5 Best Surface Pattern Design Courses and Classes for 2024

Published: May 2, 2024

Key Takeaways

Which is the best surface pattern design course?

Design Surface Patterns From Scratch, led by Bonnie Christine, offers an immersive learning experience through engaging instruction.

Students are guided from the initial stages, covering various aspects of pattern creation, including understanding color theory, exploring different pattern styles, and creating seamless repeats.

With hands-on exercises, students will gain the skills and confidence to produce high-quality surface patterns from scratch.

Surface designers create the patterns that decorate everyday items.

Pattern designers are always in demand for different industrial and other commercial purposes.

Understanding surface pattern design techniques and pattern types allows you to tell stories visually in a more aesthetic way.

With the increasing demand for unique and visually appealing designs in sectors such as fashion, home decor, and textiles, there has never been a better time to explore the world of surface pattern design.

So, if you love creating original patterns, you could become a surface pattern designer as a hobby, side job, or full-time career.

A beginner designer may not find it easy to navigate the crowd of professional designers and attract potential clients’ attention.

In this post, we will walk you through the 5 best surface pattern design courses to expand your skill set and learn from the best in the industry.

List of the 5 Top Rated Surface Pattern Design Courses and Certificates

To start your surface pattern design adventure, we’ve curated a list of the best courses available:

  1. Design Surface Patterns From Scratch: This in-depth course guides learners through creating surface patterns from the ground up. With engaging instruction, students learn to gather inspiration, master Illustrator essentials, and create various repeating patterns.
  2. The Art and Joy of Surface Pattern Design: The course covers everything from fundamentals to business strategies. Students explore color theory, pattern composition, and even the business side of SPD with hands-on projects, evoking a true sense of joy in their creative work.
  3. Surface Pattern Business Course: Learn how to launch a successful surface pattern design business. This course offers step-by-step guidance on building a profitable venture in surface pattern design, covering market research, branding, marketing strategies, and client acquisition.
  4. How to Start Your Surface Pattern Design Business: This course provides instruction on the key aspects of starting a surface pattern design business, including developing your unique style, creating pattern collections, leveraging digital tools like Photoshop and Illustrator, and exploring potential revenue streams.
  5. Surface Pattern Design and Art Licensing Course: Students will learn about the art licensing industry, understand the process of licensing deals, explore different avenues for monetizing their designs, and gain insights into building successful partnerships with licensing agencies and clients.

Our Course Selection Criteria

To ensure excellence, we have established a rigorous evaluation process that scrutinizes every aspect of courses.

  • Expertise: The instructors are seasoned professionals with extensive experience and expertise in their respective fields.
  • Relevance: We aim to provide students with up-to-date information and valuable skills that are in demand in the market.
  • Practicality: These courses include real-world projects, case studies, and exercises to reinforce learning and enhance practical skills.
  • Engagement: These courses feature dynamic multimedia content, interactive quizzes, discussion forums, and live sessions to keep students involved and motivated throughout their learning journey.
  • Student Feedback: Feedback mechanisms like surveys, evaluations, and course reviews are integral to our continuous improvement process.

Let’s explore each of these courses.

1. Design Surface Patterns Course

The editor’s perspective on this course

The renowned artist and educator Bonnie Christine led the design surface patterns course. It is an 8-week program tailored for creatives seeking to excel in surface pattern design.

It is a well-structured course comprising eight modules covering every aspect of surface pattern design, from foundational principles to advanced techniques.

Each module is carefully crafted to build upon the previous one, ensuring a progression through the material.

From mastering Adobe Illustrator to creating captivating collections, every step of the design process is thoroughly explored, providing students with a skill set to thrive in the industry.

The course includes over 225 informative and engaging training videos, all newly recorded for 2024.

Moreover, students are provided with reference materials such as a course workbook packed with 430+ pages of tools, resources, and study guides.

Live Q&A sessions and community engagement promote a supportive learning environment, allowing students to connect with peers and experts.

Students can work at their own pace and tailor their learning experience to fit their schedules and preferences.

Also, the course includes bonus modules and guest lessons, adding value to the course and providing students.

Overall, the course offers an immersive experience for aspiring artists, helping them develop confidence and start careers in this vibrant industry.

Who should take this course?

The Surface Design Immersion Course is ideally suited for individuals who are passionate about creativity and interested in pursuing a career or side hustle in surface pattern design:

  • Aspiring Designers
  • Established Artists
  • Creative Entrepreneurs
  • Career Changer

What topics are covered?

The topics covered in this comprehensive course are categorized into 8 different modules, including:

  • Module 1: Foundations
    • Introduction to Surface Pattern Design
    • Tools and resources for success
    • Mindset management
    • Preparation for future modules
  • Module 2: Gathering Inspiration
    • Techniques for actively seeking and organizing inspiration
    • Translating inspiration into tangible design elements
    • Observational skills and idea collection
  • Module 3: Illustrator Essentials
    • Introduction to Adobe Illustrator
    • Mastering vector illustration techniques
    • Practical exercises to build Illustrator skills
  • Module 4: Illustrator Advanced
    • Advanced Illustrator techniques
    • Creating artwork from various sources (sketches, photos, paintings, etc.)
    • Mastering color tools in Adobe Illustrator
  • Module 5: Repeating Pattern Mastery
    • Exploring and developing a signature style
    • Creating various repeating patterns (tossed, geometric, textured, etc.)
    • Advanced techniques for designing repeating patterns
  • Module 6: Designing in Collections
    • Creating mini and full-size surface pattern design collections
    • Weaving storytelling into designs
    • Portfolio building and presentation techniques
  • Module 7: Income from Your Artwork
    • Strategies for generating income from artwork
    • Choosing an industry for licensing
    • Copyright, contracts, and negotiation skills
  • Module 8: Creative Entrepreneurship
    • Building a captivating brand
    • Marketing strategies for creative businesses
    • Financial literacy and time management for creatives

Who is the instructor?

Bonnie Christine is an artist, pattern designer, and teacher for creatives. She loves making patterns and teaching others how to do it, too.

She didn’t go to school for it but learned everything independently. Now, she helps thousands of people become designers like her. She’s been doing this for over ten years, so she knows a lot!

Bonnie offers lots of cool stuff for free, like surface pattern design classes, worksheets, and colors. She wants to make learning and starting your creative journey easier for you.

Bonnie is like a helpful friend who shows you the way in design.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

The other course the instructor offers is Explore the World of Surface Design.

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Yes, the course requires students to create original designs, practice Adobe Illustrator skills, design collections, develop income generation strategies, and build their portfolios throughout the course.

These practical activities enhance understanding and skill development in surface pattern design.

What are the prerequisites to study?

There are no strict prerequisites for enrollment. However, familiarity with basic computer skills and Adobe Illustrator software can be beneficial for maximizing the learning experience.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

The positive student reviews emphasize the course’s transformative impact on their creative skills and career prospects.

Some students praise the instructor’s teaching approach and the supportive community within the course.

Source: Bonnie Christine

According to the reviews on Quora, the course offers insight into the instructor’s experience and the techniques for making surface pattern designs that enable beginners to develop skills and knowledge.

Source: Quora

3. The Art and Joy of Surface Pattern Design

The editor’s perspective on this course

The Art & Joy of Surface Pattern Design course by Mel Armstrong offers a structured approach to learning surface pattern design.

The course is divided into six modules covering essential aspects of surface pattern design, from fundamentals to business strategies.

Module 1 introduces students to the basics of surface pattern design, including insights into the instructor’s journey and advice on making money in the field.

Subsequent modules delve into finding inspiration, color theory, pattern composition, creating pattern collections, and the business side of surface pattern design.

The curriculum progresses logically from foundational concepts to more advanced techniques.

The course emphasizes developing a signature style, an essential aspect often overlooked in other courses.

The course videos are clear, engaging, and professionally produced, making it easy for students to follow along and understand complex concepts.

The course provides downloadable PDFs and videos for each module, allowing students to revisit the content at their own pace.

Overall, this course is a valuable investment for anyone passionate about pursuing a career in surface pattern design.

Who should take this course?

This course is ideal for anyone interested in learning surface pattern design, whether they’re beginners looking to start a creative career or experienced artists seeking to refine their skills and build a portfolio.

What topics are covered?

The course covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • Fundamentals of Surface Pattern Design
  • Finding inspiration and developing a signature style
  • Color theory and creating cohesive color palettes
  • Pattern composition techniques in Procreate, Photoshop, and Illustrator
  • Creating pattern collections and presenting them effectively
  • Business aspects such as pricing, contracts, licensing, and marketing strategies

Who is the instructor?

Mel Armstrong’s journey from ballet dancer to versatile creative artist is inspiring. Born and raised in New Zealand, she followed her passion for ballet to Australia, where she trained at the prestigious Australian Ballet School.

Mel’s resilience led her to explore various creative avenues, including acting, graphic design, and web design.

Mel’s talent and dedication have earned her recognition worldwide. Her illustrations adorn products worldwide, from shoes and greeting cards to children’s books.

As a top teacher on Skillshare, Mel has shared her expertise with thousands of students, empowering aspiring artists to pursue their creative passions.

Her signature courses on surface design patterns reflect her commitment to nurturing talent and creativity within the design community.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

The other courses offered by the instructor include:

  • Art Licensing for Surface Pattern designers
  • Create a Half Drop Repeat Pattern in Photoshop using Smart Objects

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Throughout the course, students engage in hands-on projects that involve creating mood boards, sketching motifs, experimenting with color palettes, designing patterns using various software platforms like Procreate, Photoshop, and Illustrator, and compiling pattern collections.

What are the prerequisites to study?

It would be ideal if you have little experience in Illustrator, Photoshop, or Procreate for this course.

The instructor demonstrates and teaches how to color, add texture, and compose patterns in each of these programs, but you’ll need to understand the basics of either one of those programs first.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

According to the comments on the YouTube video, the students found the course exciting and learned new functionalities in Photoshop for their surface pattern design work.

Source: YouTube

Learners appreciate Mel’s clear and friendly teaching style and the valuable insights on various aspects of surface pattern design, including techniques in different software, building collections, developing personal style, and the business side of SPD.

Source: Mel Armstrong

3. Surface Pattern Business Course

The editor’s perspective on this course

The Surface Pattern Business Course, led by Elizabeth L. Silver, is a blueprint for artists who want to turn their passion into a profitable venture.

The course covers essential aspects like marketing strategies, client outreach, and mindset cultivation.

Through seven well-structured modules, students gain actionable insights into building a strong online presence, leveraging social media, and effectively pitching their services.

The course comprises seven modules, each focusing on a key aspect of building a successful surface pattern business.

  • Module 1 lays the foundation by exploring the fundamentals of starting a surface pattern business and identifying potential income sources.
  • Module 2 delves into creating an effective portfolio website to showcase one’s art and establish credibility.
  • Module 3 emphasizes leveraging social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram to connect with potential clients and expand one’s reach.
  • Module 4 offers valuable insights into finding and reaching out to potential clients through various methods and research techniques.
  • Module 5 highlights the importance of community building and networking within the industry for mutual support and growth.
  • Module 6 provides strategies for pitching artwork directly to decision-makers and building lasting client relationships.
  • Lastly, Module 7 develops a consistent follow-up system to ensure continued communication and client acquisition.

The course also includes topics on motivational mindset and customizable email templates that add value, while monthly office hours provide personalized support.

The course videos are highly informative, providing step-by-step instructions and real-life examples.

The instructor’s engaging teaching style keeps viewers motivated and focused throughout the course.

Students receive curated workbooks, resources, and templates to complement the video lessons.

The Portfolio Website Planner offers step-by-step guidance for creating a professional online presence, while the First Clients Contract Kit provides legally vetted contract templates for freelance work and licensing deals.

Students can also contact us during monthly office hours for personalized support and community-building.

Who should take this course?

This class is NOT for you if you don’t already have a starter art collection (roughly 8-10 strong patterns, illustrations, or hand-lettering designs that could look good on products).

This course is ideal for artists, designers, and creatives who have a collection of designs and are ready to monetize their artwork by featuring it on products.

What topics are covered?

The course covers a range of topics essential for building a successful surface pattern design business:

  • Foundations: Understanding the fundamentals of starting a surface pattern business, exploring income sources, and focusing on product categories.
  • Show off Your Services – Website: Create an effective portfolio website to showcase your designs and establish credibility.
  • Show off Your Services – Social Media: Utilizing platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram to connect with potential clients and promote your work.
  • Find Your People—Clients: Learn effective methods for finding companies that need artwork for their products and techniques for reaching out to them.
  • Find Your People – Community: Harnessing the power of community and networking with other artists and designers.
  • Ask for What You Want: Pitching your work directly to decision-makers using templates and tools for streamlining communication.
  • Consistency is Key: Establishing a long-term follow-up system to build lasting relationships and secure client projects.

Who is the instructor?

Elizabeth L. Silver is a versatile author with acclaimed works spanning fiction and memoir.

Her novels, including “The Majority” and “The Execution of Noa P. Singleton,” have garnered praise from major publications and earned prestigious awards.

Alongside her writing career, Elizabeth has contributed to numerous esteemed publications and served in various literary capacities, from judging literary awards to teaching creative writing in diverse settings.

With a background in law and a commitment to social justice, she continues to make meaningful contributions to the literary and legal communities.

Elizabeth resides in Los Angeles and teaches creative writing at UCLA.

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Each module includes actionable video lessons paired with curated workbooks and additional resources.

These assignments provide practical opportunities to apply the knowledge gained in the course, ensuring that students can effectively implement the strategies and techniques in their own surface pattern design businesses.

What are the prerequisites to study?

The prerequisites for studying this course include having a collection of designs ready for commercial use, a desire to build a profitable creative business, and basic familiarity with digital tools like computers and the internet.

Additionally, understanding basic design principles and some experience in creating patterns or illustrations would be beneficial.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

The review on Reddit highlights the potential for artists to license their work to companies and brands for use on products.

This course provides abundant information for artists interested in entering the art licensing field, particularly as solo artists.

Source: Reddit

The comments on the YouTube channel praise the teaching style and sharing of knowledge and experience.

One student appreciated Elizabeth’s valuable insights, while another stated that the course was a guide for art licensing and related topics.

Source: YouTube

4. How to Start Your Surface Pattern Design Business

The editor’s perspective on this course

How to Start Your Surface Pattern Design Business is a budget-friendly course by Carina Gardner that shares the necessary skills and knowledge to monetize their craft effectively.

This course bridges this gap by offering topics that teach design principles and provide valuable insights on generating income as a designer.

One of the standout features of this course is its extensive and diverse curriculum. The program offers a holistic approach to design education, covering various topics, including surface pattern design, Silhouette or Cricut design, printables, clipart, and fonts.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to explore different design avenues or an experienced designer seeking to expand your skill set, this course provides valuable insights and practical knowledge to help you succeed in the industry.

The course videos are well-produced and engaging, making learning a seamless and enjoyable experience.

Each video is structured to provide step-by-step guidance, allowing students to follow along and implement the lessons.

Moreover, the instructor provides real-life examples and case studies to add depth, making the content more relatable and applicable.

Students can access various resources, from downloadable guides and worksheets to templates and checklists.

Also, the instructor provides feedback and guidance, ensuring that they receive personalized support.

Overall, it delivers a well-rounded learning experience that equips students with the knowledge and confidence to succeed in the competitive design industry.

Who should take this course?

This course suits aspiring and experienced designers, creative entrepreneurs, artists, crafters, students, and hobbyists looking to monetize their design skills and turn their creative passion into a profitable venture.

What topics are covered?

The topics covered in this course are:

  • 5 Easy-to-follow strategies creatives need to get started
  • 2 Step-by-step crash course videos helping you get started in Illustrator
  • Learn the six holes beginning designers have in new businesses so you can avoid failure
  • Understand the steps to creating residual income
  • Learn ways to make money now instead of chasing manufacturer contracts
  • Learn how Doable becomes a profitable designer if you choose the right action steps

Who is the instructor?

Carina Gardner is a designer, entrepreneur, and educator with years of experience in the design industry.

With a Ph.D. in Design from the University of Minnesota, Carina has not only excelled in academia as a design instructor at prestigious institutions like the University of Minnesota and the Arts Institute but has also made significant contributions to the world of design through her successful ventures.

As the founder of the Carina Gardner brand, Carina has made her mark across various product categories, including dishware, jewelry, prints, clocks, sewing patterns, and holiday products.

Her influence extends to the textile industry, where she is renowned as a fabric designer for Riley Blake Designs and a die-cut designer for Silhouette.

She has also held prominent roles such as Creative Director of Carta Bella Scrapbook papers, further solidifying her design leadership and creative direction expertise.

As the CEO of Design Suite, she leads a program focused on surface patterns and crafting design and provides valuable guidance on effectively monetizing design skills.

Her Make and Design Podcast is a valuable resource for those transitioning from crafting hobbies to profitable design careers.

Carina Gardner continues inspiring and empowering designers worldwide through her expertise, mentorship, and dedication to the design community.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

Yes, the other courses offered by the instructor include:

  • Design bootcamp
  • Design Suite Mastermind
  • Accelerated Designer Workshop Series

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Yes, students are encouraged to apply what they have learned through hands-on projects and assignments.

What are the prerequisites to study?

There are no specific prerequisites mentioned for studying in the Design Suite program.

However, individuals interested in joining the program should have a basic understanding of design concepts and a passion for learning and monetizing their design skills.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

According to the reviews, the course is helpful for learning design stuff, especially making patterns.

Some students like how easy the lessons are to follow and how the teacher shares many good tips.

Source: Carina Gardner

While the reviewer finds the information helpful, they note that the teaching style is more conversational than academic.

Source: Reddit

5. Surface Pattern Design and Art Licensing Course

The editor’s perspective on this course

Surface Pattern Design and Art Licensing Course, led by Rachelle Holowko, unlocks the full potential of budding artists and designers.

With a detailed curriculum, engaging course videos, and valuable reference materials, it promises to guide participants toward becoming thriving creatives.

The course is based on a holistic approach to creative growth, focusing on developing technical skills and addressing mindset barriers.

The topics include creating pattern designs, building a successful creative business, and personal development strategies.

Students will learn how to create pattern designs in Photoshop and Illustrator, develop their signature style, and monetize their designs.

Moreover, the course includes modules on breaking free from limiting beliefs and creativity. These modules are structured in a step-by-step format, making it easy for students to follow along and apply the lessons.

The course videos feature clear and concise instructions in a visually appealing format. The instructor provides detailed demonstrations of each concept, making it easy for students to understand and replicate the techniques.

From downloadable workbooks and templates to bonus resources and recommended reading lists, students can access everything they need to succeed.

Who should take this course?

It is suitable for aspiring and established artists and designers looking to enhance their skills and monetize their designs.

What topics are covered?

Here’s a detailed list of topics covered in the course:

  • Introduction to Pattern Design
  • Understanding Photoshop and Illustrator Tools for Pattern Design
  • Creating Motifs and Elements for Patterns
  • Designing Pattern Repeats in Photoshop
  • Designing Pattern Repeats in Illustrator
  • Color Theory and Palette Selection for Patterns
  • Building Pattern Collections
  • Monetizing Pattern Designs
  • Business Strategies for Creative Entrepreneurs

Who is the instructor?

Rachelle Holowko is an Australian artist, surface pattern designer, educator, and coach passionate about helping creatives thrive and succeed in pattern design and building their creative businesses.

Their journey into the world of creativity began in 2000 when they transitioned from a musical theatre career to a more creatively fulfilling career.

Discovering surface pattern design sparked a love that led them to work within the industry, honing their skills and eventually teaching surface pattern design at a university level.

Combining their teaching and design expertise, they founded Pattern and Design to share their passion and knowledge with others.

Recognizing the importance of addressing personal beliefs and subconscious blocks, they expanded their focus to include coaching and mentoring to help creatives overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

Through their work, they aim to empower others to thrive and reach the success they dream of.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

Here’s the list of courses offered by the instructor:

  • Ultimate Guide To Creating Seamless Repeats In Illustrator
  • Photoshop Pattern Repeats Made Easy
  • Mock Up Your Surface Pattern Designs Masterclass
  • Design Elevation Mini-Course

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Students are guided through creating pattern designs and collections in Photoshop and Illustrator.

They also have the opportunity to apply their designs to various products, which helps enhance their understanding of the concepts taught in the course.

What are the prerequisites to study?

No specific prerequisites are mentioned for the course, but basic familiarity with design software like Photoshop and Illustrator might be helpful.


Learning the basics of surface pattern design can be overwhelming. But with the right courses, anyone can become a professional in a few weeks.

So, if you’re thinking about making a career transition and want to learn some foundational skills without getting a degree through formal studies, you can start with these 5 best surface pattern design courses.

All these courses are best if you want to launch a freelance career, license artwork, or start a design business. They will open up a world of career possibilities in the industry.

Most importantly, these online courses and certificate programs allow you to work and learn on your terms with flexible course plans and certifications.