“Take any form you choose and repeat it at regular intervals, and, just as repetitive sounds produce rhythm or cadence, you have pattern. However, the use of pattern in design is no haphazard matter, but a disciplined activity in which the artist must impose a pleasing order and structure on the whole to achieve an aesthetically satisfying end product” – Lewis F. Day, Pattern Design

I happened upon a very old book about pattern design from 1903 with the quote above – and it really resonated with me. I figured, there’s nothing wrong with learning from the old masters in the art of pattern design. Perhaps I simply need some old fashioned education on the subject.

I’ve been thinking about how deliberate the art of pattern design really is. I mean, it’s not just pretty imagery. There’s the technical aspect of making something repeat, but there’s a whole art to creating something that repeats beautifully. It seems like a simple thing on first glance. But I’ve been struggling with creating the whole that is satisfying to my eye. Perhaps a bit of study with the book will help me out.

If nothing else, it’s pretty interesting to read such an old book, written in the English of the early 1900s. I’ve been introduced to the definition of pattern – that of repetition at regular intervals. But also to the pitfalls of odd gaps and barren spots that can make a technically repeating pattern, look wrong. I’m also diving into the basics of geometric grids… what to base your pattern designs upon. Instead of having an image and thinking… hey, let’s make this repeat! It’s very interesting to see how much deliberateness there is in designing a pattern. It’s not just slapping up pretty images.

I love that design is about making order out of chaos. It’s a beautiful process, sort of like magic!

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