How to Design Repeating Patterns
So it's important when you design a pattern collection that you have certain patterns that are more intricate and large, and then certain patterns that are more simple, they tend to be used for, if it's fabric, for bindings and linings of bags, if it's for stationary, they tend to be used for the bindings of a book, or maybe something that wraps around a pencil, paper, or something like that, so it's important to vary the complexity and the scale of your pattern collection, so this is a mistake I made early on as I just did all these busy, really complicated patterns, and when you look at a collection, which I'm gonna show you a little later, chaos comes to mind, there's nothing that's really simple to tone it down a little bit and marry it together, so I'm gonna start with a really simple triangle print, and I'm gonna steal these triangles off of the vase that we made yesterday. Gonna be using the vase in another pattern, but this is just gonna be kinda the same element that we're gon...
na carry throughout the collection. So in order to do that, I'm gonna ungroup this vase and just come in here and delete everything except for the triangles and the triangles are really light beige color so I'll just turn them black for the time being. And I'll delete everything that we're not gonna use here. Not gonna use these dots I don't think, even though, maybe I will use the dots, lemme keep the dots. Now I'll make this black, and delete these two bits that we're not gonna use, and these two on the end we made to look like it was wrapping around the vase so I'm not gonna use either of those either, and I do need to bring in my color palette here, didn't do it on this one document which will be good so we can go over that one more time. What I'm gonna do is delete all of these colors that come standard in Illustrator document, so I just click on the first color, hold the shift key down and click on the last color, and I can drag and drop these to the trash can. Now to get the color palette in here that I want to use, I'm gonna come to the swatches panel flyout menu, scroll down to open swatches library, user defined and I've named this color palette nourish, it's the same color palette that we've kinda been using throughout the course, and it's also available to you in the color palette AI file if you have anytime access to this course. So that brings up the nourish color palette, and I just click right there on the folder to get it to show up in my swatches panel. So I will change the color of these triangles to orange and these little dots, make sure I get all of them to, let's say teal, and so at this point in the game, color is not a huge deal, I like to get something pleasing to the eye so that I feel like we're going in some kind of the right direction, but you can change the colors of any of your patterns as many times as you want, at any point in the game. So I build patterns a couple of different ways, I'm gonna show you all the ways today, but to start out with I'm just gonna grab the rectangle tool and instead of drawing a marquee of a rectangle all I want to do is click once and bring up a rectangle dialog box where I can manually put in what size I want this rectangle to be. This is going to be the size of your repeat, it doesn't matter what it is, it can be as big or as small as you want, it can be a perfect square, it can be a rectangle, unless you're working in an industry where you know for a fact what size the repeat needs to be or sometimes wallpaper needs to be at a 1:1 ratio or a 1:2 ratio, but if you don't know that, I would say go with whatever your heart desires, so this may change down the road, but I am gonna start with maybe, let's say 500 pixels wide by 250 pixels tall and see what that looks like. Command+0 zooms us out to the sides of the artboard, and I'm just gonna select this and send it to the back and change its color to maybe this pink right here. I'm also, I've got some layers that I don't tend to, well, now everything's on the same layer, so I don't have anything on this layer one, so I'm just gonna drag and drop it to the trash can, yeah that's fine. So what I need to do first is increase the size of my triangles and my circles, so I just highlighted them and with the scale tool, it drops my marquee right in the middle of those which is fine, and if I hold the shift key down and drag at a diagonal towards the top it's gonna increase the size of these proportionally. So that looks good to me, and I'm gonna bring it right over here. One thing that I tend to find a little distracting when I am working with patterns is seeing this artboard, and I have it white on white which is a little less distracting but I don't need to really know the size of my artboard so what I'm gonna do is hide it, and you can do that by going to view, hide artboards, and that just gives us a clean white space to work with. So what I wanna do is just start kind of building a pattern out of this, and I'm just gonna see where it takes me. A lot of times this is gonna end up kinda being a stripe, so dots, triangle dots, triangle stripe, and so this middle row right here to kind of give it some variation, I'm gonna just reflect it upon itself so it kinda gives a different movement, so I copy and pasted that down here, I'll do that again. This is, everything's highlighted, and to make a copy of it, all I do is grab it and start dragging it down, holding the shift key to keep in line, and the option key duplicates it. Now if I want to reflect this, I leave it highlighted, grab the reflect tool by pushing O on my keyboard, that drops it right in the middle which is exactly where I want it and I can just start to drag it over here to reflect it. The shift key will make that an exact duplicate. So I think I'm gonna do that, bring the top row and just replicate it down here one more time, and so I think this is what kinda our pattern is gonna look like. I can tell already that I'm gonna have to change the size of my repeat boundary, but we'll get to that in a second, so the most important thing that you need to remember when you're building a pattern is that everything along the left axis of your rectangle or square has to match up on the right side, and everything on the bottom has to match on the top, so I'm gonna grab everything that pulls over on this left side, deselect the rectangle, and just see what it looks like when I drag and drop it over here. Okay so there are maybe a couple of issues that I want to work with, but the first thing I want to do is get my rectangle close to this repeat side, so all I'm gonna do is select the rectangle, and I'm gonna scale it from the left axis, so I'll grab the scale tool by hitting S on my keyboard and dropping the marquee to the far left side. Instead of doing scaling from a diagonal, I'm gonna scale directly horizontally in because I don't want to change the height of my rectangle just the width. So I'm gonna bring that in just like so and at this point, I'm just gonna eyeball that and we're gonna make it exact in a little bit, but now if you can see this rectangle and this rectangle are identical, and they cross the axes right about at the same spot. So the other thing you can remember is that your axes are what are important when you're creating repeating patterns, that's what have to match, but anything in the middle, you can play with, so these dots look a little, a little crazy to me so I'm gonna move this one around, that doesn't matter because it's in the middle of everything I might just delete that one altogether, then bring this one up here, and I might delete this one too and move this around, oops, not my background, but this one around a little bit too. I can also move these triangles with no problems, scale those a little differently if I want to. Okay, I like where we're going with this, see a little gap right here so I think I'll add another dot there by just duplicating the one beside it and maybe here too. I deleted those but I think I just needed to move them around a little bit. Okay, so our left and right borders are matching but our top and bottoms are not, so the next thing I want to do is get those to where they are matching as well. To do that, I'm gonna grab my rectangle, and just scale it down, just like this. So I want, I want it go maybe right there, so I have a couple of triangles that are coming off the bottom down here, and a couple circles that are off my artboard up here, so anything that falls completely off of your repeating boundary box, you don't need, you can just delete those. And these over here as well. So let's see what this looks like. My rectangle, I can find out exactly what size it is now since I've changed it by opening the transform panel. It is 359.026 by 203.494, that's gonna be really hard to remember and it's not incredibly exact because I can replicate these and make them exact in a moment, so I'm gonna make these numbers something I can remember. To do that, I can start, this one's 359, so I can just make that 360. That's gonna automatically proportionally change the height of my rectangle, and it's real useful most of the time, but in this case I want to be able to change the proportions on my own so all you have to do to do that is unclick the constrain width and height proportions, it's a little chain-link right there, all you have to do is click that and it looks like it's broken apart, and now I can independently change this height, and I think I'll just do 205, so my rectangle is now 360 by 205. Okay, so I wanna delete everything on the right side of my axis, and what I'm gonna do is copy these, make a copy of them by hitting Command+C, Command+F makes a copy of them to the front, so there are two copies there now, and I'm gonna move them 360° to the right. To do that, you can right click, come down to transform, and select move. So I want to move them horizontally 360°, keep them zero vertically, and if you want to see where that's gonna go, you can hit preview, so now they are exactly the same on both of the axes. So the next thing I have to do is get the triangles down here that are pouring over the bottom edge on the top edge, so I'm not really sure if these two are without zooming way in, but it won't matter, I'm just gonna take them up there anyways, so I will do the same thing, make a copy, Command+C and Command+F brings them to the front, so there are two copies there now, Command+Z undoes that action. Right click and go to transform, move. Now I still get caught up on this a little bit sometimes, because it's backwards than what you think. To move it vertically, if you want to move it up, it's negative, and if you want to move it down, it's regular, so what was my number, 205, so vertical negative 205, horizontal is zero, and if you hit preview you can see where it's going up there, hit okay. So now everything that crosses the axis is correct. And I'm gonna go ahead and make a pattern and we'll see what this looks like. We may need to come back in and edit some things, but you should know that if you want to move one of the elements that cross a border, you can do that, but you need to select both of them, so if I want to move this triangle, I need to select this one and this one, then I can move them around, and I will know for a fact that they are still crossing that vertical axis at the same spot. Okay, so the trick to creating a repeating pattern is that behind your repeat there has to be a rectangle or a square with no stroke and no fill, the exact same size as your repeat. So the easiest way to do that is just copy and paste this background color behind itself and give it no fill and no stroke. So I'll grab the rectangle, I'll make a copy of it by hitting Command+C, Command+B pastes it behind, and you can see that it has this pink fill, what I want to do is give it no fill, kay, so they are both there now, and all you have to do to create a pattern is select everything on your artboard that is in the pattern, drag and drop it over to your swatches panel. Okay, so now I can come over here to the right and draw any shape that you want to draw and fill it with our repeating pattern. And I think this is pretty cute. I need to see it a little reduced in scale to make sure that we don't have any gaps that we're looking at, so the easiest way to do that is just with your rectangle selected, you can right click, come to transform and scale, and I will scale down the pattern itself, the default in Illustrator is to transform the object, so all you need to do is click off of transform objects and that will automatically transform patterns alone, so you'll want to scale it uniformly, and if I wanna take this down to 50%, that way I can see what's really going on with this pattern. Okay so I see a couple of holes, like I think this right here needs, maybe that dot moved over, but I like that it looks kind of wavy, it's like kind of a wave stripe, so this is again just a really simple pattern, but it's gonna be great for coordinates, so gonna come in here and maybe move just a couple of these around, I think that gap is coming from right here and right here, so what I need to do is move this one over, and I'm pretty sure that's going to remedy that problem. This is the time where I would also kinda move anything else round that I want to but I think everything else is gonna work out fine, I might, add one more dot right here. So to do that, all you have to do is hold the option key down when you select something, if you drag it somewhere, just hold the option key down and that will make a duplicate of whatever it is you're working with. So let's see what that looks like, I'm just gonna replicate that process of selecting that and dragging it over to my swatches panel and that looks much better. So this was the first version and you can see this gap right here and if you watch there, the second version looks a little more evenly spaced.