Designing a pattern

By Josephine Cowell

Create unique pattern and texture designs using your original photography as inspiration.

Don’t forget to share your patterns or post online and tag @natsatclub and @ual_insights


Sonia Delaunay, pattern design for printed textile. Source



How do artists and designers generate ideas for pattern from their first point of inspiration?

This workshop will focus on the process of developing ideas and designs from your own original photography, helping you create lots of inspired design work which you can use when you get back in the studio!

Many different ideas can spring from one source of inspiration. The strongest designs happen when the designer is always re-visiting and questioning their research.

Anni Albers, left: design on paper, 1925. Right: Wallhanging, silk, cotton and acetate, 1925. Source


Materials needed

  • A digital camera, or camera phone

Any but not all of the following:

  • Paper scraps
  • Old magazines
  • Drawing/ painting materials
  • Fabric scraps etc.


Activity part one – discover patterns

Take photographs from around your house or outside space which you feel contain interesting pattern and texture.

Take time to really look at objects and surfaces you may not have really noticed before.

Here are a few examples:

  • The surface of a piece of furniture
  • A pattern from nature


Activity part two – Create your pattern artworks

In this activity you will create four artworks.

Choose one of your images, the one you think has the most beautiful/ interesting pattern/ texture in it.

Now, using any technique, and whatever materials you have (ie, drawing, painting, collaging etc.) create four (minimum) artworks inspired by elements of pattern or texture in your image.

Either divide your page into four or work on four separate pages.

Don’t copy your photo! Theses artworks are not observational drawings. Really look at your image and pick out elements you want to play with to create something new.


Here are some more examples:


Further Development

Create a library of as many artworks as you like from different photos. You can use these designs in any creative project in the future.

If you haven’t already completed the ‘Colour Palette Creation’ workshop, complete that next to add to your design toolkit.


Thank you for taking part in the University of Arts London Saturday Club Workshop.

Don’t forget to share your patterns or post online and tag @natsatclub and @ual_insights

Contributed by Josephine Cowell, London College of Fashion, University of Arts London Fashion&Business Saturday Club

Jo is a Textiles tutor at LCF specialising in Knit. Jo works extensively with the LCF Outreach team, supporting students to develop their ideas and skills within Textiles. Jo provides tailored support to students when they are transitioning into FE and getting ready to apply to HE.


“The Saturday Club is a brilliant opportunity for young people to play and explore new areas of fashion. I work very hard to breakdown young people’s understanding of what Textiles can. be so they can discover the joy and importance of studying a specialist course and what types of careers it can lead too.“


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