What is Surface Design?

What is Surface Design?

Hi everyone!

Now, I think we´ll never be able to answer that question in a way that everyone will agree. Even the definition for Design isn´t totally clear, let alone surface design. None the less, in this blog my intention is to focus on surface design, it´s definitions, meanings, appliances, amongst others.

Glass Tiles from Abigail Trow's book: Surface

Glass Tiles from Abigail Trow's book: Surface

There are a few blogs about surface design around, some of them are wonderful, such as Design*Sponge and Print & Pattern, but ever since I started studying Surface Design I´ve really missed seeing more academic references around, and I think I´m not alone.

Of course, I don´t know it all, I have so much to learn about surface design, and through this blog I intend to share my discoveries with everyone.

Now, going back to the question above, I have a few definitions by some designers that I find interesting. As I said before, none of them is the absolute truth, but it´s always enriching to find out more about the topic and to hear other people´s opinions.

Surface Design Association

Surface Design encompasses the coloring, patterning, and structuring of fiber and fabric. This involves creative exploration of processes such as dyeing, painting, printing, stitching, embellishing, quilting, weaving, knitting, felting, and papermaking.

Renata Rubim

According to Rubim, Surface Design is used to define all projects made by a designer, in respect to the graphic treatment and color used on a certain surface, industrial or not.

Evelise Rüthschilling

Surface design is a technical creative activity that aims to creat bidimentional images (visual and tactile textures), projected specifically for the constitution and/or treatment of surfaces, presenting aesthetic and functional solutions to the different materials and processes of industrial and handicraft productions.

As you can see, the SDA’s definition refers exclusively to textile surface design, but I think it´s a valid statement none the less. For those of you who read Portuguese, Rubim´s book, “Desenhando a Superfície” (Ed. Rosari, 2005), is a must-have. I´ll talk more about it an other posts.

In my next post I´ll be talking about the different areas in which surface design is most active, hope you guys enjoy it!


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