Surface Pattern Design-What is it?

Do you know what surface pattern design is? I know I certainly didn't before I started on this venture!

Before we get into it, I want you to do a little exercise with me. From were you are right now, have a look around you, or even on you. Do you see a pattern? It could be on your phone case, a cushion, a shirt or dress you're wearing, on the cover of a note pad or diary, even on some food packaging. 

Once you start observing, and really paying attention, you end up seeing patterns everywhere! 

This is surface pattern design. It's patterns to print on the surface of things! 

How are these made?

You first start with your theme and inspiration to create generally one main motif (image) and usually adding on some secondary smaller motifs, and sometimes adding a background colour. These are arranged in a way that flows and looks great! Now the tricky part. Making it into a repeating pattern

A repeating pattern is a pattern that can be printed non stop and will be a perfect repeat without any noticeable start or finish to the pattern.

This is the process of creating your design document to repeat the original illustration seamlessly without any glitches or blank gaps that just don't fit in with the design. There's a method to it, and if you're not careful, it can get quite frustrating to get a perfect repeating pattern! Sometimes it takes you walking away from it and coming back the next day!

Once you have a seamless repeating pattern digital file, this can then be sent off to printers to print on pretty much anything. Wall paper, wrapping paper, fabric etc needs a seamless repeating pattern. 

So, next time you're out and about, have a look to see how many patterns there are. You'll be surprised at where patterns will pop up!