Surface Pattern Design is huge right now for brands, makers, manufactures and creatives. Here are the basics of what Surface Pattern Designs are and who creates them.

Whether we realise it or not, patterns are everywhere.

Just stop for a moment and consider the number of objects you have passed or interacted with today that were patterned; your duvet cover, the mug at breakfast, the shirt you’re wearing today and the lunch boxes and drink bottles you filled for your brood as you ushered them out the door. 

And that’s just the start of the day. 

These are surface pattern designs.

Surface pattern design is old…really old. It encompasses even the first forms of decoration we can see in pottery and other artefacts from ancient civilizations. In many cases the reason for decorating these items was to bring pleasure to the person using it. We are hardwired to seek and create beauty in the world.

I really like that, don’t you?

The decoration of surfaces has continued.

Let’s also note that surface design plays a huge role in our creative expression as designers, makers and manufacturers and of course, the people who buy the finished product. We all make purchase decisions based on the surface design of items.

Pattern design benefits so many industries including home décor, kitchenware, fashion, home textiles, greeting cards, stationery, accessories and party goods. That’s a lot! And it’s not going away anytime soon. 

Patterns are a part of our everyday life. Just imagine how different our world would be without pattern. No thanks.


So who makes all of these lovely designs? 

We don’t often stop to think about where all these patterns and designs come from when making our next purchase decision. 

Most have been designed by a Surface Pattern Designer in collaboration or consultation with a product manufacturer or developer. 

The Pricing and Ethical Guidelines Handbook, published by the Graphic Artist’s Guild defines a Surface Pattern Designers as an artist who creates, “two dimensional designs that are manufactured onto surfaces via printing or for decorative knitted and woven textile products.”

Artists can come into this field through varied paths. They may be tertiary educated designers, artists and graphic designers, illustrators or self-taught artists and creatives. With the advancement in digital technologies (online learning, remote working, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and digital, on-demand printing) it has never been easier for an artist to design, create and apply patterns to products.

Many Surface Pattern Designers choose to work independently and sell products directly to customers. Others work in-house with design teams for companies, while some freelance and licence or sell their designs to companies, businesses and brands across many industries.


Why I chose Surface Pattern Design.

I like to define Surface Pattern Designer as artists who create designs to decorate and enhance the surfaces of everyday things, to bring joy to the person using or observing the item. 

I love the idea that the functional can also be beautiful, and it is the reason I have pursued surface pattern design as a career. Creating patterns was something I did even as a child – little did I know back then it was a career choice!


Who am I?

My name is Shelley and I am the creative behind Motif Manor. I am a tea drinking, colour loving, Surface Pattern Designer based in Perth, Western Australia. 

I had a ‘proper job’, as they say, as a primary school teacher. It was a rewarding job, though it required more of me than I had to give once I had my own children. A period of research, learning and designing has found me on a creative path as a Surface Pattern Designer.

My mission is to create beautiful, intricate and calming patterns and designs for home décor, kitchenware and stationery companies, which inspire mindfulness and appreciation of everyday things and moments. 

I create patterns inspired by classic pattern styles, cultures from around the globe and our wonderful natural world.

First becoming aware of Surface Pattern Design opened my eyes to the huge role pattern plays in our everyday lives and how important it is in purchase decisions. We are surrounded by art! What a lovely revelation.


What’s next?

Thanks so much for taking the time to learn about surface pattern design and the creatives behind all of those lovely patterns we so often take for granted. Got questions? Send me an email at and I’d be happy to help.

In my next blog post I’ll be discussing the main types of surface pattern designs and their uses to help you really understand what you need for your next product. Spoiler alert – it may not be a pattern at all!

Are you ready to talk to a designer about your next product?

Get your idea out of you head and into a 'Designer Ready Vision' to share with your Surface Pattern Designer and your team!

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