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Pattern - a Principle of Design


The repetition of any thing - shapes, lines or colors - also called a motif, in a design; as such it is one of the principles of design.

Delahunt, Michael R. "Pattern." ArtLex Art Dictionary. 26 March 2011. <>.

Pattern can be the unifying force of a composition. The repetition of shapes, colors, lines or other elements can create interest, add movement or rhythm to an art work or provide contrast.

quilt 1quilt 2

'Corn and Beans' pattern quilt; c. 1900; quiltmaker unknown; displayed in Charles Hotel, Cambridge, MA.   Pieties Quilt; c. 1848; Austerlitz, New York possibly; American Folk Art Museum, New York City.

The quilts above show contrast and rhythm by creating pattern through the repetition of shapes.

gustav klimt
Gustav Klimt; Frauenbildnis (Portrait of Ria Munk III); 1917-1918; oil and charcoal on canvas; 180.7 x 89.9 cm.

In the painting above, Gustav Klimt has created pattern with colors and shapes. The pattern creates interest and focuses the viewer's attention to the figure in the middle.

The artworks above are in the public domain.

Web sites about artists who use pattern in their work: