Be proud of repeatingā€¦ šŸŒˆ How to make your own pattern

Welcome to FreepikĀ“s informative guide to pattern creation! We will cover a little bit of history, and its function, even guide your hand into making your very own, which you will be very proud of!


History of pattern


Pattern design dates back as far as cave paintings, and some of the most impactful patterns you can think of have been created by hand. Take a look at some of Australia’s Aboriginal art, and you will understand exactly what we are talking about. However, for this topic, we would like to focus on the repeated pattern, a perfect practice that requires a mechanical function.

What might take you by surprise is how long repeated pattern design has been around, concerning other design practices that is. It was the fashion industry that kicked it all off as late as the 1860s. Designed by Ellen Curtis Demorest, paper pattern designs were finally made possible, thanks to the industrial age.

The introduction of factories, filled with brand-new technology and a formidable workforce, paved the way for mass production. As the new fashion trends took to the streets, news spread quickly, and before we knew it, the whole world was demanding more! It wasn’t too long after that, we saw the printing press develop techniques to assert its power too.

In the 1900s, we could see our world had indeed changed its colors, put on a smoking jacket, and started to move to a different beat that was on repeat! Hotel lobbies, publishers, and even carpets started to look like some kind of dream you never had.


The function is simple yet biblical, in the sense that theyĀ“re designed to practically hypnotize you, and allude you into staying with it. Like the constant beat of a drum, a repeating design has the same effect. This idea of fixation has intuitively pushed designers into producing thought-provoking designs, pushing what’s possible mathematically and visually. Integrating math into design is sure to impress, using geometric shapes fitting into one another is very visually stimulating. At the end of the day, repeated patterns have a clear function. To entertain you!

Interior decor

Interior Decor Pattern

When talking about repeated patterns, we cannot ignore its decorative function. Wallpapers and carpets are almost always covered in pattern design, and we find them fascinating. Having stayed in a few hotels myself, depending on how old the hotel is, I have found a pattern that speaks for its time in history and setting, like a time capsule.

An interior pattern that I could never shake off, was that from the movie The Shining, where a pattern created by David Hicks (the designer) made a feature in the film, which I thought tied in very well with the film concept. The function of repeated interior pattern design is to quite literally tie the room together, to give the space definition and entertain, to some extent, its visitors.


pattern background

Today we are seeing repeated pattern design function all around us in every way it possibly can, retaining its purpose and still delivering its incalculable impression on us lucky observers. Repeated patterns are an essential element graphic designers do not take for granted. They can entertain, when white space does not. Push brand awareness for companies, and also create the atmosphere critical to supporting functional design.

The introduction of vector graphics has changed pattern design significantly, making it easier and quicker to push what is possible. With that said, we are looking to a new future of digital interaction, and as sad as it may sound, we are slowly but surely throwing away the idea of print. Will repeated patterns still be able to function as backgrounds? The answer is an affirming yes! Not only will it function but it will function more, in ways it actually does right now.

Today we are seeing backgrounds animate, change color and interact like it’s coming alive! It’s becoming more vibrant as ever and we will all look forward to what will become of repeated pattern design when virtual reality comes to fruition.

How to make a repeating pattern

honeybees pattern

Ok, so let’s assume this is the first time you’re making a pattern, and let’s assume you have Adobe Illustrator, and let’s assume further, that you know the basics of the program in which we are going to design your first ever pattern. However, for those of you who are more interested in the search for inspiration, we have a variety of patterns that will do just that. Let’s get started!

There are many different types of patterns out there:

For this exercise, we will focus on the honeycomb or hexagon for a few reasons. First of all, honeybees know what they are doing. Secondly, hexagons maximize space, and they interlock better than most other shapes, with ease!

How to make your own pattern tutorial


  • So when you open up Illustrator, the first thing you are going to do is draw a hexagon using the Polygon tool. Then fill the hexagon with the two colors you have chosen. In this case, we have gone for a blue fill with a white outline with a 1mm stroke width.
  • Now that we have your overall shape, we can now apply a pictorial within the space to give the pattern some character. Please note that not all shapes are symmetrical, so centralizing can make them look unbalanced. As this is the case for my shape, I have used my own visual observation to make it look central.
  • Once you are happy with the position of your pictorial, you now need to select the hexagon, click on Object in the top menu and hit Expand. This will fill out any outlines you have, providing a full shape. This is very important for the next step!
  • This is where the computer will do most of the work for you! All you need to do is click and drag over the entire shape so that your hexagon and pictorial image are selected. We click Object in the menu bar and then click on Pattern. You will then see this text box appear with some options. For this simple exercise, you will then click on the Tile Type drop-down menu and select Hex by Column.
  • Once Hex by Column has been selected you can proceed to click on Done!
  • Now your brand new pattern design will appear in your Swatches panel!

Now you have the freedom to use your very own pattern in just a few easy steps. Go ahead and select the rectangle tool, select your pattern from the swatch panel and go crazy with it!

We hope you have enjoyed this introduction to repeated pattern design, making the best of it, and maybe you can expand on this tool and use it to your advantage in making incredible designs!