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Patterns have been a part of cultures around the globe for centuries. From fashion and branding to interior design and signage, patterns blanket and beautify our world. Designers are often asked to create new patterns from scratch, and although digital tools make the process easier than ever, it can still be a perplexing task.
In this installment of Drawing Vector Graphics, Von Glitschka demystifies the pattern design process, explaining tessellations (mathematical tiles that lie at the heart of patterns) and visiting the various methods of creating new patterns. He shows how to build repeating patterns with Illustrator's pattern tools and pattern brushes, and incorporate patterns into your design. The course also features patterns from some of the industry's most inspiring designers.
Brush patterns are great. But in all honesty, you won't use them every day. So knowing when to use them can save you a lot of time on certain types of projects. For well over 100 years now, the Marine Corps has been represented by this classic emblem of the globe, anchor and eagle. I was hired by their ad agency of record to take this classic motif and translate it into an iconic one color visual.
Let me show you how I used a brush pattern to help me create the final art on this project. When I approach certain design projects, I can get really intimidated by a certain client, especially if I haven't worked with them before. But in this case, I was dealing with the Marine Corps and, I mean, they have a long history. And they're pretty established in terms of what represents the Marine Corps. So this project was a little bit intimidating. Being asked to take the classic globe and anchor and reduce it down to a simple iconic one color mark.
And, the way I started on this is, I just broke it down into more manageable components. In this case, you can see that I worked on the anchor. And because it's symmetric, I really only had to create half of it to create both sides. And I broke it down into more manageable simple shapes. And that just allowed me to build it faster and more efficiently. The same is true with the eagle. You know, it's symmetric in terms of its body and wings, so I only had to create one side and it'll serve the purpose on the other side.
The head, in this case, is non-symmetric, but it's still a very simplified shape. And you can see I tried a different head down here, but I preferred the one that I use on top. And then, you have the feather treatment on its neck, as shown here. So this is kind of where it started, you can see my continents drawn out. I tried to kind of get very graphic and simple with those shapes. I'm not actually profiling the exact continental shape. I'm simplifying it down to a more concise form, and that's what I'll build from.
So this is where I started with my base factors, and then it moved to creating the entire motif, which involves the whole anchor and all the components. And what's critical at this stage is to get all of my negative spacing and the positive spacing and how things relate to one another with the gaps. It has to be consistent in order to work well in an iconic form. You can see a very crude rough sketch in the background that I'm using to guide my proportions.
And in this case, specifically, how the rope is going to be draped around the globe and the anchor. And, I'll be honest with you, when I approached this project, that is the thing that intimidated me the most is, how am I going to pull off that rope? That's going to be hard. You know, of course, when they asked me to do it, yeah, sure, I can do it. But then, as soon as you get off the phone, you're going, intimidation sets in. You start to kind of psych yourself out. Well, in this case, I started off at the top here, where the rope goes into the eyehole of the anchor.
And, I established a, a basis for how thick I want those ropes to be. And, I did that using a stroke and these strokes are ten points. And then, from that, what I did is, I created a simple rope motif that is based off of the same height of ten points. Now when I did that, that establishes the base for what the rope aesthetic is, what the spacing is on my rope. And from that, I created a simple pattern brush, as you can see here.
I'll just go ahead and zoom in so you can see this a little better. So you can see I built the rope shape here, and from that I extrapolated out and created a repeatable pattern brush. This will repeat from side to side. Once again, you don't have to worry about the top and bottom. And this will now establish how my rope pattern is going to work. And the way it works is, I just have my path here, so if I turn on that layer you can see how the rope Is segmented out into path shapes.
And what I'm going to do now is, I'm going to go to my brushes palette and you can see how I've dragged this rope brush into my brushes palette. If I double click on the rope, you can see how it's in the straight segment area. It's set for Stretch to Fit and the coloring is None. I, I'm not worrying about color since this is a one color mark. It's just to easily decipher my graphic elements on screen and keep track of things. So we're going to click OK.
And in this respect, let me zoom out a little bit. You can see the rope wrapping around the anchor, and wrapping around the globe. And I'm going to select my path now, and we're going to apply this rope to it. And you're going to see how it wraps around that path. And that's literally how easy it is to create a complex graphic, like this rope, using a simple pattern brush. So, that's how pattern brushes can assist in something that, at first, I thought the rope was going to be very complex and very time consuming.
In actuality, everything else took me more time than solving the rope dilemma in this design solution. So, let me show you how the final came out. And, you can see that graphic here, and it shows the rope in context on that motif. And, the context of the final usage with the lock up for the ad agency was this, using the new one color iconic mark for the Marine Corps. Created using a simplified pattern brush to build out something that would be very complex to do point by point.
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