AVA have been proud supporters of the i-dott competition for many years, supporting in many different ways across the years; helping judge the competition, supporting the gala dinner, networking, providing training prizes, free leases of the software, all the way through to our Customer services director Debbie Buchan sitting on the board of trustees. Inspiring the designers of tomorrow today, a charity initiative, passionate about bridging the gap between emerging designers, education and the wallpaper and textile industries.  It was set up in 2013 to support, nurture and inspire surface pattern design students internationally.

Each year prominent industry-leading brands each set a design brief for students of any university to enter as many designs as they like, as long as they conform to the industry-specific brief. The competition is free to enter, and prizes can include a cash sum or a placement, and here at AVA we offer 5 days’ training on our prestigious  CAD Specialist Training Course, plus a 3-month loan of the AVA Software.  Despite the pandemic 2021 saw growth in entries for the sixth successive year with over 500 designs being submitted from over 20 universities worldwide!

Each year i-dott also offers a bursary to one lucky designer who is going on to carry out further MA or Postgraduate studies, into its third successive year see the i-dott website for more information on how to apply.

The briefs for 2021 were:

Beyond the Wall set by  

“Trompe-l’oeil, French for ‘deceive the eye’ is an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions.  Create a flat artwork that reflects 3D illusions.  Design something that pushes the boundaries of 2D printed products and allied the user to create new, exciting dimensions in their interiors.  Your design must leave the view mesmerised and wondering…how?”

A Sense of Abstraction set by Anstey Wallpaper 

“In a world bound by rules and guidelines, strive to step outside the boundary lines to create beautiful art for walls to transition into sensational Abstract wallcoverings.

Be playful, be brave, stimulate the senses with dramatic scale, intersperse shapes, lines with exuberant colour in a way which does not represent realism as we know it.

Interpret Abstraction as you wish but consider a wallcovering pattern and repeating elements must balance and appear seamless across the join.”

 Animal Astratti set by Jason and Trudie Gilliat of i-dott 

“Animals often feature amongst the pattern collections of design houses across the world.  We are all familiar with fabulous flamingos, bright coloured tropical birds, cheeky monkeys and leopards and tigers aplenty. Your brief id to create a pattern that is both abstract and decorative”.

 The winners…

One of this year’s AVA Award winners is Beth Daborn, who won a place on our August CST course with this quirky monkey design, which also won her 1st prize in Category Three: ‘Animal Astratti’.


Beth is currently in her final year at Leeds Arts University, studying Textile Design but in the future would love to be a Print Designer, maybe for interiors or children’s wear.  She entered the i-dott competition because she thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase her work.


“Throughout the week I learnt so much about how to use the software and will definitely continue to use it within my work…This course helped me gain skills which I can definitely use later on!” 

 Instagram: @bethdaborndesigns 

Hannah Balshaw entered the i-dott competition during her final year at Nottingham Trent University where she studied BA(hons) Textile Design, specialising in Printed Textiles.


“i-dott supports students in creating links with industry and I am so grateful for the opportunities it has brought me. My design placed third in the Graham & Brown ‘Beyond the Wall’ category and I was also awarded the AVA CAD Skills Training Course.”

“We loved the simplicity of Hannahs geometrics and textures. Her clever use of textures to create the illusion of 3 dimensions. Simple yet so effective, sensitively created.” – Debbie Buchan, AVA

“I learnt so much during the AVA training course, where I gained a good understanding of how the software can be used across the whole design process, including creating repeats, colouration, separations and visualising designs. It gave me a broad skill set that I have been able to apply in my current position as a Graduate Designer and Colourist.” 

Linkedin: Hannah Balshaw


 Lois Davis is graduate of University of Wales St David, specialising in textiles for interiors and won first prize in Anstey’s ‘Sense of Abstraction’ category.

On winning the prize she said “I still can’t believe it! i-dott is a great opportunity and so many amazing students take part so to I feel very proud to have won it…Having organisations like i-dott are important as it allows students from 1st to 4th years to be as creative and experimental as they want, and it’s a great way to gain experience of working to specific briefs and to deadlines. It’s also a great opportunity to work with companies within the industry and even potential future employers.”


Lois says she is heavily influenced by her homeland, Wales, from the culture, and landscape to textiles and from her beautiful design you can see that she abstractly captures shapes and forms of natural and urban environments.


 “We were impressed by Lois’s sense of colour and layering of textures. Her strong design concept was followed through into a textile collection that was well-rounded and presented beautifully.” – Debbie Buchan, AVA

Instagram: @lois.davies.art

Huge congratulations to Beth, Hannah and Lois. We wish them every success in their future and look forward to our paths crossing again in the near future!

Under normal circumstances, there is an annual gala dinner for the winners where the winners are presented with their awards and have the opportunity to network with many decision-makers from the industry. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic, this will not be possible this year. However, 2020 and 2021 winners will be invited to the 2022 gala dinner which has already been reserved for 5 October 2022! It’ll be all the more special!


And speaking of 2022…The design briefs are set!

‘More than Wallpaper’ set by Anstey Wallpaper Company. Although Anstey has set i-dott briefs for many years, this is the very first time it has been set by the digital wallpaper department!

‘Heritage with a Twist’ set by Newmor Wallcoverings

‘Timeless and Classic’ set by Surface Print

‘In Line’ set by Darsi

Entries for 2022 close on 31 March 2022 with all winners being notified by 24 June.  For more information, please click here.

Happy designing and the best of luck to all you creative students taking part worldwide!