Surface Design

What Is Surface Design, Exactly? Surface Design Definition

You could possibly think of “Surface Design” as basically being synonymous with other phrases such as “fiber art” or “textile design”. Surface design can include a variety of techniques including fabric dyeing, yarn dyeing, fabric painting, batik, block printing, screen printing, stitching, embroidery, embellishing, quilting, knitting, crochet, weaving or felting. Some people also think of paper making as a surface design technique.

Usually, it’s the combination of these techniques that elevates a piece of ordinary fabric into a unique surface design. For example, if you quilt with a hand-dyed or hand-embroidered fabric, that’s the epitome of a surface design piece.

Learn Surface Design Techniques:

We offer numerous pages on how to do various surface design techniques. Check ’em out:

Fabric Dyeing



Fabric Painting

Screen Printing





Plain crochet makes a richly textured surface to embellish with other techniques such as embroidery and fabric painting. Alternatively, you can make highly decorative crocheted fabrics just by combining different crochet techniques. If you want to learn more about crochet, you’re invited to check out the following pages on our website:

Embroidery and Stitching


Quilting: Learn all about quilting here.

Quilting: Learn all about quilting here.

So there you have it: That’s an overview of surface design and the various techniques it encompasses. We hope this information is helpful to you, and that you will be inspired to create your own unique and creative surface design pieces.

Posted By: Amy Solovay

About the Author: Amy Solovay is a former surface design instructor at California Design College, where she taught fashion design and fashion marketing majors how to tie dye, batik, and block print on fabric. She holds a degree in textile design and worked in the textile industry for about a decade before transitioning to a career in freelance writing.