Colour Education



Speaker Bio


Colour Education from Shillito Design School, Sydney 1976-1977

This Presentation was given at the biennial National Australian Conference of the CSA (COLOUR SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA) 

19-21 March 2021 - "Colour Connections Sydney 2021"

The topic was based on the contents of the book: "Shillito Design School, Australian Colour Education in the 70's" by Eva Fay published March 2021.

Presented by Eva Fay FDIA

Honorary Life Member of the Colour Society of Australia 2000This 

Phyllis Shillito (1895 – 1980) was a very influential educator, artist and designer, teaching in England until 1922, then at the National Art School in Sydney from 1925 to 1960 and at her own Shillito Design School from 1962 until her death. Shillito's eclectic curriculum borrowed progressive ideas from design schools in Ulm, Munich, Stockholm and Paris as well as from art educators H. Barrett Carpenter (English) and Maitland Graves (American).  

The course was full time over three years, specifically teaching colour, design and drawing in year one. In years two and three, there was a choice to specialise into an interior design course or into a fine arts and applied design course.

The emphasis at Shillito Design School was to understand and learn about the theory, relationships and application of colour by training and developing our skills and our eyes to observe the infinitesimal differences and changes in the three dimensions of colour: Hue, Tone and Intensity and how to manipulate each one of these attributes.

Great attention was paid to the physical mixing of colours, learning how they behaved and developing our eyes to really “see” every nuance.  Understanding the organisation of colour was critical for our ability to make informed colour choices and selections.

At this period in the seventies The Shillito Design School was unique in that it taught a cross fertilization of design disciplines so that graduates had a broad sense of the application of design. This provided them with the opportunity to resolve complex colour challenges.   

This presentation gives a historical overview of one method of colour teaching that has had far reaching effects on industry. Shillito's students are spread throughout Australia and overseas as educators, artists, colourists and designers in the different design disciplines all utilizing and applying this colour education. 

Eva Fay will present and describe the development and theory of colour exercises and projects that she produced as a student at The Shillito Design School in 1976-1977.

Eva later went on to become a well-known colour and design educator over the next 20 years.

After graduating from the Shillito Design School  Eva Fay FDIA commenced her teaching career in 1979 in the art department at Meadowbank TAFE. Since then she has taught students colour and design at various Universities and TAFE colleges, in the departments of fine art, interior design, graphic design and architecture. 

In 1983 she and a fellow Shillito graduate founded the prestigious School of Colour and Design in Sydney. 

Eva also ran a highly successful architectural Colour Design studio for nearly 30 years. 

She won the National Dulux Colour Award in 1992 for Exterior Colour Design. 

Eva was a founding member of the Colour Society of Australia in 1986 and was awarded Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia in 2012. 

Currently Eva enjoys experimenting with colour and atmosphere in painting.