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How to generate Surface Pattern Design ideas

Is your head swimming with so many surface pattern design ideas you just don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you want to start creating but you can’t think of an idea? Let’s have a look at some ways to quickly start creating your beautiful designs.


Brainstorming is a great place to start. When I’m really stuck and can’t get started, I give myself 10 minutes to come up with as many different ideas as I possibly can. You will surprise yourself at how many you will be able to think of. The trick is to write every idea that comes to mind, as quickly as possible without over thinking it. Of course, there are many ideas that you may discard but you are guaranteed to find some that you can work with. It’s important to remember that no idea is too crazy and the more ideas the better! If you are working within a team or you’re lucky enough to have a friend that is willing to brainstorm your ideas with you, you will be able to generate even more ideas. Two heads are better than one! Keep in mind if you are brainstorming as a team then you should have a rule of no criticism so everybody feels free to be crazy and out there with their ideas. You can brainstorm any way you like, formally such as a mind map or informally such as writing words on a scrap piece of paper.


Mind maps are an organised, visual method of generating ideas. You create a central idea which is your starting point and then have branches of keywords from that central idea. Those keywords can be further developed by adding new branches. You can also colour code each branch of your mind map or add images. Mind mapping works well if you have a central theme you’d like to work with. It allows you to narrow your focus and be more specific.


Looking at the world around you can be a really productive way of finding inspiration. That can be literal in the sense of just getting out of the house and experiencing the world. This could be simply taking a walk around your neighbourhood and looking at all the fine details around you. If you have time, you could visit a gallery or exhibition or even your local library. You could also find inspiration by looking outside of the design area you are working in. For example, if you trying to find an idea for a surface pattern design, you could research unrelated topics to spur your ideas.

Magazine inspiration to generate surface pattern designs


Sketching or doodling allows you to quickly get ideas down on paper. It’s a visual form of brainstorming so you can employ the same techniques. Get your favourite pencil or Artline pen and give yourself 10 minutes to generate as many ideas as you can. Once again, don’t be judgemental or self-conscious. Let the ideas flow.

Sketch book and pen to generate surface pattern ideas


If you are still feeling stuck, sometimes a simple break can make all the difference. Give yourself a bit of time to think about other things. This could be an hour or even a couple of days. Often when you return, you’ll find the ideas flowing.


Once you have generated lots of different ideas, it’s time to choose one and start developing it. Stay focused on your idea at this stage so you develop some stunning surface pattern designs!


How to generate Surface Pattern Design ideas

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