What is Surface Design?

Surface Design is a form of commercial illustration. Put simply it is about learning how to create designs and then put them into technical repeat. The Surface Design Diploma teaches you how to create designs that are suitable for a wide variety of applications including homewares, textiles, paper products, fabrics and many other surfaces. It is a great skill for illustrators, graphic designers, or anyone looking to create their own range or range of products.


Career Outcomes

After the Surface Design Diploma, many graduates secure positions in:

  • Setting up your own freelance Surface Design business
  • Working in a design studio
  • Designing, manufacturing and selling your own product range

You can keep up to date with current jobs that are available now in the design industry on our job board.

From just one-day per week you can become a qualified Surface Designer

Surface Design Diploma
Surface Design Diploma
Surface Design Diploma

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

What you’ll 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
  • To 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
  • To recognise trends and how to apply these trends
  • Learn the processes to generate conceptual ideas
  • Identify design movements and historical influences, applying design industry knowledge
  • Start and complete design processes
  • Explore colour theory in detail to understand colour application
  • Gain a sound understanding of the elements and principles of design and the various composition techniques
  • Colour and design skills are applied to an array of projects from swimwear to wallpaper, giftware to soft furnishings
  • Adobe Illustrator + Photoshop skills, which will give you exposure to Industry’s technical requirements, and hand drawn designs which are also seen as an important feature of your skill set 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
  • 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 a thorough understanding of the design process
  • Designing to a brief
  • Industry research
  • Mixed media and printing
  • Hand drawing techniques and mark making
  • Media techniques
  • Repeat patterns
  • Designer identity
  • Business practices

Assessments are made up of a series of research and practical briefs. Some examples include:

  • Colour wheel tool and grey scale
  • Abstract and semi-abstract design, linear design techniques and applying colour
  • Hand Rendering
  • Design history research
  • Tote bag design
  • Bed linen design
  • Cushion design
  • Wallpaper design
  • Outdoor fabrics range
  • Swimwear range
  • Tea towel design
  • Creative identity brief
  • Presentation techniques

Completed Australian Year 10 schooling or
Vocational Certificate III or higher (delivered in

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.

  • Surface Design Diploma

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

  • Surface Design Diploma

    We cater for your needs and lifestyle with campuses located in Sydney and Melbourne.

  • Surface Design Diploma

    Work with our industry partners on design briefs and graduate with real-world experience.

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

Surface Design Diploma


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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The school’s strong industry connections and flexible study options are integral to helping students achieve their goals. “Whether students attend our North Sydney or Melbourne CBD campus or study online, everyone receives the support they need to realise their potential.”

WENDY GREENHALF,General Manager iscd