BRAND PATTERN SUITE
HOW TO Create + Use A BRAND PATTERN SUITE THAT MAKES YOUR CONTENT MEMORABLE
written by: DRE BELTRAMI
reading time: 5 minutes
WHAT IS A PATTERN SUITE AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?
A pattern suite is simply a set of patterns (or textures) that reinforce your personality and the atmosphere your brand lives in. The customizable nature of the subject matter and colors you use oftentimes make a pattern suite more recognizable than a logo suite. (GASP!)
It also happens to be the asset in your brand identity that you have the most creative license, as far as how you approach them.
Meaning, you could choose a pattern suite with a trio of patterns, one with only one pattern that features different color and scale variations, or a suite that contains both patterns and textures.
There’s a lot less formulaic structure with your brand pattern suite than any other asset in your identity.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PATTERN STYLES
In the name of helping you use this creative license wisely, let’s run through the different types of pattern styles.
icon or symbol
MY FAVORITE SEARCH VENUES FOR FINDING PATTERNS (AND/OR TEXTURES):
Creative Market is the world’s marketplace for design. Bringing your creative projects to life with ready-to-use design assets from independent creators around the world.
Etsy is the world’s most imaginative design marketplace with everything from handmade and vintage products to digital and design downloadables.
Adobe Stock is where you’ll find the perfect images, patterns and/or graphic elements to enhance your brand identity. Preview watermarked images inside your designs, then license, access, and manage them directly within Photoshop, Illustrator, and other Adobe desktop apps. 👆the link above is my affiliate link
Pattern Cooler is a simple web app where you can apply your own colors, sizes, and texture effects to thousands of pattern designs and download them as seamless background images for free.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR CREATING A PATTERN SUITE THAT’LL NEVER FAIL YOU
DESIGN LOVES ODD NUMBERS
When pairing patterns and textures I suggest leaning towards odd numbers if you’re going to choose completely different patterns and/or textures.
Meaning, if you want to choose a combination of different patterns and textures your best bet is to go with an odd number. Three is a really great sweet spot for a pattern suite but I’m not going to sit here and forbid you from breaking this rule because, remember, you’ve got a TON of creative license with these - and I don’t subscribe to absolutes. This isn’t a hard and fast rule but a guideline to help you keep the assets in your brand identity intentional and in sync.
MIX DON’T MATCH
When choosing the patterns and/or textures in your suite make sure you’re channeling a mix and match approach and not a matchy, match one!
Choosing similar patterns across the board for instance, all florals or all geometrics, will leave you with massive gaps in the versatility of your suite and deny you the hundreds of ways you can potentially use your pattern suite across your content. You want your selections to compliment each other but NOT look like twinsies. 👈🚫
A good rule of thumb for choosing the patterns and textures in your suite is what I call the pairing trifecta, which includes movement, geometric, and texture or small scale. Let’s run through those and I’ll give you some examples.
First, you want a pattern or texture that’s got some “movement” to it, and those are usually on the organic side, like a floral or a typographic pattern. Here, you’re looking for a pattern that leads the eye around it.
Next, it’s great to pair the movement in your first pattern with something a bit more structured, like a geometric, line work, or texture pattern, which can be linear in nature or something more abstract.
TEXTURE AND/OR SMALL SCALE PATTERN
Lastly, to round things out, it's best to use a pattern or texture that features a very small scale. This could be as simple as using a smaller scale of either of the two patterns you chose above or you can include a completely different pattern.
Here are two pattern suite examples that I created for my clients.
For my girl Chelsea at Copy Power we went with a marble which has a lot of movement, the confetti which is geometric in nature, and a very small-scale geometric pattern.
For my girl Adrienne at Business Muse we went with two patterns and played with the scale and fill of one pattern and paired that with a nice clean texture.
A RANGE OF SCALE
Scale is very important, especially in pattern suites with three or more patterns, because a range of scales gives you the versatility you’ll need to be able to design for different types of content.
It’s best to have one large scale pattern, which usually appears in the pattern or texture with the most movement in your suite.
Another pattern that’s in the mid-range on the scale spectrum, which usually appears in the pattern or texture that’s geometric in nature.
And lastly, a very small-scale pattern or texture, which usually appears in the texture included in your suite.
Again, these suggestions aren’t gospel, they’re simply guidelines, something to help you create a well-rounded pattern suite that never fails you, or gets away from you - hint, hint, with everything but the kitchen sink!
Design is about dancing between best practices and breaking the rules in the name of welcomed ocular disruption 👈 a very technical term I just made up. Your job (if you’re choosing to DIY your brand identity) is to know when to lead and when to follow. 😉
HOW TO FIND THE PATTERN STYLING THAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU
Part of choosing a killer brand pattern suite is giving yourself permission to try on different patterns so you can see what you like and don't like, because a pattern on its own looks very different than a pattern in "the wild". Don't blind taste test your way to a brand, that's just silly!
There's a better way...
TEST DRIVE YOUR PATTERN
SO YOU CAN SEE WITH YOUR Own Eyes WHAT IT'LL LOOK LIKE IN THE WILD
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POWER OF ONE
If the thought of piling on different patterns in your brand identity gives you a wicked case of ass sweats, then don’t! One distinctive pattern is gold, especially when you realize how many ways you can actually use it.
Here are four ways I like to go all in on one brand pattern.
CHANGE THE BACKGROUND COLOR
I’ll use a full-color pattern with a transparent background and apply different color backgrounds from the color palette, which accentuates and hides certain elements in the pattern, depending on the background color.
CREATE MONOCHROMATIC VERSIONS
I’ll use a single-color pattern (or turn a full-color pattern into a single-color) and apply a background that’s a few shades lighter or darker than the color I’m using, and I’ll do that for each color in the color palette.
USE DIFFERENT SCALES
I’ll use the same pattern, whether full-color or single-color, and create variations with different scales. For some pattern suites, I’ll do this with a variety of colors from the color palette.
USE DIFFERENT COLOR COMBINATIONS
I’ll use a full-color pattern and create variations using different color combinations from the color palette. I love to use this approach when my client has different content categories, offers, or products so that each one has a specific color that’s carried across every piece of content that’s created for it - including featured images, PDF guides, or even packaging.
COMBINATION OF THE ABOVE
I’ll use a combination of the above styling and create a suite with different color combinations and scales that can be used on different color backgrounds from the color palette.
PLACES TO USE YOUR PATTERN SUITE THAT’LL BUILD BRAND RECOGNITION
Once you have your pattern suite created, it’s time to roll it out into every piece of content possible, so you can get the most out of it and make sure it’s building your brand recognition.
Here are the go-to places I love to use a brand pattern suite right out of the gate.
social media images
business cards + promotional material
email + website banners
I DOUBLE-DOG-DARE YOU TO...
To use this lesson to create a pattern suite that becomes so synonymous with your brand and content that the moment people see (even a hint of) it, they know that what they’re looking at is allllll you!
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