Wednesday, 29 August 2012


Hello, and welcome to Wednesday's installment of Featured Designer Spotlight. 

In-case anyone is just joining us, I am a student on 'The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design', you can find out more information about it right here. In the run up to me (and my classmates) beginning module 3, I have decided to showcase some of the talent that we have in the group. 

Today I share the work of the wonderful Sylvia Tay Designs. 

Can you tell me a little bit about your background in Surface Pattern Design?

After graduating in visual communications, I worked in a design firm for 2 years. Shortly after, I started a design business with my then fine-arts trained boyfriend and now husband. For the next 12 years I did what I was passionate with, working on a variety of projects such as publications, corporate identity and direct mailers. In 2007, after we had our first child, I took a step back from designing to take care of him. My love for surface pattern design began when I had a chance to illustrate 12 patterns for a calendar. I had enjoyed the design process very much and it was then when I started taking notice of fabrics and anything where patterns would show up. I found myself eagerly waiting for each issue of Elle Deco, Vogue Living, Living Etc and other home decor magazines to launch so that I could feast my eyes upon the lovely patterns on wallpapers, stationery or tea towels they featured. I had a stroke of good luck when I chanced upon the blog of a student from the first intake of the ABSPD course. When I explored further, I realised that it was what I had wanted to do all this while.

What made you apply for the ABSPD course and what have you gained from it so far?

I started an Etsy shop 2 years ago with the hope of designing greeting cards to sell. However, I never did succeed in listing anything on my shop. As strange as this sounds coming from an experienced graphic designer (ok, I blame it partly upon an absence of a design brief lol), the truth was that I was uninspired after losing touch with my creativity during the time I was a homemaker. The ABSPD course has definitely revived my passion to design and it pushed my creativity to a higher level. In a matter of three months, I was able to do pattern repeats and even collections. I now have a blog and I had joined a couple of competitions. One of my design, "A Nostalgic Voyage", even won the "Top Ten Fabrics of the Week" title from Spoonflower! These would not have been achievable in such a short frame of time if I had not attended the ABSPD course. I am immensely grateful to Rachael & Beth!

Can you describe your style and what methods you use to create your designs?

 think my style is layered, colourful, graphical and sometimes quirky. I love whimsical designs, especially illustrations from the mid-century and these influences tend to be evident in my works. My designs are frequently hand-drawn and then manipulated on the computer. I also like to add textures either digitally or using the traditional medium and then scanned in.

Where do you see your work progressing in the next few years, and what industry would you say you are aiming at?

Oh there are so many possibilities, really. I love the idea of my designs on fabric, wallpapers and home wares. The Graphic Designer in me would like to have patterns on paper. But right now, I am still at the stage of exploration, and I believe it is good to work towards a strong collection of patterns before I see which area/s my design best fits into.

To contact Sylvia or for more wonderful designs please visit: