BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern


Program Description

Applying to study with us in September 2021?

This course is currently under revalidation, with the new title BA (Hons) Textile Design. Degrees listed as subject to revalidation are in the final stage of our rigorous approval process, ensuring our well-established undergraduate curriculum accurately reflects the excellent academic and employment opportunities available to students. Through close consultation with industry experts, academics, students and alumni, you can be sure the course you study will prepare you for a bright future in the ever-changing creative industries.

Studying on our BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern programme will stimulate your entrepreneurial spirit, challenging and equipping you to be a first-class designer.

The subject of printed textile design and the surface pattern is broad and dynamic, covering everything from fashion and print designs to interior upholsteries, bed linen, wallpapers, patterns for plastics, gift wrap and more.

We’ll encourage you to understand commercial opportunities and to develop your own design personality. You’ll be supported in developing and realising your creative ambitions, and equipped with the knowledge to begin your professional career in the textile and surface pattern design world.

Through sponsored industrial projects you’ll learn how to meet the needs of clients and see your designs made ready for production, gaining real-life design experience – refining your attitudes towards design, style and taste. 

Drawing, design research, design development, use of colour, CAD skills, technical knowledge of printing, and professional practice will all be integrated into your projects. These core skills will help you to gain greater confidence and grow as a designer. You’ll develop creative sophistication, plus an attitude of visual investigation.

You’ll work on projects from design research, through to design development and fabric printing and production. You’ll also be encouraged to be experimental with design, whilst expanding your knowledge of materials, printing techniques and processes, advancing both your design and craft skills. Opportunities for live work experience in your second year also further your career prospects. 

Our design studio is dynamic and friendly, professional and nurturing. You’ll be taught by a team of professional designers with real knowledge of the subject, giving you the opportunity to learn all that is important for you as an emerging young designer. 

You’ll be equipped to start your career, and able to capitalise on your design skills, whether designing for large, well-known brands or starting your own enterprise.

What will I achieve?

This programme strives for students to become accomplished and inspirational textiles designers. You will learn how to design for both fashion and interiors, be able to make designs in repeat, and print on all kinds of surfaces using our screen printing and digital printing equipment.

With access to our innovative Fab Lab, you can use digital technology to challenge the concepts of materials and texture – prompting you to think about possible collaborations. We will provide you with ample opportunities to build up your own set of experiences and contacts, including a visit to an international textile design exhibition.

As part of your professional development practice, you’ll gain the skills to become confident organising your own insightful and advantageous work placements for prestigious brands and designers such as Timorous Beasties, Zandra Rhodes, Humbug Design, Bay & Brown textile design agents, Mirjam Rouden textile design studio, and British Ceramic Tile. 

You’ll benefit from opportunities to design for live, sponsored projects and we actively encourage you to enter national and international design competitions.

Thinking & making  

Study with us and you’ll expand your critical approach alongside developing skills in research and analysis. Our academically robust and intellectually stimulating degree programmes are delivered by our team of academics, technical demonstrators and invited experts who together deliver excellence in learning, teaching and assessment. Our programmes encourage diversity in thinking and making - from practical applications through to reflective, analytical writing.

We provide a dynamic, stimulating learning environment from which to test new models of practice while investing in the rich relationship between practice and theory - based on the potential in material and visual exploration, collaborative working, cross-fertilisation of ideas, and the exploration of histories and contemporary contexts.

Opportunities for studying abroad are available at our partner institutions.

BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern — Highlights:

  • Work on ambitious projects – designing for large, well-known brands such as Clarks, Zandra Rhodes, Mercedes-Benz, Vispring, Princess Yachts and British Ceramic Tile. The projects are diverse, and give you the chance to learn about designing textiles and surfaces for fashion, interiors and a large variety of products.
  • Learn from dedicated professionals who will nurture and develop your skills and aspirations.
  • Take a work experience placement and make the most of study opportunities in Europe with one of our partner Erasmus universities.
  • Learn about pricing and selling your designs, and how to approach customers.
  • Enjoy your own workspace and access to 32.5 metres of printing tables and large-format digital printers, sublimation printers and a large-format transfer press.


Year 1

  • BAPX101 Drawing and Visual Research
  • BAPX102 Workshop, Materials and Digital Practices
  • BAPX103 Design for Industry
  • BAPX104 Professional Practice & Professional Development Plan (PDP) 1
  • BAIS300 Interdisciplinary Studies
  • BCOP100 Contexts of Practice 1

Year 2

  • BAPX201 Design Team
  • BAPX202 Personal Project
  • BAPX203 Professional Practice & Professional Development Plan (PDP) 2
  • GCOP200 Contexts of Practice 2

Year 3

  • BAPX301 Research and Experimentation
  • BAPX302 Creative and Professional Development
  • BAPX303 Creative and Professional Conclusion
  • BAPX304 Contexts of Practice 3
    • Pathway One - Written Research Project (WRP) is an opportunity to conduct a substantive piece of independent research, which is focused on an area related to creative practice. 
    • Pathway Two - Contextual Enquiry Project (CEP) is a practice-led research project with critical commentary, in which students conduct an in-depth inquiry intended to inform and reposition their creative practice.

All modules listed are compulsory.

Careers & alumni

All of our academic teamwork in design, professionally. We also arrange regular visits from leading artists and designers. You’ll be introduced to potential employers through sponsored live projects, where you will meet designers from industry and create designs for them to consider for production.

For example, students have collaborated with disciplines from across the college for a design competition with Mercedes-Benz smart cars to design and launch new body panel decals, with the winning design team’s work put into production.

Towards the end of your first year and into your second year, you’ll have the chance to add to your experience through a work placement with a well-known brand or design studio.

In your second year, you’ll have the chance to visit some of the most important design events in Europe, such as Heimtextil in Frankfurt, Première Vision and Maison & Objet in Paris, and combine this with a study tour event as well as the possibility of exhibiting your work at a major international design show such as the respected London Design Fair. 

Our strong international connections allow our students to take a semester of study with one of our partner institutions within Europe and North America, and in turn, we welcome overseas students from those institutions to join us in our design studios, creating an exciting cultural exchange.

​Sponsors, supporters and collaborators

Since the launch of our new Textile Studio in September 2014, our students have been working with the support of a number of textile and design professionals from the industry. 

Sponsored projects, design competitions, guest presentations and work placements are very important for the students in gaining key experience, keeping connected to cutting-edge trends and techniques, and making invaluable contacts – preparing for a life ready for the industry as soon as they graduate.

We thank our friends in the design profession for their valuable support – including Harlequin, Wrag Wrap, Zandra Rhodes, Brume, Clarks, and more.

From February 2015 we are also proud to include Harlequin in our Industry Liaison Group – a luxury interior furnishings group which design, manufacture, market and distribute wall coverings, furnishing fabrics and more and whose brands include Zoffany, Sanderson, Morris & Co., Harlequin and Scion.

Graduates from our BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design and Surface Pattern become:

  • Textile Designers for International Brands
  • Freelance Textile Designers
  • Design Stylists
  • Design Researchers
  • Trend Forecasters
  • Surface Pattern Designers
  • Lecturers
  • Textile Buyers

‘Careers & Enterprise in the Curriculum’ at Plymouth College of Art 

Professional practice is embedded within all of our programmes.  Throughout your studies, you will have the opportunity to develop the key professional, transferable skills for employability in the creative industries and potentially work in partnership with other sectors locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

From writing and making the most of your CV to gaining industry experience, the acquisition of professional skills has been written into the programmes of study by our staff teams, who have ‘real world’ experience. They are also supported by our Industry Liaison Groups, who help inform the development of the higher education curriculum.

Our students say

We asked some of our first-year students what the thought of our BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design and Surface Pattern programme in one sentence.

‘Staff are industry professionals’, says Ailsa Borland.

‘The design studio is bright and spacious, a joy to work in’, says Sarah Court.

‘The program expands your creativity’, says Lewis Stewart.

‘Gives you the freedom to discover’, says Chloe England.

‘Access to good quality equipment’, says Zoe Woodford.

‘Repeat patterns….they’re like magic’, says Lily Cumming.

‘I feel like I will get a job at the end of the programme’, says Winona Flay.

‘Everybody’s friendly’, says Natalie Blackshaw.

‘There’s always staff around the help’, says Heidi Wyett

“I definitely feel like our individuality was nurtured, and although hard work, the programme and tutors have given me the confidence I need to now start setting up my own business. The facilities are second to none, and if I had to re-do my degree, I would still choose Plymouth College of Art.” Winona Flay, 2017 Graduate

Entry requirements

2020 onwards: A portfolio and 112 - 120 UCAS points (earned through A-levels, BTEC National Diploma, or Foundation Diploma etc).

We also welcome applications from students who do not have formal qualifications but can provide evidence of their creativity, skills and experience. You will also be required to attend an interview in person or via Skype, Google Meet or similar online platform.

International students

Language requirements for study at Degree level

  • Trinity College London
    • Integrated Skills in English II (Level B2), minimum grade required: Reading: Pass Listening: Pass Certificate valid for two years
  • IELTS SELT Consortium
    • IELTS (Level B2), minimum grade required: IELTS overall score of 6.0 with a minimum score Listening: 5.5, Speaking: 5.5, Reading: 5.5, Writing: 5.5,
    • Certificate valid for two years

Visa requirements

  • As an international student, you will need a Tier 4 (General) student visa which you can apply for online.


Based within the city centre campus, our print studios carry 32.5 metres of printing tables, a superbly equipped dye laboratory for mixing print colours, and a range of state-of-the-art digital printers and scanners enabling you to sample fabrics with immediate turnaround.

You’ll also have access to AVA software, WGSN and Future Laboratory, a large format sublimation printer and transfer press and an expansive, open, light design studio, where you will have your own workspace station to develop your ideas from the digital screen through to print.

In addition to all our printing facilities, we offer you the use of knitting machines, digital embroidery machines and tufting guns for making carpets.

We aim to encourage your creative education, and help you to develop your career through your studies and after. Our Careers & Enterprise office provides support from a dedicated team who are purely focused on developing creative opportunities. And this doesn’t stop when you graduate – we want to keep in contact and help support you through the first two years of your career.

Facilities at the college include:

Animation, Film and Photography Studios

Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software.

Ceramics and Glass Workshops

With a glass furnace that works at 1,100 degrees, 10 potters wheels, resources for hot, warm and cold glass processes, a plaster room for mould making, 16 kilns, a well-stocked glaze mixing area and individual studio space, our Ceramics and Glass Workshops have a real ‘wow’ factor, rivalling any art school around the country.

Drawing Studios

With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.

Fab Lab

Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted-out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.

Fashion Studios

This large professional studio offers a real-life fashion experience in a fabulous space with sea views. Specialist industrial and domestic sewing machines, a range of knitting machines and a wide stock of fabrics and knitting yarns sit alongside a media and marketing Mac suite, a fully operational CAD cutting facility, and a library of designer garments to inspire.

Fine Art Printmaking Studios

A fantastic facility supporting fine art printmaking, our dedicated space caters for a wide range of programmes and processes. You’ll get access to a 150-year-old Columbian press, an Albion press, a historic and rare wallpaper press, and an automatic FAG proofing press, plus a broad selection of metal and wood type, vacuum screen-printing beds, and four etching presses.

Jewellery Design Studio

Housed in our fantastic new Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, this stunning space provides everything for contemporary and traditional techniques in jewellery design, including benches supplied with gas and oxygen, in-house metal casting resources, hand and machine-forming tools, facilities for vitreous enamelling, and a separate chemical room for etching, anodising and patternation. We also have larger metalwork equipment for welding, brazing, cutting and grinding.

Textile Studios

With views out to sea and 35 metres of print tables to encourage experimentation, our Printed Textile Design Studios also boast a fantastic Mimaki fabric printer, digital embroidery resources, industrial sewing machines, sublimation printers, a dye lab, heat presses, a tufting gun and a Mac suite. It’s got to be one of the best-printed textile workshops in the UK.

Digital Print Bureau and Equipment Resource Centre

Our Digital Print Bureau offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services. Our highly experienced Equipment Resource Centre staff can advise you on which of our 6,000 pieces of industry-standard kit – from underwater cameras to traditional large format cameras and all free to hire – will best meet your needs.

Woods and Plastics Workshop

Alongside the latest in new technology, we value the long-standing traditions of making in wood and plastics – and have developed an excellently-resourced workshop that is open to all our students. It boasts a wide range of kit, including an impressive CNC router, plenty of saws and lathes, and strip-heaters, as well as greenwood-working facilities.

Last updated Aug 2020

About the School

Founded in 1856, Plymouth College of Art is an art school run by artists and designers for artists and designers. We are home to a dynamic, cross-disciplinary community of makers and thinkers for whom ... Read More

Founded in 1856, Plymouth College of Art is an art school run by artists and designers for artists and designers. We are home to a dynamic, cross-disciplinary community of makers and thinkers for whom making is as important as reading and writing, and where the purpose of learning is inseparable from that of living your life. A place for making things, and making things happen. For making a difference. Read less