To aid the composition, memorability and flow of my designs, I will incorporate pattern and use it to create fun and creative illustrations suitable for children. Below is a list of pattern terminology paired with definitions that will help me to design and structure my patterns in an effective and professional way but also aid and advantage the appeal and saleability of my products.

Pattern Terminology

Network: A repeating combination of lines; The skeleton upon which a pattern is built.

– Squares, brick, half-drop, diamond, triangles, hexagons (honeycomb), ogee.

Motif/Figure/Unit: The repeated element or subject of the pattern.

Diaper Pattern: The figures are crammed together with little empty (or negative) space.

Figure-Ground Reversal: Where the figure and background (negative space) are equally sized and therefore equally confused with eachother.

Countercharge: When you superimpose a second pattern on top of an existing one.

Moire: Overprinting a pattern onto itself at a not-so-perfect angle.

Symmetry: Regularity of elements.

Rotational Symmetry: Regularity of elements around a 360-degree plane.

Reflectional Symmetry: Regularity of elements either side of a line.

Point Symmetries: Rotational and reflectional symmetries (because they both revolve around a fixed point).

Dihedral Symmetry: When lines of reflection intersect at a central point of rotation.

Dilation: The figures repeat identically but grow larger or smaller along an axis.


“Our brains like symmetry, orderliness and simplicity so we use those principles to define whole forms in everything we see.” (Stewart 2015:17)


Pareidolia is the phenomenon of seeing imaginary forms – especially faces – in random stimuli. (e.g. the man on the moon, Rorschach tests.)

Gestalt Laws

Gestalt laws of grouping describe how patterns reveal form.

Proximity: In a random bunch of dots, dots grouped more closely together form a unit in our minds.

Similarity: If there’s any variation in colour of dots, we’ll group together dots of similar colour.

Symmetry: We’ll favour any organisation of objects that tidies the scene via symmetry.

Closure: The minds tendency to fill in a jagged line if it would make a complete form.

Continuity: Completes an object even if its form is obscured.

Common Fate: Groups dots moving in sync into a single unit.

Past Experience: We take context into consideration when evaluating the forms we see.

Pattern in Nature

Pattern often occurs in nature and can sometimes be modelled mathematically. Symmetries, spirals, waves, meanders, tesselations, stripes and more are formed naturally. These patterns are eye-catching and intruiging. Pattern doesn’t necissarily mean repetetive and symmetrical. Natural patterns contain at least a regular element but these don’t have to be identical for us to recognise them as a pattern. For example, a zebra or tigers stripes are a familar pattern but each stripe is almost randomly formed.



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