I recently participated in my first ever online course which was destined to teach me about monetising my designs. It was one of the courses offered by the renowned design school, Make It In Design: ‘The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design‘. I had a lot of fun following the classes of ‘Module 3 – Monetising Your Designs‘ and getting started with the endless creative exercises. We kicked off with something very unusual: nail art. At this point I was even a bit taken aback and wondered what on earth I got myself into… However, the other tasks seemed more in line with my aspirations and I was quickly reassured. The course provided technical training, detailed descriptions of various sectors that would be interested by surface pattern design, interviews with renowned designers and valuable insight from Rachel Taylor, the co-founder of Make It In Design. We tested our skills designing greeting cards, tea towels and even surf boards. (Any many other things, but I doubt I can reveal the entire content of the course…) Unfortunately, I had some commissioned work during the same time as the course (well, it is quite fortunate if I want to be completely honest…) so I couldn’t keep up with the second part of the course. Luckily, I will have access to everything for the next six months and I’m planning to go through all that I missed. I really appreciated how well structured and diverse the content of this Module was. However, the aspect I didn’t expect to value this much was the community I became part of. We had a closed Facebook group for all the participants where we could share our work in progress, our design ideas, doubts, suggestions and give each other feedback. Being a freelance creative in Madagascar is quite a lonely experience most of the time but thanks to the Make It In Design community I now feel part of a group. Some are much more advanced in their careers than me, others are just starting off. Certain people have proper art training and have worked as designers for decades, others, like me are autodidacts. What we share is our genuine enthusiasm for doing this work, creating, dealing with colours and persevering. (And, I have a feeling that we all LOVE pretty stationery products…hahaha). I never met any of these people in person, but I am so grateful for their encouragement and support. And for allowing me to see their trials and tribulations, which is very reassuring! And I suddenly feel much less lonely! :-) Here are some other examples of my work from this course: Greeting card design I’ve been planning to draw the trams of Budapest (my hometown) for over a year. We had no restrictions on the greeting card design, so I took the opportunity and finally did it! I’m still wondering about the hand lettering of the title, but am happy about the rest. Christmas card design I thought I’d be a rebel and deviate from the snowflake-reindeer-christmas tree triangle and the red-white-green X-mas colour palette. I’m not sure how many people would go for this as a Christmas card, but hey, dare to be different, right? Geometric tea-towel design I read a book about patterns last year (Lotta Kühlhorn: Designing Patterns) and I followed the author’s advise: I turned my life into a pattern. So, below is my 2017. Each rectangle is a month and the circles and triangles all stand for something. (It will remain my secret what exactly they represent though…). Someone told me that this has a 60s-70s vibe, which is true, although it was not intentional. =) Product love This exercise didn’t require us to design anything but to collect products we love. Hah! You don’t have to ask me twice to look at pretty things online and make a moodboard… I have items below that I would like to design myself and designers/brands whose work I really like. Let’s see where I’ll be in a few years… Until then, I’ll be busy monetising my designs and (hopefully) contributing to something nice/pretty/useful (or, preferably, all of the above!).