How to Make Simple Seamless Patterns in Illustrator

How to Make Simple Seamless Patterns in Illustrator

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to make simple background patterns in Adobe Illustrator. I use these seamless patterns for all of the social sharing graphics on my blog. You can follow along using your own blog colors, or pick your own color scheme.

Setting Up Your Document

Step 1.

Open up Illustrator and create a new 600px X 600px document.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 01

Step 2.

To create my color palette, I’m going to begin by creating small squares in each of my 4 blog colors. Using the Rectangle tool (M) create a 100px X 100px square and set the fill color to one of your blog colors. Do this for each of your blog colors.

Step 3.

Repeat the process above, but this time create a square with a white fill for each of your colored squares, and line them up as shown in the image below. (Don’t use a black stroke on yours, I simply added that so you could see the white squares better.)

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 02

Step 4.

Go to Object –> Blend –> Blend Options . . . And set it to Specified Steps and 5 as shown in the image below. Click OK.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 03

Step 5.

Using the Selection Tool (V). Select one colored square and the white square below it, and go to Object -> Blend -> Make (Alt+Ctrl+B). Repeat this step for each of your blog colors. You should now have multiple shades of each of your colors. Move these squares out of your way, lock this layer and name it Color Palette.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 04

Create a Simple Dotted Pattern

Step 1.

Create a new layer and name it Dotted Pattern

Step 2.

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 16px by 16px square and set the fill color to one of your lighter blog colors using the Eyedropper Tool (I) and the color palettes you created in the above steps. (I’m using the third color from the bottom of my blue colors.)

Step 3.

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 4px X 4px circle, and set the fill to a color that is lighter than the square.

Step 4.

Using the Selection Tool (V), select the circle and line it up in the corner of the square, as shown in the first image below. With the circle still selected, use your arrow keys to nudge it 2px down and 2px right (each tap of the arrow key moves the shape 1px).

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 05

 

Step 5.

Copy (Ctrl+C) the small circle and Paste in Place (Shift+Ctrl+V) twice. Using the Selection Tool (V), select one circle. Use your arrow keys to nudge it 8px down. Using the Selection Tool (V), select the other copied circle, and use your arrow keys to nudge it 8px to the right.

Step 6.

Copy (Ctrl+C) the lower circle and Paste in Place (Shift+Ctrl+P). Use your arrow keys to nudge it 8px right. Your image should now look like the image below.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 06

Step 7.

Use the Eyedropper Tool (I) to change the fill color of two of the circles to a darker color in the same color family, as shown in the image below.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 07

Step 8.

With the Selection Tool (V), select all the shapes in the design and drag them to your Swatches Panel.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 08

Step 9.

You have now created one new swatch in your blog colors.

Step 10.

With all of your shapes still selected, create a new copy (or copies) Copy (Ctrl+C), Paste (Ctrl+V) of the design. Change the colors in the new copy (or copies) of the design using the Eyedropper Tool (I) and repeat Step 8 to create a dotted pattern swatch for each of your blog colors.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 09

Create a Diagonal Stripe Pattern

Step 1.

Create a new layer and name it Diagonal Stripe Pattern

Step 2.

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 60px by 60px square and set the fill color to none.

Step 3.

Copy (Ctrl+C) the square and Paste in Place (Shift+Ctrl+V), set the fill color to a medium shade of one of your blog colors using the Eyedropper Tool (I). (Important note: You should now have two squares in your layer stack: one at the back that is invisible and one in the front that has a color fill.)

Step 4.

Using the Pen Tool (P), create a diagonal line that intersects the corners of your square, as shown in the image below. Set the fill color to none, and the stroke color to a darker shade from your color palette. Change the stroke weight to 3px.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 10

Step 5.

Create a copy of the diagonal line (Ctrl+C) (Ctrl+V) and place it over the top left corner of your square, as shown in the image below. Make sure the line goes through the center of the anchor point, just like in the image below.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 11

Step 6.

Repeat the process for the bottom right corner, again making sure the line goes through the center of the anchor point, as shown in the image below.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 12

Step 7.

Go to Object –> Blend –> Blend Options . . . And set it to Specified Steps and 5 as shown in the image below. Click OK.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 13Step 8.

Select the center line and top line with the Selection Tool (V) and go to Object –> Blend –> Make (Alt+Ctrl+B). With the blend still selected go to Object–> Blend–> Expand. Ungroup the lines by going to Object–> Ungroup (Shift+Ctrl+G).

 

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 14

Step 9.

Select the center line and the bottom line with the Selection Tool (V) and go to Object –> Blend –> Make (Alt+Ctrl+B). With the blend still selected go to Object–> Blend–> Expand. Ungroup the lines by going to Object–> Ungroup (Shift+Ctrl+G). Your image should now look like the image below.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 15

Step 10.

With the Selection Tool (V), select every second line and change the stroke color. (I used a color that is lighter than the background square fill color).

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 16

Step 11.

With the Selection Tool (V) select everything (including the invisible square created in step 2) and drag it to your swatches panel.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 17

Step 12.

You have now created another new swatch in your blog colors.

Step 13.

With all of your shapes still selected, create a new copy (or copies) Copy (Ctrl+C), Paste (Ctrl+V) of the design. Change the colors of the new copy (or copies) using the Eyedropper Tool (I) and repeat Step 11 to create a diagonal line pattern swatch for each of your blog colors.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 18

Bonus tip:

If you ever end up with a pattern that looks like the one below, make sure you are also selecting the invisible background square (created in step 2) when dragging the design to the swatches panel.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 19

 

Create a Chevron Pattern

Step 1.

Create a new layer and name it Chevron Pattern

Step 2.

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 50px X 10px rectangle and set the fill color to one of your blog colors. (I used the second darkest color from my orange palette.)

Step 3.

With your rectangles still selected, open the Rotate Tool (R) dialogue box by double clicking it. Rotate your Rectangle -25 degrees, And click OK.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 20

Step 4.

Go to Effect–> Transform –> Transform. . . . And input the options as shown in the image below (Note: use Copies 9 instead of Copies 10). With the rectangle still selected go to Object–> Expand Appearance. And then ungroup the shapes by going to Object–> Ungroup (Shift+Ctrl+G).

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 21

Step 5.

Use the Eyedropper Tool (I) and your color palettes to create a monochromatic design as shown in the image below. I used the second darkest color, down to the lightest color (in the middle of the image below) and back to the second darkest color. In order to create the repeating pattern properly, the last rectangle must be filled with the next color in the pattern (third orange from the top in my color palette), as shown in the image below.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 22

Step 6.

With the Rectangle Tool (M), drag out a rectangle large enough to cover the corners of your rectangle shapes, as shown in the first image below. Select all the shapes and use Trim in your Pathfinder Toolbox to create a straight edge. Ungroup (Shift+Ctrl+G) all the resulting shapes and delete the rectangle you just created. Your image should now look like the the third image below.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 23

Step 7.

Select all the shapes with your Selection Tool (V) and open the dialogue box on your Reflect tool (O) by double clicking it. Select Vertical and click Copy to create a mirror image of your shapes. Move the new shapes until they are lined up with the bottom corners overlapping, as shown below.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 25

Step 8.

Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a rectangle with a fill of none and line it up as shown in the image below. It must go from the tip of the top downward point to the tip of the bottom downward point that is the same color. Move your invisible rectangle to the back of the layer stack by going to Object–> Arrange–> Send to Back (Shift+Ctrl+[ ).

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 26

Step 9.

With the Selection Tool (V) select all the shapes (including the invisible rectangle created in Step 8) and drag it to your Swatches Panel.

Step 10.

You have now created another new pattern swatch in your blog colors.

Step 11.

With all of your shapes still selected, create a new copy (or copies) Copy (Ctrl+C), Paste (Ctrl+V) of the design. Change the colors of the new copy (or copies) using the Eyedropper Tool (I) and repeat Step 9 to create a chevron pattern swatch for each of your blog colors.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 27

To Save Your Patterns

Step 1.

Click the downward arrow in the right-hand corner of the Swatches Panel (by the red arrow in the image below) and then click Select all Used. Click and drag all the selected swatches down to the Trash Can Icon at the bottom of the Swatches Panel to quickly delete them all.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 28

Step 2.

Only your new pattern swatches and palette colors should be left in the Swatches Panel. Again click the downward arrow to bring up the fly-out-menu and select Save Swatch Library as AI . . . Enter a name that is meaningful to you as the File Name, and click Save.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 30

Step 3.

To find your swatches when working in a new document, click the downward arrow on the Swatches Panel to open the fly-out-menu, then select Open Swatch Library –> User Defined –> The name you chose in the Step 2.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 29

Your pattern swatches are now ready to be used in all your branding graphics.

Simple Pattern Tutorial Step 30

Do you think you are now able to take what you learned today and create your own simple seamless patterns? Are there other patterns you would like to learn how to make? Do I need to clarify any of the steps? Let me know in the comments.


How to Make Simple Seamless Patterns in Illustrator

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