Introduction to Technical Flats - Part 7 of 10
INTRODUCTION TO TECHNICAL FLATS
SECTION 7: PATTERNS
Need to catch up? Read Section 6: Symbols
Follow along with this step-by-step video!
You can easily make any object into a pattern. In this example let’s make a mesh pattern. Note that a shortcut is to select your object and drag it into the swatches panel for a quick pattern. This shortcut works well with images you are making into a pattern, like a glitter effect that you’ve taken from an image.
HOW TO: CREATE A PATTERN
Start by drawing the repeating part of the pattern. For this mesh we will draw a skinny, tall oval that is filled with grey and no outline.
Select your object and go to object>pattern>make.
A pop-up box will appear letting you know that your pattern is saved as a swatch in the swatch window. Hit OK. The next window is where you will edit your pattern. As a default your pattern will be tiled as a grid.
Use the box at the top of the menu to edit the tiling bounds (blue square) and space them as far as you’d like.
Now change the tile type to brick by column to offset your mesh pattern. Note there are other options for how your repeat is tiled.
At this point make any other changes needed. You can also edit your object in this window. Feel free to name your new pattern. Then, at the top menu choose what you’d like to do. For this example I’ll click done to save over the swatch that is automatically saved in the swatches panel.
Now you can fill any shape with your pattern by selecting it in the swatches panel.If you want to edit your pattern, double click on the swatch and it will return you to the pattern editing window you saw at the beginning.
To create a swatch library, add all of your swatches to one AI file. Delete any unwanted swatches from the swatches window. At the top right of the swatches window, click the menu button.
Then select “save swatch library as ASE” from the dropdown menu. You cannot save a pattern or gradient as an ASE file, so if you’d like to save a pattern or gradient choose “save swatch library as AI.”
Save the swatch library under Applications > Adobe Illustrator > Presets > en_US > Swatches. To test if your library is accessible, click on the library symbol at the bottom of the swatches window. In the dropdown menu choose the new library you created.