Lockdown is such a great a chance to learn!
Recently, I’ve become fascinated by ”Surface Pattern Designing”.  I’ve been learning how to create and re-create patterns for my online RedBubble shop. Successful pattern design plays a huge role in fabric design, product design, decor, graphic design and more!
As it happens, I’ve so far failed to get through all the 17 steps on Photoshop to recreate my designs into repetitive surface patterns in quite the way we were meant to.  Despite that, we already have some designs we just love on our new Redbubble shop! You can see here a great example of a repeated pattern design called Hippy flowers, also a monochrome line drawing we really love called FacetoFacetoFace, and another great looking repeated design called Japanese Waves.

The Pattern llustrations below were created by Artlandia SymmetryWorks, Artlandia SymmetryShop, and Artlandia SymmetryMill.  The link to more items on this website is here.  (We are in no way associated with this organisation but wanted to help explain some of the terminology of Surface Patter Repetitive Designs, in case you are interested! 

This is a really, REALLY long ‘Glossary’, but if you’re interested in the topic it’s very helpful and it might just inspire you! Maybe bookmark this page and return to it when you need it?)

A
AbstractAbstract

Unrecognisable, seemingly random forms and layouts. In the textile business the word “abstract” is used to describe a nonobjective motif that cannot be described any other way.

AdaptationAdaptation

A design based on another design but significantly modified and altered to be considered new and different.

AirbrushAirbrush

Imitating effects produced with a painter’s spray air gun. Often creates patterns with a light, soft, and modern look.

AlloverAlleyway

Unintentional lines formed by negative spaces (spaces vacant of motifs) in a design. Working with negative space is a whole skillset in its own right!

Allover

A layout in which motifs are fairly close and evenly distributed as opposed to stripes, borders, plaids, and engineered designs. Another term is overall. (Not illustrated.)

Animal PrintAnimal Print

A pattern resembling the skin or fur or feathers of an animal/bird.

AnthemionAnthemion

A classical motif based on a stylized honeysuckle plant or a radiating, fan-shaped palm leaf (palmette) commonly found in Greek, Egyptian, Assyrian, and other ancient art.

ArabesqueArabesque

An elaborate ornamental design of intertwined curvilinear floral or geometric motifs. Commonly comes from (or inspired by) Islamic art or architecture. See also Islamic pattern.

ArgyleArgyle

A pattern of diamond-shaped rectangles in a diagonal alternating (checkerboard) arrangement. Typically uses a small number (two or three) colors. Mostly used in knitted fabrics with Scottish influences. An alternative spelling is Argyll.

Art DecoArt Deco

A famous style of decorative art typical of the 1920s and 1930s. The name was derived from the 1925 International Exhibition in Paris that showed “des Arts Decoratifs.”

Art NouveauArt Nouveau

A design style of the late 19th century characterized by dynamic, flowing curves suggesting foliate motifs.

Asymmetrical PatternAsymmetrical Pattern

A pattern lacking visible signs of symmetry, such as rotation or reflection.

AsymmetryAsymmetry

The absence of symmetry in a motif or pattern. See Asymmetrical Pattern.

Awning StripesAwning Stripes

A pattern of relatively wide, even, usually vertical stripes of solid color on a lighter ground. Resembles the patterns often seen on awning fabrics.

B
BackgroundBackground

The part of a design that appears to be farthest from the viewer and behind the objects of interest. Can be a solid color, texture, random objects, or even another pattern (patterned ground). Also called ground as in the opposite of foreground.

Balanced DesignBalanced Design

A design with no line-ups, alleyways, or holes.

Balanced StripesBalanced Stripes

A symmetrical layout, in which colored bands are arranged around a “centre stripe.”

BandannaBandanna

A square piece of usually colorfully patterned cloth worn on the head (kerchief) or a representation of it – can also be used as a handkerchief, neckerchief, or a costume accessory. Also written with one ‘n’: bandana.

BarcodeBarcode

A stripe pattern consisting of lines of varying width and/or colours, as in a barcode.

BasketweaveBasketweave

An allover pattern resembling the structure of a basket or a woven fabric. See also examples in weaving.

BatikBatik

A design with a tie-dyed appearance created by coating the parts of cloth not to be dyed with removable wax. Colors often include indigo, dark brown, and white. Certain patterns have historic meanings and can only be worn by nobility.

Bayadere StripesBayadere Stripes

Brightly colored stripes of various widths laid out horizontally (from side to side on the fabrics). The color effects usually range from lively to startling to bizarre. Often made with black warps and crosswise ribs (plain or twill weave). Mostly produced in India. The name is derived from the Bayadere dancing girl of India, who are dedicated to a dancing life from birth.

Bead and ReelBead and Reel

A decorative motif consisting of oval or round shapes (“beads”) alternating with elongated or cylindrical shapes (“reels”).

Bengal StripesBengal Stripes

Stripes of apparently the same width and alternating light and dark colors. Bengal stripes are usually wider than ‘candy stripes’, but narrower than awning stripes. Commonly used in wallpaper, upholstery, and skirtings as well as clothing. Originated in India and became popular during the Regency era in the United Kingdom. Also called Regency stripes (from an era in the UK when they became especially popular in wallpapers) and tiger stripes.

Bird's EyeBird’s Eye

A weave forming small-scale diamond shapes (diaper) each with a dot in the center, suggestive of the eye of a bird. Also a small-scale (typically geometric) design of a similar shape. A somewhat bigger weave is sometimes referred to as pheasant’s eye.

BlendingBlending

A technique of producing seamless patterns by smoothing away boundaries between neighboring units of repeat.

Block Printing

A type of relief printing where motifs are printed on another surface with wooden blocks. One of the earliest methods of textile printing.  (Not illustrated.)

Block RepeatBlock Repeat

A layout in which the repeating unit appears directly on a horizontal line to the left or right of the original design unit. Also called square repeat, straight-across repeat, and straight repeat.

BlotchBlotch

An irregular area of foreground or background color around the basic motif.

Border DesignBorder Design

A pattern designed to run lengthwise along the edge of the fabric or wallpaper.

BotanicalBotanical

A pattern design showing realistic representation of herbs, garden plants, and other botanical objects. Also a design based on botanical illustrations.

BotehBoteh

A stylized teardrop-shaped design originally on shawls from Kashmir and mass-produced in Paisley, Scotland. Same as Paisley. Gave its name to the periodically fashionable Paisley ties and shawls.

Brick LayoutBrick Layout

A layout in which every second row is shifted halfway in the horizontal direction.

Brocatelle

A variant of damask that incorporates a satin or twill figuring that is contrasted with a plain or satin-weave ground. (Not illustrated.)

Bull's EyeBull’s Eye

A pattern of concentric circles, often creating optical effects, such as movement or pulsation.

C
Computer Aided Design (CAD)Computer Aided Design (CAD)

A pattern design CAD software application is a tool for easily creating repeat patterns by computer. Not to be confused with fashion CAD systems that deal with creating patterns for garments, footwear, or accessories.

CalicoCalico

A small-scale allover floral design in bright colors, originally from India, and later associated with American country-style.

CamouflageCamouflage

A pattern that conceals the object by blending it into its environment or providing a false impression of the object characteristics (disruptive pattern). Digital camouflage patterns are often pixelated, without discernible shapes or features. Popular for clothing that imitates military-wear.

CartoucheCartouche

An oblong decorative figure resembling a frame, tablet, shield, or scroll bearing an inscription or emphasizing a design element. Used as a standalone or as part of a pattern’s motif. On ancient Egyptian monuments, it was an enclosure for depictionsof royal and divine names. It is still used to describe anything that sits below another picture and describes it.

Celtic KnotCeltic Knot

A knot formed by interfaced ribbons that lead seamlessly into one another. Also called an everlasting knot. Originated in Ireland and Wales and spread around the world from the Middle Ages onward.

Check    Check
One of the most famous surface patterns there is: simply a pattern of squares. Some of the most famous check patterns (in order of increasing size) are Pincheck, Mini check, Gingham check, Tattersall check, and Windowpane check.
ChequerChequer

A pattern of squares of alternating colors, textures, or materials. Another spelling is checker pattern. Same as checkerboard pattern.

ChevronChevron

A traditional, woven or printed design of zigzags in a stripe layout, also (and very often in black/white/grey) called herringbone.

Chinoiserie

Any Western interpretation of an Oriental design.

Chintz

A glazed fabric, usually printed in bright florals and stripes, mostly used for drapery and upholstery, but also for apparel.

CollageCollage

A collage pattern is one assembled by gluing paper scraps, photographs, cloth, or other objects onto a flat surface. Also an imitation of such a technique using graphic design tools. Derived from the French “coller”, to glue.

Composite OverlayComposite Overlay

Two or more patterns which are stacked on top of each other. A typical example is patterned background.

Composite RepeatComposite Repeat

A combination of two or more symmetry types in one pattern. For example, rotational medallions put in a drop repeat.

Contemporary

Any design with simple, extremely stylized motifs that are consciously contemporary.

ContourContour

A pattern of outlines highlighting or suggesting shapes or figures of the motif.

ContractContract

A design for nonresidential markets such as offices, hotels, and hospitals.

ConversationalConversational

A design with recognizable objects in the motif. Also called object prints.

Coordinates

Two or more designs that are related to each other in color, subject matter, and/or technique that are deliberately intended to be used together. A very common term in clothing.

CoralCoral

An organic allover pattern suggestive of coral growth.

CounterchangeCounterchange

A design where a certain color of the motif and its ground are reversed in another part of the design to balance the elements. See also two-color symmetries.

CoverageCoverage

The amount of design area in relation to or as opposed to the negative space. Usually expressed as a percentage of the whole item.

CroquisCroquis

A fully painted design that is not in repeat; same as sketch.

D

Damask

A jacquard woven ornamental reversible fabric usually in one color. Originally produced from silk or wool. (Not illustrated.)

DDiamondecorative Design

Artwork created for use in home furnishing and interior decoration.

DiaDiapermond

A pattern whose elements are arranged along diagonal (diamond) lines.

DDigital Patterniaper

A small-scale geometric pattern in a set layout of interlocking or closely aligned forms. Also a weave forming a diamond (diagonal) pattern.

DDirectionaligital Pattern Art

A pattern created using a computer as an essential tool in the design process. Examples include digital patterns that exhibit typical computer-generated elements or shapes, such as pixelated or fractal shapes; patterns that would be difficult or impossible to create without a computer, such as algorithmic or procedural patterns; and patterns produced using digital image manipulation techniques.

DiDistrict Checkrectional

A design in which motifs are oriented along one or several directions. Examples of directional design include one-way, two-way, and four-way layouts. Also used to describe a design that only ‘looks correct’ from only one direction. The opposite is called non-directional (undirectional) design.

DitsiesDistrict Check

A check pattern that originates from uniforms identifying specific Scottish estates. Famous district check patterns include the Glen checks, the Shepherd, the Dupplin, the Benmore, and others. See also tartan.

DitzyDitsies

A ditsie (ditzy) is an allover design of small buds, circles, zigzags, and other elements that are simple, eccentrically silly, and may be funny.

Documentary Design Ditzy

A ditzy (ditsie) is an allover design of small buds, circles, zigzags, and other elements that are simple, eccentrically silly, and may be funny.

Dog's toothDocumentary Design

A design based on documents or original (usually historical) material and reproduced closely to the original, often using a different technology. Compare to adaptation.

Dotted SwissDog’s toothA pattern of small broken or jagged checks created by four-pointed stars. Same as hound’s tooth.

DrybrushDotted Swiss

A pattern of small, evenly spaced raised dots (usually on a thin, lightweight fabric).

Drybrush

Employing or imitating effects produced with a brush holding a small to negligible amount of paint. Characterized by a scratchy, textured look.

E
EccentricsEccentrics

An eccentric is a pattern of thin lines generating an illusion of a distortion or op-art effects. Another spelling is excentrics. The class is believed to be originated from the Lane’s Net pattern.

Egg and DartEgg and Dart

A classic design consisting of an oval element alternating with an arrow-like element.

EngineeredEngineered

A motif or group of motifs designed to fit a specific shape.

EthnicEthnic

Art typical of a specific nationality or a design based on folk art.

Everlasting KnotEverlasting Knot

A knot formed by interfaced ribbons that lead seamlessly into one another. Same as Celtic knot.

F

Fall-on

One transparent color falling on another producing a third color. Also called trapping.

FigurativeField

The area of a design that is not the border.

Figurative

A type of conversational design that uses human or animal figures, often of historic, mythological, or poetic origin. Another term is “figural” design.

Figure-Ground ReversalFigure-Ground Reversal

Another name for positive-negative patterns. Figure-ground reversal can be emphasized by surrounding a part of a pattern with one of pattern’s colors and leaving the remaining part surrounded by the other color. See also counterchange.

Fleur-de-lisFleur-de-lis

A stylized three-petal or four-petal lily. Originally a symbol of purity. Since the Middle Ages has been used in heraldic ornaments.

FloralFloral

A design using flowers and other nature elements such as seed pods, leaves, and marine plants.

ForegroundForeground

The part of a design that appears to be closest to the viewer and in front of other objects. Contrast to background.

FoulardFoulard

A small-scale pattern with basic block repeat, also called a set pattern or a tailored pattern. Originally, the term foulard referred to a soft, lightweight silk cloth. Classic foulards are small-scale, regular-shaped geometrics, usually in set layouts.

Four-way LayoutFour-way Layout

A design in which motifs face all four directions, for example, up, down, left, and right.

Fret PatternFret Pattern

A plane geometric pattern or an interlocking motif in a band or border that consists of lines that meet at right angles. Also known as Greek key pattern. Often used as an ornamental border design.

FretworkFretwork

Ornamental openwork, such as created with a fretsaw or scroll saw. Often used in furniture of metal decorations. Also a carved design in architecture.

Frieze PatternFrieze Pattern

A pattern that repeats in one direction. There are exactly seven (7) mathematical classes of frieze patterns. Compare with two-dimensional (wallpaper) patterns that have exactly seventeen (17) mathematical types.

G
GeometricGeometric

A motif, pattern, or design depicting abstract, nonrepresentational shapes such as lines, circles, ellipses, triangles, rectangles, and polygons.

Geometric Design

A design based on a geometric pattern, often contrasted with representational designs, such as floral or conversational.

Gingham CheckGingham Check

Fabrics woven in a block or check effect. An allover pattern of solid-color squares made by overlapping stripes of the same width.

Glen CheckGlen Check

One of the district check patterns that typically includes hound’s tooth (broken) check areas on intersections of alternating darker and lighter stripes. Also called the Prince of Wales check. Commonly used in suiting fabrics.

Gradation PatternGradation Pattern

A pattern with varying sizes and/or colors or shades of motif elements.

Graph CheckGraph Check

A check pattern created by crossing lines on a solid ground that resembles graph paper.

Graphic

A design created for the purpose of printing. Also refers to a design with a bold look.

Greek Key PatternGreek Key Pattern

A plane geometric pattern or a border interlocking that consists of lines that meet at right angles. Also known as fret pattern. Often used as an ornamental border design.

GroundGround

The part of a design that appears to be farthest from the viewer and behind the objects of interest. Can be a solid color, texture, random objects, or another pattern (patterned ground). Also called background. Opposite of foreground.

GuillocheGuilloche

A decorative repeat of interlacing curved bands, sometimes forming circles.

H
Hairline StripeHairline Stripe

The thinnest stripe pattern possible, with stripe width of about the diameter of human hair.

Half-dropHalf-drop

A layout in which the motif is repeated halfway down the side in the vertical direction. The most frequently used repeat in textile design.

HandHand

The style of an artist’s design. Tight hand is very fine and detailed; loose hand is a freer, more stylized way of drawing.

HarlequinHarlequin

A pattern of diamonds arranged in a (rhomboid) lattice. Also called Harlequin print.

Henry John Woods PatternsHenry John Woods Patterns

The 46 patterns used by H.J. Woods to illustrate his original classification of 46 types of two-color symmetries of repeating patterns, as appeared in his 1936 work “The geometrical basis of pattern design. Part IV – Counterchange symmetry in plane patterns” (Journal of the Textile Institute, Transactions, v. 27, pp. T305-320). See two-color symmetries.

HeratiHerati

A stylized rosette, enclosed in a diamond, with a serrated “acanthus leaf” along each side, often used as a motif in the rug designs from the Caspian region. The “leaf” may actually represent a fish and then the pattern is also called the mahi (fish) design. The name comes from the city of Herat in Northwestern Afghanistan (formerly the Persian empire).

Herringbone PatternHerringbone Pattern

A traditional woven or printed design of zigzags in a stripe layout, also called chevron. Herringbone is also a type of twill weave that forms a “V” pattern (also called a broken twill).

Holes

Uneven gaps between motifs in a design.

Home Furnishing (Home Fashion)

A field of design dealing with products for interior design and decoration, such as upholstery, bedding, rugs, and carpets.

Hound's ToothHound’s Tooth

A pattern of small broken or jagged checks created by four-pointed stars. Same as dog’s tooth.

I
Ikat PatternIkat Pattern

A pattern design created by tie-dyeing either warp or weft threads prior to weaving the fabric, or a design simulating such a technique.

Interlocking PatternInterlocking Pattern

An arrangement in which motifs are linked or otherwise fit together so that one cannot be moved without affecting others. See also tessellations.

Irregular RepeatIrregular Repeat

A design based on the same principles as the half-drop and brick layout repeats, but in which consecutive units are not always moved by a fraction of the repeat size.

Islamic PatternIslamic Pattern

A pattern based on simple geometric shapes that uses symmetry and repeatability to create an impression of the infinite; that emphasizes beauty, flow, and unboundedness; with cultural or historic connections to Islamic art. See also arabesque.

K
KerchiefKerchief

A triangular scarf or a square scarf that is folded into a triangle and worn over the head or about the neck for protective or decorative purposes. A bandanna is a colorful kerchief.

L
Lane's NetLane’s Net

A pattern of diamonds rotated by 45 and 90 degrees. Diamonds are filled with thin lines radiating from the opposing ends. Legendarily, created by accident in England in the first part of the 19th century and is believed to engender the class of eccentrics.

LatticeworkLatticework

A design of interlacing, crisscrossing stripes forming a network. See also trellis.

LayoutLayout

An arrangement of motifs in a pattern, such as diamond, drop, gradation, grid, spot, and others. Also called repeat system.

Liberty StyleLiberty Style

An allover, small-scale organic (usually floral and other plant-inspired) printed or dyed patterns, characterized by highly stylized, flowing curvilinear forms and subtle, artistic tones of Art Nouveau, developed by Liberty & Co. of London.

Line-up

An unintentional straight line formed by motifs in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal direction.

Logo PatternsLogo Patterns

Patterns created from a logo. Used on stationary, fabric, and other identity items.

M
MadderMadder

A brown-red dye or pigment obtained from the roots of the plant Rubia tinctorum or an analogous synthetic dye. Also known as Turkey red. A pattern in that palette.

MadrasMadras

A design with brightly colored stripes, plaid, uneven checks, or other design elements, usually on a plain-colored background. Characteristic for a fine, plain-woven shirting or dress cotton fabric originated in India. Bleeding madras used dyes that resulted in bleeding and often fading of colors each time the fabric was laundered.

MedallionMedallion

A circular part of the design in the shape of a disk, oval, diamond, hexagon, or other rotational figure, typically with a mirror symmetry, often used in the center as a focal point of an engineered design, or as an organic part of the motif.

Millefleurs

French for thousand flowers. A flower-studded pattern with naturalistically depicted flowers, originally used on medieval pictorial tapestries.

Mini CheckMini Check

A very small-scale check pattern of even-sized checks of the same color on a solid ground. Check sizes are somewhere between the pincheck and the Gingham check.

MoireMoire

Ripples, wavy lines, and similar effects produced by superposition of two or more simpler patterns, for example, two sets of lines.

Mongrel

A plaid design in which the warp stripe layout and filling stripe layout are different.

MosaicMosaic

A pattern constructed from small colored pieces.

MotifMotif

One or many distinctive and recurring elements, forms, shapes, or figures that make up a design.

N
NaturalisticNaturalistic

A design with realistic depictions of organic or non-organic forms.

NeatsNeats

A neat is an allover, small-scaled, spaced pattern with floral or geometric motifs usually printed in one or two colors on a white or colored ground. Inexpensive to produce and economical for dressmaking.

Negative Space

The area between motifs in a layout.

Non-directionalNon-directional

A pattern that looks the same from any direction. Same as undirectional pattern. The opposite is a directional pattern.

NonobjectiveNonobjective

A design without recognizable natural objects, figures, or scenes.

O
Object PrintObject Print

Another term for a conversational pattern.

OgeeOgee

An onion-shaped motif.

OmbreOmbre

A shaded effect with gradual changes from dark to light in value, and open to closed in coverage.

One-directionalOne-directional

A directional pattern that has a distinct top and bottom. Often used in floral, scenic, and figurative designs. See also one-way layout. A typical example is the one-directional allover pattern.

One-way LayoutOne-way Layout

A design in which all motifs are oriented the same way. See also one-directional pattern.

Optical ArtOptical Art

An abstract artwork that creates the illusion of movement, vibrating effects, moire (moiré) patterns, an exaggerated sense of depth, or other visual effects.

OrganicOrganic

A design inspired by, based on, or composed of plants or a matter of animal origin. Contrast to geometric.

OverallOverall

A layout in which motifs are fairly close and evenly distributed as opposed to stripes, borders, plaids, and engineered designs. Another term is allover.

P
PackedPacked

A layout in which the motifs are placed close together.

PaisleyPaisley

A stylized teardrop-shaped design that originally appeared on kashmir shawls mass-produced in Paisley, Scotland.

Palette

The selected group of colors, shades, or patterns chosen to create a particular work of art.

PalmettePalmette

A classical motif based on a stylized radiating, fan-shaped palm leaf commonly found in Greek, Egyptian, Assyrian, and other ancient art. Also Anthemion.

PatchworkPatchwork

A pattern simulating a pieced-together effect of different design elements.

PatternPattern

A design for decorating a surface composed of a number of elements (motifs) arranged in a regular or formal manner. Often refers to “repeat pattern.”

Pattern Classifications

Ways to group (classify) patterns according to their traits, such as:

  • symmetry (for example, seventeen planar symmetry types)
  • layout type (diamond, drop, gradation, grid, spot, etc.)
  • layout arrangement (allover, foulard, etc.)
  • pattern directions (one-way, two-way, undirectional, etc.)
  • motif or subject matter (florals, geometrics, paisleys, conversationals, abstract, plaid, stripe, etc.; florals can be further subdivided into roses, palmette (botanical or stylized), etc.; conversationals can be subdivided into pictorials, figuratives, etc.; geometrics into line patterns, argyle, etc.)
  • purpose or application (textile, apparel, home furnishing, camouflage, etc.)
  • production technique used or imitated (watercolor, airbrush, hound’s tooth weaving, herringbone, chevron, satin, picotage, eccentrics, batik, etc.)
  • repeating on the infinite plane or designed to fit a specific shape (engineered)
  • scale (small-scale for contract design or large-scale for home furnishing)
  • target garment or accessory (rugs, bandanna, neckwear, etc.)
  • coloring (madders, khaki, etc.)
  • historic period, art movement, or place of origin (Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Liberty style, Pop Art, toile de Jouy, herati, tartan, Islamic, ethnic (Indian, African tribal, Maya, etc.), contemporary, etc.)

These classifications are not mutually exclusive and patterns are frequently described as belonging to more than one class; for example, an abstract undirectional allover madder camouflage pattern, which has the simple shift symmetry and the half-drop layout.

Patterned GroundPatterned Ground

A background (ground) that is in itself a pattern. Often consists of stripes, plaids, dots, zigzags, and other small geometric elements or textures, but can also contain flowers and more complex motifs.

Pencil StripesPencil Stripes

A stripe pattern produced by lines that are about as thick as ones drawn by pencil. The distance between lines is often wider than the lines. Also called dress stripe.

Pet PatternsPet Patterns

Patterns featuring pets or generally on a pets theme. One example is cat patterns.

Pheasant's EyePheasant’s Eye

A weave forming diamond shapes that are somewhat bigger than bird’s eye weaves.

PicotagePicotage

An old style of creating stipple patterns in textile printing when highlights and shadows are produced with different sizes of brass pins driven into a wooden block. Also called pinning. Imitated with a modern technology to create an old-fashion look.

PincheckPincheck

A check pattern produced by intersecting pin-sized stripes that are one or two yarns thick.

PinstripePinstripe

A stripe pattern produced by (sometimes broken) very thin lines that are one or two yarns thick. Much used in traditional male clothing such as suits.

PlaidPlaid

A design that consists of crossing bands or stripes of color, almost always at right angles. Again, common in clothing.

Plain WeavePlain Weave

The simplest weave in which each weft thread passes over and under each warp thread. Compare with plain and satin weaves.

Polka DotsPolka Dots

A pattern of filled circles, usually of the same size and color, arranged at equal distances from each other in a set layout.

Pop ArtPop Art

An art movement in the 1960s that featured stylised graphic images of everyday figures and objects.

Portfolio

A collection of designs, often used to demonstrate an individual’s talent.

Positive-Negative PatternPositive-Negative Pattern

A design in which both the motif (the positive space) and the surrounding area (the negative space) have recognizable shapes. Especially, a design in which the positive and negative spaces have identical shapes. Same as a pattern with figure-ground reversal. See also counterchange.

Powdered Ornament

A pattern consisting of evenly spaced scatterings of small motifs such as flower springs and stars. (Not illustrated.)

Primitive ArtPrimitive Art

Art that is simple, naive, or unsophisticated in style, often using the imagery of folk art, which often places emphasis on form and expression and looks deliberately childlike.

Q
QuatrefoilQuatrefoil

A stylized four-petal flower or a leaf with four leaflets used as a pattern motif or in an ornament, often having a heraldic or symbolic meaning. A similar three-petal motif is a trefoil.

QuiltingQuilting

The art of stitching two or more layers of fabric to create a thicker garment, often having an allover pattern on the top layer.

R
RandomRandom

A design in which elements (for example flowers) are scattered randomly within the unit of repeat. Same as tossed layout.

Recall

The repetitive use of the same or similar motifs within a croquis or sketch. Variations in the motifs can include color, shape, weight, or scale. (Not illustrated.)

Regency StripesRegency Stripes

Stripes of apparently the same width and alternating light and dark colors. Regency stripes are usually wider than candy stripes, but narrower than awning stripes. Commonly used in wallpaper, upholstery, and shirtings. Originated in India and became popular during the Regency era in the United Kingdom. Also called Bengal stripes and tiger stripes.

Regimental StripeRegimental Stripe

A stripe pattern with colors originating from British regiments. Most often used in neckwear. Also called regimentals.

Rendering

Another term for finished croquis.

Repeat

The horizontal or vertical distance between identical elements of a repeat pattern. In the United States, the repeat is usually measured in inches, for example, a 27″ repeat.

Repeat PatternRepeat Pattern

A design for decorating a surface composed of a number of elements (motifs) arranged in a regular or formal manner. Same as repeating pattern. Often simply called “pattern.” See also seamless repeating pattern.

Repeating PatternRepeating Pattern

A design for decorating a surface composed of a number of elements (motifs) arranged in a regular or formal manner. Same as repeat pattern. See also seamless repeating pattern.

Roman StripesRoman Stripes

Bright, multicolored contrasting vertical stripes.

S
Sateen RepeatSateen Repeat

A non-directional pattern in which motifs are arranged on a rectangular grid in such a way that each “row” and “column” of the repeated unit contains only one instance of the motif. Additionally, the motifs may be rotated and/or reflected to produce a more uniform pattern. Same as spot repeat. The distribution of the motifs in the grid resembles the satin weave.

Satin WeaveSatin Weave

A weave in which each weft thread floats over as many as 12 warps and then under a single warp. The next weft passes over the same number of warps, but is woven in by different warps. Compare with plain and twill weaves.

ScaleScale

The relative size of a motif or layout. See also gradation pattern.

Scale PatternScale Pattern

Design created with overlapping arcs. Also called clamshells. Encountered in many cultures through the millennia.

Scroll

A ribbon-like motif in the shape of a partly rolled scroll of paper.

Seamless PatternsSeamless Patterns

Repeating patterns without visible boundaries between motifs. Created by elements of the motif that appear in a regular manner (as in set layout) or artfully extend beyond geometric boundaries of the repeating region (as in interlocking patterns). Blending of neighboring units is another way to achieve seamless repeats.

Serpentine StripesSerpentine Stripes

A pattern arranged along wavy (sinusoidal) lines, reminiscent of reptilian movements.

Set LayoutSet Layout

A design in which motifs are arranged as if on a hidden grid.

Shades

Colors to which black has been added. (Not illustrated.)

Shepherd's CheckShepherd’s Check

The simplest of the district check patterns consisting of small, even-sized checks of two colors. Resembles the Gingham check. Was also known as “Spongebag.”

Side Repeat

The horizontal repeat of a design or cloth. (Not illustrated.)

SketchSketch

A fully painted design that is not in repeat; same as croquis.

Spot RepeatSpot Repeat

A non-directional pattern in which motifs are arranged on a rectangular grid in such a way that each “row” and “column” of the repeated unit contains only one instance of the motif. Additionally, the motifs may be rotated and/or reflected to produce a more uniform pattern. Same as sateen repeat. The distribution of the motifs in the grid resembles the satin weave.

SprigSprig

A tossed pattern of small shoots, twigs, or leaves of a plant, commonly on a pastel background.

Square RepeatSquare Repeat

A layout in which the repeating unit appears directly on a horizontal line to the left or right of the original design unit. Also called block repeat, straight-across repeat, straight repeat, and “full-drop repeat”.

StippleStipple

Dots placed closely together, creating a textured or shaded effect. See also picotage. Very common in graphic design.

Straight-across RepeatStraight-across Repeat

A layout in which the repeating unit appears directly on a horizontal line to the left or right of the original design unit. Also called block repeat, square repeat, and straight repeat.

StriaeStriae

A design made of stripes that change subtly in color and/or texture in one direction.

StripeStripe

A pattern of bands or strips, often of the same width and color along the length. Some of the stripe patterns (in order of increasing width) are hairline stripes, pinstripes, pencil stripes, candy stripes, bengals, and awnings.

Stylised

A design with modified or abstracted elements that give the design a more decorative look. (Not illustrated.)

Surface PatternSurface Pattern

A repeat pattern on a two-dimensional plane. Same as wallpaper pattern. There are exactly seventeen (17) types of surface patterns. See wallpaper groups. Similarly, there are seven (7) frieze patterns that correspond to seven types of linear patterns.

SwatchSwatch

A small piece of cloth used as a sample. In computer programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, a pattern swatch is a tileable, rectangular unit of a repeat pattern.

T
TapestryTapestry

A woven textile art with hidden warp (vertical) threads and visible colored weft (horizontal) threads usually depicting a floral design, geometric pattern, or historic or other pictorial motif. Commonly used for wall hangings, curtains, and upholstery.

TartanTartan

Woven plaids that consist of stripes of different widths and colors that were originally patterned to designate a distinctive Scottish clan. Now any plaids with a similar look.

TattersallTattersall

A relatively small-scale check pattern (smaller than windowpane) produced by regularly spaced, evenly colored thin lines on a usually light ground.

TessellationsTessellations

A repeat pattern composed of interlocking shapes that can be extended infinitely.

Textile DesignTextile Design

The art and science of designing for fabrics. Typically (but not always) involves the creation of repeat patterns. Specifications differ drastically depending on application (contract, apparel, home furnishings, etc.), technology (printed, woven, etc.), and other considerations. Commonly done with software.

Textile PatternTextile Pattern

A pattern designed for the specific purpose of implementing in textiles. Pattern classifications equally apply to textile patterns. See also textile design.

TextureTexture

A pattern creating the appearance, feel, or illusion of a structure of a surface. Often depicts fabric, earth, wood, or building, granular, and other materials.

ThemeTheme

A subject matter for a design or collection; for example, a Christmas theme or a pets theme.

Toile De JouyToile De Jouy

A decorating pattern on a scenic, pastoral, or floral theme usually printed in one color on a light or white ground. Originated in 18th century France. Often abbreviated to “toile.”

TossedTossed

A design in which elements (for example flowers) are scattered randomly within the unit of repeat. Also called random layout.

TraceryTracery

The ornamental framework of interlacing stone, wood, or cast iron ribs supporting (or implying the support of) glass in a Gothic window.

Transitional

A naturalistic design that is highly stylized, but still showing some recognizable elements. (Not illustrated.)

Trapping

One semi-transparent color falling on another to produce a third color. Also called “fall-on”. (Not illustrated.)

TrefoilTrefoil

A stylized three-petal flower or a leaf with three leaflets used as a pattern motif or in an ornament, often having a heraldic or symbolic meaning. A similar four-petal motif is a quatrefoil.

TrellisTrellis

A pattern featuring a supporting structure of interwoven pieces of wood or metal (latticework) sometimes adorned with climbing vines or flowers.

TurnoverTurnover

A design in which the motif is flipped horizontally or vertically.

Twill WeaveTwill Weave

A weave in which each weft thread passes over two (or more) warps and then under the same number of warps to produce diagonal ridges. Compare with plain and satin weaves.

Two-color (Counterchange) SymmetriesTwo-color (Counterchange) Symmetries

Symmetries that combine geometrical operations (translations, rotations, reflections, and glide reflections) with color reversals. There are exactly 46 types of two-color symmetries on the plane. See also counterchange pattern.

Two-directional PatternTwo-directional Pattern

A directional pattern that has features in two directions, typically at 90° or 180°. A design that is reversible in the top and bottom directions is also called a two-way design.

Two-way LayoutTwo-way Layout

A design in which half the motifs face an opposite direction, for example, up and down. See also two-directional design.

U
Unbalanced StripesUnbalanced Stripes

Unbalanced stripes do not have a “center” and are asymmetrical stripes.

UndirectionalUndirectional

A design that looks the same from any direction. Same as non-directional design. The opposite is a directional pattern.

V
VermicularVermicular

A pattern of irregular twisted lines (derived from the Latin “worm”), also called vermiculate and vermiculated (for example vermiculated ground), seaweed, scribble, maze, and network pattern. Can be formed by dots (see stippling and picotage).

W
Wallpaper Group cmWallpaper Group cm

A symmetry type characterized by reflections and glide-reflections with parallel axes. Produces “Mirror & glide” patterns (cm patterns).

Wallpaper Group cmmWallpaper Group Cmm

A symmetry type characterized by perpendicular reflections and perpendicular glide-reflections. Produces “Perpendicular mirrors & glide” patterns (Cmm patterns).

Wallpaper Group p1Wallpaper Group p1

A symmetry type represented only by translations (shifts). Produces “Simple shift” patterns (p1 patterns).

Wallpaper Group p2Wallpaper Group p2

A symmetry type characterized by 180° rotations (half-turns). Produces “Half-turn” patterns (p2 patterns).

Wallpaper Group p3Wallpaper Group p3

AA symmetry type characterized by 120° rotations. Produces “Three rotations” patterns (p3 patterns).

Wallpaper Group p31mWallpaper Group p31m

A symmetry type characterized by reflections in axes intersecting at 60° and 120° rotations. Produces “Three rotations & mirrors” patterns (p31m patterns).

Wallpaper Group p3m1Wallpaper Group p3m1

A symmetry type characterized by reflections in axes intersecting at 60° and 120° rotations around centers that lie on the reflection axes. Produces “Three mirrors” patterns (p3m1 patterns).

Wallpaper Group p4Wallpaper Group p4

A symmetry type characterized by 90° rotations (quarter-turns). Produces “Pinwheel” patterns (p4 patterns).

Wallpaper Group p4gWallpaper Group p4g

A symmetry type characterized by reflections and both 90° and 180° rotations. Produces “Quarter-turns & rotated mirrors” patterns (p4g patterns).

Wallpaper Group p4mWallpaper Group p4m

A symmetry type characterized by 90° (quarter-turn) rotations with centers on reflection axes, as in a kaleidoscope produced by three mirrors, two of which intersect at 90° and two at 45°. Produces “Quarter-turns & mirrors” patterns (p4m patterns).

Wallpaper Group p6Wallpaper Group p6

A symmetry type characterized by 60° rotations. Produces “Six rotations” patterns (p6 patterns).

Wallpaper Group p6mWallpaper Group p6m

A symmetry created by reflections in three mirrors intersecting at 90°, 60°, and 30°. Produces “Kaleidoscope” patterns (p6m patterns).

Wallpaper Group pgWallpaper Group pg

A symmetry type characterized by glide-reflections in parallel axes. Produces “Glide reflection” patterns (pg patterns).

Wallpaper Group pggWallpaper Group pgg

A symmetry type characterized by glide-reflections in two perpendicular axes. Produces “Double glide” patterns (pgg patterns).

Wallpaper Group pmWallpaper Group pm

A symmetry type characterized by reflections in parallel axes. Produces “Mirror” patterns (pm patterns).

Wallpaper Group pmgWallpaper Group pmg

A symmetry type characterized by parallel mirrors and parallel glides that intersect at right angles. Produces “Parallel mirrors & glide” patterns (pmg patterns).

Wallpaper Group pmmWallpaper Group pmm

A symmetry type characterized by reflections in perpendicular mirrors. Produces “Double mirror” patterns (pmm patterns).

Wallpaper GroupsWallpaper Groups

A mathematical concept that uses symmetry to classify surface repeat patterns (repetitive designs on a two-dimensional plane). There are exactly seventeen (17) wallpaper groups that correspond to seventeen different types of surface patterns. Similarly, there are seven (7) frieze groups that correspond to seven types of linear (frieze) patterns.

WatercolorWatercolor

Imitating effects produced by painting with watercolors (aquarelles). Often creates patterns with light, soft, and transparent gradations.

WeavingWeaving

A method of making fabrics by interlacing two sets of yarns (threads), in which one set (warp) runs along the length of fabric and the other (weft) runs from side to side. The three basic weaves are plain, twill, and satin.

Windowpane CheckWindowpane Check

A widely spaced check pattern resembling panes in a window. Commonly used on suits, shirtings, and accessories.

WreathWreath

A ring-shaped intertwined garland of flowers or leaves, often with ribbons and/or other decorations.

Z
ZalijZalij

The intricate geometric mosaic tilework created from sets of characteristic shapes, typically cut from enameled terracotta squares. Used as decorations outside and inside buildings. Another spelling is zillij.

I do hope you found this fascinating Glossary interesting and you can return to it as often as you need to remember the right term to describe something, or for inspiration to create your own Surface Pattern Design. Good luck!

Cheers

Jenie

 

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