The Art of Pattern
A repeat pattern composed by mirroring a single tile unit.
Pattern in art is the repetition of lines, shapes, tones, colors, textures and forms. Artists, designers, architects, mathematicians, scientists and engineers have all explored the patterns of nature to discover their decorative elegance and to understand their structural form.
A knowledge of how to design repeat patterns is an essential skill for any designer. Today, repeat patterns are seen almost everywhere but they also reach back through the history of design and across all continents and cultures. They are used in tiling, wallpaper, textiles, packaging, backdrops for text or illustrations in graphic media, jewellery and architectural details. They are created using a wide range of media in both two and three dimensions. Most modern pattern design is done on computers for speed and accuracy but historically it was a craftsman-like skill that identified some of the greatest artists and artisans of their day.
In December 1881, William Morris, who was one of the greatest pattern designers of the Arts and Crafts Movement, delivered a lecture on 'Some Hints on Pattern Designing' at the Working Men's College in London. He described good decorative pattern as "Something that will not drive us into unrest or callousness; something which reminds us of life beyond itself and which has the impress of imagination strong on it; and something which can be done by a great many people and without too much difficulty and with pleasure."
Our lessons on repeat patterns were inspired by the art of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement.