Course Description

RISD CE course: Surface Design: Introduction

Surface design is artwork that is intended to be applied to the surface of a product, enhancing its appearance. Textiles, wallpaper, housewares, paper goods and apparel are a handful of the items we see on a daily basis that are adorned with surface design. Inherent to this design process is putting patterns into repeat and understanding common commercial printing methods that affect the design process. In this course, students start from their own original artwork created by hand or digitally. They will learn which program to choose for their work style, and use digital tools to make the surface design process easier. These digital tools allow greater freedom to develop repeats, change colors and play with scale. Lessons focus on how-to and workflow methods between analog and digital design, as students create patterns, craft colorways and make design decisions based on their own personal aesthetic. Visualizing these designs on any three-dimensional object, be it ceramics, furniture, apparel or an entire room interior, is the exciting final step. Students share their prints and digital rendering with the class for a final critique.

This course is the perfect companion to Surface Pattern Design: from Concept to Market. 

Prior experience with Photoshop and Illustrator is preferred but not required.


Students must be an adult age 18 or older to participate.


Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in
Online, Asynchronous
Jun 17, 2024 to Jul 28, 2024
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $475.00 Click here to get more information
Drop Request Deadline
Jul 08, 2024
Transfer Request Deadline
Apr 02, 2024 to Jun 12, 2024
Withdrawal Request Deadline
Jun 17, 2024 to Jul 28, 2024
Necessary Supplies

Students are responsible for purchasing their own art supplies, equipment, software subscriptions, and/or books. For most classes, the cost is under $125 (estimate). A supply list will be available on the course site in Canvas at least 30 days prior to the first day of class. 

Once you have received your enrollment confirmation and logged in to Canvas, navigate to Upcoming Courses on the left-hand side of your dashboard. Supplies will be listed on your course homepage under the supplies heading. Some or all of your course supplies are available at the RISD Store. 

Section Notes

This course section requires access to one or more applications that are part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. Please visit the Adobe website to check "minimum system requirements" for your computer before registering.

  • This course requires access to Adobe Photoshop. 
  • AND This course requires access to Adobe Illustrator. 
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