Ah, repeats! Choosing a repeat style for a design can be tricky as there are so many factors to consider.
Does it look right? Is it too repetitive? Is the scale too large? Does it look forced?
The questions never end in the quest for the perfect design so we put together this guide to help you narrow down the best choice for your pattern repeat.
Now, lets get to what the 4 types of pattern repeats are!
The 4 types of pattern repeats are:
- Full drop
- Half drop
All are fantastic in their own right and can be used for many different styles of designs. Some are better suited to certain styles than others, depending on the motifs being used and the overall look you’re trying to achieve.
This is the motif we will be using throughout this article, a happy Neon tropical design:
Below are images and descriptors on each type of pattern repeat. Happy reading!
1. Full Drop Repeat
A full drop repeat is the most simple of all repeats.
To create a full drop repeat you simply multiply your motif along the same line horizontally and then do the same again vertically.
Doing this will result in a design similar to the one above. This kind of repeat can sometimes look repetitive, depending on the motif used.
2. Half Drop Repeat
A half drop repeat is often desired to break up the uniform look that a full drop repeat can sometimes give.
To create a half drop repeat, copy your motif horizontally. Then align the top of the second motif to the center of the first motif. See the below illustration:
Once this is done, you then duplicate both motifs at the same time along the same horizontal and vertical lines.
You can see from the white outlines applied to the repeat below how the pattern is stepping using the half drop technique.
3. Mirror Repeat
A mirror repeat can provide quite an interesting look if done right. Depending on the motif, you can sometimes end up with odd bits that have mirrored, creating a new object and now look a little out of place – or it could look like some totally inspired, trippy piece of art!
To create a mirror repeat, you duplicate your motif horizontally and then select the ‘mirror’ option in your design program. In Adobe Illustrator the option is to select Transform and then Flip Vertically and Horizontally.
You then duplicate both motifs across the same horizontal.
Repeat this process vertically and you will have an all over mirrored repeat.
4. Continuous Repeat
A continuous repeat is possibly the most difficult, though it can be the best looking for any motif. A continuous could feature the motif in any variety of ways, with all edges of the artwork lining up seamlessly.
To create a continuous repeat, you start by designating an area such as a rectangle.
Place your motif so that it overlaps one edge of the rectangle and sits half inside and half outside of it. You would then duplicate this motif and place it in the exact same position on the opposite side of the rectangle, like the below illustration:
Depending on the design program you are using, there will be more involved to ensure an exact match. We will cover how to create the perfect seamless repeat in our next blog post.
Continue this both horizontally and vertically, with most of the outer edges repeating nicely. Now you can freely fill in the middle empty area with however many motifs you like.
Crop your file to the exact size of the rectangle, discarding the elements sitting outside of it.
In the image below, the white border indicates our repeated area that matches both horizontally and vertically when aligned together.
Need assistance setting up pattern repeats? Our in-house designers can help.
Updated 29 June 2022