Meet our short course educators!

Posted by rachel on July 23

With our new online design short courses well and truly up and running we thought it would be a great time to introduce you to our talented online educators that will be looking after anyone that studies one of our essentials short courses.

First up… Colour Essentials Educator

Melanie Abbott

Hello colour lovers! My name is Melanie Abbott. I am a colour designer/colour consultant/colour stylist! I studied at iscd in 2014 and 2015, when I started with my Cert IV in Design I wasn’t sure where it would take me. My educator was a colour specialist and I think this helped pique my interest in the world of colour. Sadly I hadn’t really given colour that much attention in life but given I have a keen eye for detail it wasn’t long before I started seeing colour differently and my studies progressed. I chose to continue my studies and specialise in colour, graduating with my Diploma in Colour Design. From there I scored a job with Porter’s Paints where I worked for a few years learning yet more about colour and particularly about the creation and mixing of colour. I learnt how to see what colours go into a colour and how to achieve a colour match to something specific. While working at Porter’s I also started my own colour consultancy. I visit clients onsite and help them select colours for walls, floors, bench tops, cabinets etc and help them see how tones work together to achieve a harmonious palette.

These days I am still doing my own consulting as well as doing some online training with iscd‘s new Colour Essentials online short course. This means I check in with the students a few times a week, answer any questions, comment on their work and generally look over their contributions to the exercises etc. I have also just started as the Sydney colour stylist for Haymes Paint. Exciting!

I enjoy the online training as it was only a few years ago that I was trying to get my head around some concepts in the world of colour and when I look back I can see and really appreciate how far I have come, how much I have learnt and how I continue to learn. It’s been really exciting to see the students work as they progress through the modules and see the mood boards etc they post and how gorgeous they are.

My go to colour palette would have to be earthy greys – think greys with undertones of silvery greens.  I am also a sucker for a rich teal or dramatic dark, inky navy. It depends what day you ask me!

Inspiration for colour comes from all over the place but I find the biggest and best influences come from nature. I recently attended iscd‘s trends talk and the colour that really came across by the speakers as being the next big thing were all shades of terracotta, which of course will look amazing with my beloved silvery-greeny-greys.

I also find inspiration from instagram. I love the work of Rachel Castle (punchy, fun and energetic use of colour) and I love seeing all the gorgeous artworks appearing on the feed of Greenhouse Interiors, Jumbled Online etc.

For anyone out there who has been thinking about learning more about colour I would recommend looking into doing a little taster course like iscd‘s Colour Essentials and seeing where that takes you. It’s essential you learn colour theory and super helpful to know about colour psychology and this course will run you through the basics. I look forward to seeing you in there!


Surface Design Essentials

Rachel Storey

Hey surface designers!

I’m Rachel, a British illustrator and designer. I’m currently based in London, having recently moved back to the UK from an amazing 2 and a half years in the gorgeous Sydney!

A little about myself… I have a degree in Illustration with Animation from Manchester School of Art where I focused on children’s illustration. My passion is to create fun designs for children and big kids alike. Whether that be through a book, a pattern, greetings card or a single illustration. I grew up in a creative family full of teachers which is primarily where my passion came from.

I have worked with iscd since 2017 and love being part of the ever growing creative community. I completed the Surface Design Diploma in 2018 which really opened me up to the amazing world of patterns! I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge and work with new students as they progress through the Surface Design Essentials short course! I find online platforms can be such an inspirational and sociable thing to be apart of. Plus you get to connect with fellow creatives from all around the world.

Hand-drawn illustrated patterns are the ones that catch my eye the most, the ones that tell a story within them and make your eyes wander all over. Especially ones with a naive and innocent style. There is just something about them that I find so fun and playful!

Picking a favourite designer is so hard… so I’ll have to give you some of my favourites… Cassie Byrnes, Kate Pugsley and Penny Min Ferguson (Min Pin) to name but a few. 

Like most of us these days, I get a lot of my inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram. There is so much talent out there and being part of the creative industry is so special. I also LOVE local markets and stationery shops for getting my inspiration from and it’s a great way to see what’s out there and what’s trending in the industry!

If you have a passion for patterns and gorgeous designs and want to learn the basic skills to create your own then this is a fun, flexible course that will do just that! 


Styling Essentials

Emily Macalpine

Hi, I’m Emily! I studied Architecture and then went on to work at Sydney firm, Tanner Architects which exposed me to both residential and commercial projects. It is from working there that I found my passion for the finer details of design leading me to study Styling at iscd. This gave me the confidence to set up my own creative business while still working with a contemporary art consultant.

Originally from Central West NSW I moved to Melbourne over two years ago from Sydney and set up my own Interior Design business MARG. Studio. I run this alongside teaching the wonderful design students at iscd. I have always loved drawing, painting and generally anything to do with making things by hand. It is a real pleasure to be able to share my skills with the students at iscd.

My favourite thing about teaching styling to the online students has to be getting the opportunity to talk about design with with them! Working in my own business can often be a little isolating so being able to talk to fellow design lovers about design is amazing! It gives me fantastic insights into other people’s views and what is happening in the design world. 

My inspiration at the moment is coming from linen! I am a little obsessed with linen, in particular images by Cultiver who have some great colours and prints on their products and also a great shop front here in Melbourne. 

My advice to anyone that is interested in styling and design is to get curious and engage!! I think it’s important to research broadly and ask lots of questions. Whether that be trying to track down the perfect suppliers or putting together a colour palette. The more you know about the history and back story of design the stronger your outcomes will be.


Want to know more about our online design short courses?