Elli Maanpää

Art, Illustration, Film // Contact: elli@maanpaa.com

Designing Patterns: Colour // Elli Maanpää 2018

Designing Patterns: Colours

Blog
Design

I asked in my Instagram stories if you’d be interested hearing more about pattern design. You answered 100% “YES, BRING IT ON ASAP” So here we go.

Creating beautiful patterns is one on my favourite things to do. I will make a video post later about: How to do a tiling pattern – it’s such a simple trick that you wonder why you didn’t know it before. But in today’s post I talk about the COLOURS. Colours are the beginning of everything.

The most important thing is to remember that if you’ve created a nice pattern you need at least three colour variations of it. One WARM – yellow, red, orange. One COLD – blue, green, turquoise. One NEUTRAL – grey, beige.

Second rule is… forget the first rule and have fun.

Forest Berries - Pattern: Dark Turquoise // Designing Patterns: Colour // Elli Maanpää 2018

Forest Berries – Pattern: Dark Turquoise // Designing Patterns: Colour // Elli Maanpää 2018

You might remember this Forest Berries -pattern? I originally designed it over year ago for my mom. I ordered her a large studio pouch for Christmas present. It looked good, my mom loved it and I moved on.

I had almost forgotten the design until my dear friend Anna – the service designer – kindly asked if I could make colour variation of it in yellow. She wanted to order that one as an iPhone cover.

Forest Berries - Pattern: Sunset Colour // Designing Patterns: Colour // Elli Maanpää 2018

Forest Berries – Pattern: Sunset Colour // Designing Patterns: Colour // Elli Maanpää 2018

Yes I can” I said. She gave me an excuse to open the pattern file again and play with the colour wheel. Since I knew I might as well make more than just one new colour variation: I made dozens of them. I used Photoshop colour correction tools i.e. Hue/Saturation, Colour balance to find funky styles.

After the creative colour brainstorming came the elimination. At some point the colour designs start to compete with each other. So you shouldn’t offer too similar variations. I chose the lucky winners by thinking would I wear this? AND Is there someone else who would wear this?

Colour combination finalists // Designing Patterns: Colour // Elli Maanpää 2018

Colour combination finalists // Designing Patterns: Colour // Elli Maanpää 2018

There needs to be a unique character coming to mind for every colour combination. The first character was my mom. But for the rest of the colours I have to find imaginary personas that I would see wearing the design.

Forest Berries - Pattern: Red // Designing Patterns: Colour // Elli Maanpää 2018

Forest Berries – Pattern: Red // Designing Patterns: Colour // Elli Maanpää 2018

Women's Chiffon Top Forest Berries Red // Click image to see in Redbubble // Elli Maanpää 2018

Women’s Chiffon Top Forest Berries Red // Click image to see in Redbubble // Elli Maanpää 2018

JANETTE, 52-years-old

  • Real Estate Agent
  • Always wears red lipstick and bold jewellery
  • Has a loud laughter.
  • Enjoys going to Gallery openings.
Forest Berries - Pattern: Blue Mist // Designing Patterns: Colour // Elli Maanpää 2018

Forest Berries – Pattern: Blue Mist // Designing Patterns: Colour // Elli Maanpää 2018

Graphic T-Shirt Dress Forest Berries Blue Mist // Click image to see in Redbubble // Elli Maanpää 2018

Graphic T-Shirt Dress Forest Berries Blue Mist // Click image to see in Redbubble // Elli Maanpää 2018

MAYA, 28-years-old

  • Works at the bird sanctuary.
  • Hobbies include swimming and surfing.
  • Writes poems.
  • Has travelled all over the world.
Forest Berries - Pattern: Summer Night // Designing Patterns: Colour // Elli Maanpää 2018

Forest Berries – Pattern: Summer Night // Designing Patterns: Colour // Elli Maanpää 2018

Graphic T-Shirt Forest Berries Summer Night // Click image to see in Redbubble // Elli Maanpää 2018

Graphic T-Shirt Forest Berries Summer Night // Click image to see in Redbubble // Elli Maanpää 2018

 MOLLY, 21-years-old

  • Studies Anthropology.
  • Loves reading.
  • Has a cat named Biscuit.
  • Drinks green tea in her own balcony garden.

After I know which colour designs have enough personality I clean them up. I zoom in very closely to double check the outlines of the shapes. It’s also a must to check the tiling in case you accidentally moved some elements. Look for the hiccups and clean them up.

After that you’re ready to go and enjoy your pattern design variations. I have Redbubble shop Elli Maanpää where I upload the designs for sale. I love seeing the patterns instantly in actual products. It’s also fun to find out which designs get the most love in the Redbubble community.

Since repetition is the key here’s short recap of how to choose the right colours for your pattern designs:

  1. Warm, cold & neutral
  2. Play around
  3. Eliminate
  4. Clean up
  5. Enjoy
Thank you for reading. If you found this post to be inspiring pass it on to your follow designer friends. See you again next Tuesday. Have an awesome week. Inspire and be inspired.

With love, Elli