Introduction to Surface Design: Creating and Mixing Patterns

, Faculty, Maryland Institute College of Art

Student Projects View all projects →

Ann Kilzer

Ann Kilzer


Allie Runnion

Allie Runnion


Shelly Penko

Shelly Penko


Class Project

Design a pattern collection

About the Class

Oh, patterns! Beautiful, inscrutable, mesmerizing patterns, I love them so, and as a quick jaunt around the internet will prove, I am not alone in this love. Great pattern design is at once logical and whimsical, repetitive but surprising, intricate and simple. When a beautiful pattern is applied to the right surface it has the power to delight and amaze. Equally so, an unresolved pattern, or poor application, has the power to drive our visual senses to madness. And that’s all before trying to make a pattern work well with another pattern–Amirite?!

What You'll Learn

  • Pattern essentials. The fundamentals of pattern recognition, design and application.
  • Personal style/brand. We’ll focus on creating our own thematic collections of 3 patterns that will mix, match and apply beautifully on a number of surfaces.
  • Expression. Pattern collections are very personal style statements and fabulous opportunities for self-expression. 

What You'll Do

Design and work with multiple patterns that will be intoxicating, and potentially bring unique visual interest to a project. You'll create pattern designs that hits all the major principles and elements of design with contrast, balance, scale and color being among the chief operating officers. 

Who This Class is For
This is a fantastic course for beginning and established designers looking to develop their skills with color, texture and personal style. Artists/designers/makers/crafters will all find useful and practical suggestions for creating and mixing effective yet alluring patterns. So yeah, let’s get this pattern party started! All hands in?

To complete the projects, you will need access to Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape (free).

More Information

Level: Beginner

School: Design

Related Subjects: Fashion, Digital Patterns, Pattern Making, Pattern Design, Surface Pattern

At a Glance

  • Non-Membership Class
  • 19 Video Lessons (1h 41m)
  • 4.5K Students
  • 100% Positive Reviews (66)
  • Self-Paced Online Class
  • 14-Day Money Back Guarantee

About the Teacher

Jenna Frye

Jenna Frye

Faculty, Maryland Institute College of Art

My name is Jenna. I teach, I make stuff, I talk about teaching and making stuff. I'm a very proud member of the full time Foundation Faculty at MICA where I'm lucky enough to get paid ...

100% Positive Reviews

Cathy Chen

Cathy Chen

Really great theory and instructions - clear and easy to follow. Thanks Jenna!

View all reviews