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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.
- Establishing the bounding box for your tile
- Drawing your design
- Creating a pattern swatch
- Refining art with the Pattern tool
- Saving your design
- Creating a pattern brush
- Using your pattern in designs
Skill Level Intermediate
When creating visual identity systems for my client, often I'll design a brand pattern that aligns with their new identities aesthetic. This gives them more flexibility since they can use the secondary brand element on marketing and other identity materials. Let's take a look at a few examples of brand patterns. In this movie, I want to show you three identity projects that I created what I call brand patterns for. And all a brand pattern is, is a secondary branding element that a company can use in their print collateral pieces or their marketing efforts that reinforces the primary brand.
You don't want it to degrade. It's just a treatment in a graphic sense that reinforces the overall brand aesthetic. And in this case, for the first example I'm going to show you here, is Nuevo Bistro. You saw it appear in a previous movie. I showed you the menu layout using a custom pattern brush to create the classical frame that we used on that menu. And so now, I want to create a brand pattern based off of this identity, and that core asset that I'm going to use will be a fork, since that makes up their core brand identity mark.
And, once again, I don't have to draw anything out in this respect, we're going to create what's called a free floating pattern. And that'll use this fork, and we're going to associate it with our bounding box. So, in this case, we're going to create a perfect square tile. And by associating this fork with this bounding box, we can figure out a pleasing repeat pattern, using the bounding box to figure out when it goes off the top and side. It's going to come onto the bottom and go off on the side here.
And so you see how I've set that up using the bounding box. So, you don't have to do any drawing to pull of this type of pattern, but having a bounding box is going to help you figure out that repeat. And this is something you can try to do within the pattern tool, but it's a little harder. It's like working in a glove box. So it works better to create it on the artboard, then bring it into the pattern tool. Once you have this in place, you'll have your final pattern tile. So this shows how I've copied it and used some opacity settings with the transparency palette to create some depth and dimension in terms of my final pattern tile.
And I've dragged already to my swatches palette, and if I double-click on the swatch, you can see how that work. We'll go ahead and name this one Green fork. It'll be really original. And we'll double-click on the background to exit to the artboard again. And I'm going to show you how this pattern fill looks. So, we'll select this rectangular shape, and we'll fill it now with our pattern. So, it's a really nice pattern and it works well in context with the primary brand.
It reinforces the concept, reinforces the whole idea of a restaurant and being an eatery. Now once again, just ignore the white lines you see. That's, once again, a preview bug in Illustrator. They should not show up when you print the file, but that's how we've used this brand pattern to create this nice motif here. But, you know what, we're going to revisit our menu, because I think the menu would benefit from having the brand pattern applied to that.
We're going to select the outer shape of the frame color, and we're going to fill that with our pattern, and we're going to adjust the size. So we're going to go to the Scale tool, double-click that. And I think 50, let's try 60. I want it a little bigger. And we'll click OK. And I think that adds a lot more interest to the overall menu. So I think that improves our design. And that's the whole point of creating patterns like this is to improve the overall aesthetic of an identity, give it a greater range of appeal.
And if we click the last example in this respect, it will be the coaster, and we've also applied that brand pattern to the outer rim on this coaster design as well. So that's how we used a brand pattern with this specific client. The next one I want to show you is about a youth outreach called Xcited Community. And this is the logo I developed for them. And especially when a client is fun and youth-oriented, it's a great example of how you can use a brand pattern in that context. In this case, we're going to take an element of the logo, which is the X character, and I'm going to create what's called another standalone pattern.
I've dragged this art into the swatches palette, and I'll show you how I replicated that. And if you look at my pattern and you click on the tile tool, you'll see how it's replicating it, but notice how I am using a brick to row. So this is a good example of how this specific type of art you're creating will determine what tile type will work best with it. In this case, brick to row worked perfect to create a overall pattern. So let's go back to the artboard, and I'll show you how this pattern fill looks.
So this gives you a good idea of how fun this pattern is. It all interlocks with one another. And we're going to create the background that our primary brand can actually appear on. So let's say they're doing a presentation for a PowerPoint. This would work great for a splash screen before the presentation starts. So that's a good idea of how you can use it, and specifically for this client, we used it on the business cards. So you can see the flood coat of the pattern on the back of the business card with the primary logo and how we also utilized it on the front of the card.
So, another example of how you can use a brand pattern within the context of an identity design. And the last one I want to show you is another restaurant. And this one's based out of South America. And the type of food they serve, and this is an actual product shot from their line, is these curly fries. And this specific flavor actually is a pepperoni pizza curly fry. So they serve all these different flavors. So they wanted a brand character that was kind of a cross between a monster and a potato.
And this was the brand character I came up with. Now in the process of doing this, they didn't distinctly ask me to do a brand pattern, but I thought it would work great for how they serve their product. And so, I want to show you what I created for their brand pattern. I played off the idea of the curly fried potatoes and created a brand pattern, using that motif of a curly fry and oriented it with my bounding box to figure out the repeat. Once I had that figured out, I could trim the artwork to the exact pattern tile I would need.
And if I click on the pattern tool, you can see how that works out inside in the pattern tool. And I'll now fill a pattern swatch with it. And so, this is what I presented to 'em. And I suggested that they could use this to print the tissue paper that goes inside the baskets, what their fries come in, as a way to reinforce their overall brand. And they really like that idea. I also gave them one that's a little more dimensional as well.
So the one on the left is simplified. The one on the right is adding a little more dimension, and this is how that final pattern fill came out. So that's how you can use pattern designs within the context of branding. Pattern is a great way to extend a visual identity and reinforce an overall brand message. So consider developing a brand pattern on your next logo design project.