What is Surface Design?

Surface Design is the skill of creating designs that are suitable for a wide variety of applications including homewares, textiles, paper products and fabrics. It is the ability to create designs and then put them into technical repeat.


Diploma of Surface Design

The Surface Design Diploma teaches you how to create designs that are suitable for a wide variety of applications and surfaces. Like all of our courses, part 1 is to complete the Certificate IV in design online (CUA40715).  This gives you the fundamentals of colour and design. Then Part 2 is to specialise with the Diploma of Surface Design. Gaining valuable skills in creating original designs and technical repeat patterns. It is a great skill for illustrators, graphic designers, or anyone looking to create their own range or range of products.

Online Study

Take your first steps to a creative career with our new online courses.

  • Simple interface with lots of visuals and videos.
  • Great online community with lively, inspiring, discussion boards with educators + peers
  • Academic calendar + simple assessment submission keeps all your information in one place to easily track your progress.
  • Quick turnaround on assessment marking + regular contact with your educator.
  • Pop up campuses throughout the year for you to connect to our community. Meet peers, educators + have one-on-one sessions.
  • 12 hours / week and up to 12 months to complete (but you can go faster)

 “I loved every minute of my time at iscd. I loved the variety of topics and tasks. I especially loved the inspiring and supportive teachers who always shared their industry based knowledge.” Shelly Acland

Course Overview

Our Surface Design Diploma is the perfect balance between creativity and technical computer skills.


What You Will Learn

  • Colour and design knowledge for swimwear, wallpaper, gifts and soft furnishings
  • The technical requirements of being a Surface Designer with Adobe Illustrator
  • Hand drawing skills and learn to work with a variety of mixed media
  • Present designs and concepts at a professional for clients and employers
  • Create mood boards to develop design themes and colour palettes for you and your client
  • Recognise trends and how to apply these trends

Career Outcomes

After the Surface Design Diploma, many graduates go onto;

  • Set up your own freelance Surface Design business
  • Work in a design studio
  • Design, manufacture and sell your own product range


Online Surface Design Diploma
Online Surface Design Diploma
Online Surface Design Diploma
  • To extend and apply your colour and design skills to a fascinating array of projects from swimwear to wallpaper; giftware to soft furnishings.
  • Computer skills using Adobe Illustrator, which will give you exposure to industry’s technical requirements, however hand drawn designs are also seen as an important feature of your skills and portfolio
  • You will learn how to meet professional standards for presentation of concepts and will produce a quality portfolio of work to equip you to present to potential clients and employers
  • How to create style and mood boards which form the basis of learning how to research and create design themes, innovative solutions and colour palettes for yourself and your clients.
  • Style, trend interpretation and application, and an thorough understanding of the design profession
  • Understanding a client’s briefing and needs
  • Developing an artistic and practical perspective
  • Development of a design story to a commercial brief
  • Researching the industry, including knowing the market and textile studios
  • Mixed media exploration, resist and printing techniques
  • Mono printing, collage and textural effects
  • Introduction to acrylic painting skills, pencil and crayon
  • Fabric dyeing
  • Advanced colour theory and design development
  • Advanced drawing skills: materials, techniques, theme, composition, line, shape
  • Design styles and techniques, designing for specific shapes, uses and spaces
  • Repeat patterns and textural effects, understanding printing requirements.
  • Translating original hand-made designs into computer images
  • Developing computer generated workable designs
  • Marketing and managing your creative business

Assessments are made up of a series of research and practical briefs that include;

  • Bed Linen Design
  • Wallpaper
  • Outdoor fabrics
  • Swimwear

Pre-requisite courses

  • CUA40715 Certificate IV in Design

You can apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in the forms of credits or a course waiver if you have like-for-like Units of Competency, skills and knowledge.

  • Online Surface Design Diploma

    With over 30 years of design industry experience and a forward-thinking focus iscd is a creative and supportive environment.

This course includes industry briefs and awards to provide you with strong foundations for working in the design industry.

Industry Partners

  • Emily Ziz Style Studio
  • Sheridan Bed Linen
  • Porters Paints
  • JDK Tea Towels

Industry Awards

  • Tea Towel Design
  • Bed Linen Design
  • Wallpaper Design
  • Surface Designer – Graduate of the Year


Contact us on 02 8355 3838 or 03 8372 0000 to chat with a specialist course advisor about your study options, or let us know a little bit about you and we can call you back.

Request a call Back

Campus Tours & Open Days

Join us at an up coming Open Day or book a Campus Tour with one of our student advisors and see how you can turn your passion for design into a career opportunity.

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iscd News

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