“Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.” —Alfred North Whitehead, Mathematician and Philosopher
After Division Principles of the Circle, the fourteenth and last tutorial of the Graphic Design Basic Element Series covers 7 Entities: Continuous Vertical Patterns.
7 Entities Make Up All Art Patterns
A pattern is a continuous design that has at least two repeating elements.
The foundation of all patterns, consists of 7 basic entities comprising a continuous graphic design. Sometimes a designer might combine more than one of the entities in a patterned framework.
The 7 Entities are:
- Triangular design
- Square or block design
- Circular design
- Horizontal design
- Curved design
- Diagonal design
- Horizontal design
Examples: Continuous Vertical Patterned Designs.
The two following images offer seven examples of vertical continuous patterns in graphic design. Each illustrates the use of one of the foundational entities. Some are pretty simple others are more complex.
Everything you have learned in previous tutorials in the Basic Graphic Design Series applies to pattern creation.
As you develop best design practice skills explore a design until you have created several pattern options. Practice the concept of variations of a theme. The best pattern offers a sense of harmony and eye appeal relating to the project idea.
Refresher of Previous Lessons
To stimulate your memory, here is a list of all the Graphic Design Basic Elements shared in the first thirteen tutorials of this series.
- Line, plane, tone, small, medium, large, circle, square, triangle
- Straight, horizontal, vertical, curved, zigzag, contour, implied, dotted, dashed
- Solid, opaque, transparent, translucent, reflective, iridescent
- Coarse, bumpy, rugged, lumpy, pebbly, ripply, fuzzy, gritty, chalky, splattered
- Right, left, center, up, between, down,
- Referral, point to point, edge to edge, overlapping, neg/pos removal,
- Pop out, slide out, slice off, hinge out, extend out
- Scale change: foreground, middle ground, background, foreshortening, Defusing, shadow
- Division principles of shapes: Rectangle, triangle, and circle, and how to use the golden ratio in compositional design
Most Common Types of Patterned Designs
It’s easy to capture inspiration for pattern design from nature. The featured image in this tutorial provides a superb example of how a floral plant can mimic the golden spiral and triangular shapes in its frosty patterned leaves.
A design that is a pattern can fall into a range of categories and cover the complete composition of a work of art. In addition, they are helpful design layout elements that tie a theme together.
Most Common Patterned Art Categories
Art, ultimately, is without limits. Imagine the 7 entities that are foundational in pattern creation applied to the boundless artworks that have existed since humans began making marks!
Yet, patterns appear to fall into about fourteen distinct categories. Of course, some will fall into more than one category. I wonder how many more you can add to the list?
The following image includes the most commonly searched categories.
From top to bottom, and left to right:
- Garden or Floral
- Seasons, such as summer
Uses for Patterned Artwork
The function of a pattern in design can be the device that pulls the entire intended concept into a unified theme. For example, this design feature can effectively support color branding and add interest and balance, or an artist can incorporate a logo design.
A pattern may act as a background element adding texture, color, and shape to support other subjects in the theme.
They can also increase eye appeal by highlighting specific areas a creator wants the viewer to notice. Patterns can move the eye from subject to subject and raise attentive awareness.
Patterns can reinforce an element that people identify as pleasing and bridge it to other elements in the design. An example is incorporating features representing a summer day like waves or sunshine into a fun graphic pattern to showcase sunglasses or other summertime gear.
A pattern could be an appealing device in a fine art painting detailing the lace in curtains or a tablecloth in a still-life drawing. A painted border in a landscape or different fields in a mandala painting is a choice.
Alfred North Whitehead understood “by imposing a pattern on one’s experience” this most surely could increase a viewer’s “aesthetic enjoyment!” Relating to Whitehead’s quote, one of my favorite hashtags is #createeveryday!
Resource Materials and Support References
Here’s a couple of reference books that you might find inspirational.
All the artful practice you created in each tutorial can be applied to creating patterns. So go back through your art journal and choose a few items you might embellish with patterned designs.
Refer back to the refresher list above if you need inspiration. For example, create a pattern as a background for an element in a painting, like the sky or a body of water. You may find a border appealing around a painting or drawing or choose one to anchor a banner or a logo.
The idea is to play and have fun experimenting as you develop your skills and unique style.
This is the last art play in this free online art series. Keep expanding your art journal and try and block out times each day to doodle and experiment. I wholeheartedly look forward to seeing you in the following tutorial. I am busy working and have already posted the introduction.
Introduction to 8 Compositional Devices
Search the internet for information on composition in design, and you’ll find most resources only offer a few simple principles to help an artist create balance and visual appeal.
But, I have yet to find a free online tutorial that teaches all composition variations that make up a design. There are 8 Compositional Devices, creating 64 design possibilities when combined. The 64 descriptions of a composition encompass every layout and design possible.
By learning the knowledge in the free composition online art series, you will gain skills that will put you ahead of other designers.
If you’d like to become a pro designer, this knowledge is equivalent to what leading art institutions teach. What’s the catch? I hope you’ll share what you learn with other interested parties.
Step-by-step, the course will take you through the 64 possible compositions for any type of artwork or design.
I’d love to see you there! 💗 🎨
Downloadable Tutorial Graphic
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