the course.  you swill also require access to Adobe Illustrator. You will need this software from week 4 in the course. Illustrator can be purchased as an individual program for $29.99 a month from

Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions linked in the footer before you enrol.


Module 1: The basics

  • Criteria of successful designs
  • Elements and principles in styling
  • The design development process
  • Mood boards and visual diary
  • Easy drawing
  • Drawing skills

Module 2: Colour and techniques

  • Colour wheel and dimensions of colour
  • Colour systems 
  • Colour in design
  • Wet and dry media techniques 
  • Design techniques
  • Mark making
  • Repeat systems

Module 3: Introduction to digital design - Part 1

  • Digital design, tools and files
  • Photoshop vs Illustrator
  • Keyboard shortcuts for AI
  • Panels, rulers, guides, colours and zooming
  • Tools
  • Saving your document 

Module 4: Introduction to digital design - Part 2

  • Art boards
  • Editing an art board
  • File formats
  • Menu, zoom, rulers and guides
  • Setting up an art board in Illustrator

Module 5: Introduction to digital design - Part 3

  • Creating shapes in Illustrator
  • Using tools in Illustrator
  • Digital repeat systems
  • How to create a digital repeat

Module 6: Surface design in practice

In this module, you will bring everything into practice and work on your own design project.


  • 2 May 2019, 0 weeks
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  • Language: English Gb


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