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Introduction to Colour, Material and Finish Design Online Short Course

Course description

Design is emotional. The physical features of a design affect us more deeply than we realise. There is not only form and shape to consider but also colour, material and finish. As designers, how can we start applying CMF strategies that will help us create a stronger emotional connection with the products that we create?

In this course, you will understand how to design for our five senses and apply the principles of colour, material and finish at the early stage of your design process to support both the functional and emotional attributes of your designs.

Each week, a new concept will be presented followed by a practical assignment you will complete during the week to help you put your knowledge into practice. We will look at trend forecasting of colours and materials, creating material stories based on trend and consumer research, and designing colour palettes for specific materials. You will receive personal feedback on all your work.

By the end of the course, you will have developed strong analytical skills and the confidence and knowledge to integrate CMF principles to your design process.

Who is Introduction to Colour, Material and Finish Design Online Short Course for?
This introductory course is ideal for designers or students (textile design, fashion design, product design, or interior design) who want to develop new skills and knowledge of the CMF design process, whether this is to enable them to apply for further study, apply for a CMF position, or work on a specific project where CMF design skills are needed.

All our Online Short Courses include:

  • Live online lessons with the same tutors
  • The same course content and learning outcomes
  • Lesson recordings, for review
  • Access to VLE with course content
  • Forums for support
  • 2 weeks online access
  • Certificate upon completion

Please note that all courses are taught in UK time.

Online courses are closed to all new bookings 48 hours prior to the course starting.

Available dates

If no dates are showing then please sign up to our mailing list to find out about upcoming dates and new course developments.



  • CMF as a design profession.
  • Colour design and theory from a CMF perspective.
  • Material design and sourcing.
  • Perception and tactile aesthetics.
  • Design thinking and brand strategy from a CMF perspective.
  • Trend research and forecasting.
  • Storytelling in a CMF board.
  • Pre-production of colours and materials.

Course Outcomes:

By the end of the course you will have a better understanding of;

  • The CMF design process.
  • The difference between trend and fashion.
  • The deep influence and importance of colours and materials.
  • The behaviour of colour and what affects their perception.
  • How to conduct trend, market and visual research from a CMF perspective.
  • How to make colour schemes and source materials that are appealing for consumers.
  • How to tell a story by developing CMF boards.
  • How to develop a concept and talk about colour and materials in a compelling language.


Online Short Course Materials

To take part in the Online sessions you will need:

  • An up-to-date web browser (we recommend Chrome)
  • Microphone and headphones (a headset with a microphone function is recommended. The built-in microphone in your device would also be fine)
  • Webcam
  • Strong Internet connection - we recommend a minimum of 2 Mbps download, and 1 Mbps upload, faster if possible. You can test your network speed here -

Course Specific Materials

Please bring the following materials to the first session:

  • Pen and paper to take notes
  • Printed material (fashion design magazines, interior design magazines, photography, etc.)
  • A3 sketchbook
  • Art materials you are confident using (pencils, coloured pencils and markers, paints, etc.)
  • Coloured acrylic paint/gouache/inks (optional)
  • Scotch tape, masking tape, and double-sided tape
  • Mount board
  • Scissors or scalpel
  • Ruler
  • Glue stick or PVA glue
Meet the Tutor:

This course will show you how to design confidently with colour, material and finish, and increase your familiarity with different materials and material processes.

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