Friday, February 6, 2009

Combining Patterns

Whenever we create a new paper collection we try to make the papers very user-friendly. Here are some things we take into consideration that may help you when you are combining papers. I used Lovebirds for my example, but these principles apply to any collection or mix of collections. You can even apply these when you are combining patterns in your home decorating.

Principle 1: Size
You want to have a variety of pattern sizes. If all the patterns are the same scale, they will fight for attention and don’t layer well together.

Principle 2: Type/Complexity
Some patterns are very bold and others are calm. Many times this is because a pattern has many elements that repeat randomly, while other patterns have only one element that repeats very predictably. There are also geometric patterns and organic patterns. If you combine too many bold or complex patterns, it will get too busy. It is nice to have some calm patterns or solids mixed in.

Principle 3: Style
We generally keep each paper collection the same style throughout. For example is the style whimsical, sophisticated, etc... This helps make the patterns easier to combine.

Principle 4: Color
When choosing the colors you want to use, it is best to have one dominant color, some less dominant colors and one or two accent colors. Your dominant color is the color you use most. The accent color is used to make things “pop” or to add contrast so everything doesn’t get too “muddy”.

Another thing to consider with color is warm colors (red, orange & yellow), cool colors (green, blue & usually purple), and neutrals. If you use a lot of colors from the same group, it will create a calm and unified look.

These are just a few things to keep in mind as you are combining patterns. The basic principle is unity with variety. Make sure to keep your patterns unified (color and style are great ways to do this) and mix in some variety (size and type/complexity are great for variety). It can be tricky but usually a lot of fun too. Once you understand why some things work better than others, you will learn when to take a risk and break the rules and when to stick to what works.

Now do you know which pattern combination works better in the image at the top and why? Do you have any tips or questions on combining patterns that you can share? We love your comments!


Leisha said...

I love using different lines together from SEI! You are so user friendly! I have stuff from a few years ago that goes great with some of the new lines! So thanks it makes it a whole lot easier for us when we use your products.

NanaBeth said...

I think the 2nd combo works the best-the first are too similar. All those dots just moosh (redneck) together so nothing stands out!
I have a hard time combining patterns but I am getting better. I usually stick to something simple to balance something complex and keep the scale similar-small flowers would equal small stripes.

Deborah said...

The second set works best; because it includes a bold pattern and a calmer pattern. The first set patterns are too similar, one doesn't stand out from the other. I am trying to experiment more with patterns, and SEI's collections make it so easy to achieve unity.


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