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Stuck for Pattern Inspiration? Look outside the box!

I’ve just come back from 5 days away down the coast. Even though the weather wasn’t great, it was lovely to spend time with my family and take stock.

This year has been particularly tough, I’ve had lots of personal challenges and it was the first time I’ve had a chance in months to sit and reflect. It’s amazing how just the simple notion of stopping opens your mind and your eyes. I started discovering new things and noticing all the little things around me. I was inspired to draw and explore. It got me thinking about finding inspiration. We are often so single-minded in our vision that we fail to see the obvious.  Looking with fresh eyes and with an open mind will allow you to find new inspiration. 

Stuck for pattern inspiration? Look outside the box!

1. Change Perspective

Tips for finding design inspiration


We are so used to rushing around and only looking at things that are straight in front of us that we often forget to look around. Do you remember lying on the grass as a kid and looking up at the clouds in the sky and creating little stories from what you saw? I definitely did. We just don’t often allow ourselves the time to do things like that anymore or maybe we even feel silly doing it.

Take the time to look at things in a different way that you normally do. Take a photo of something sideways or upside down and see what shapes or patterns you can find. You’ll discover things that you never noticed before. 

2. Shadows

Tips for finding design inspiration

Shadows can form such beautiful patterns. Looking at shadows is a bit like looking at positive and negative space. It also gives a different perspective of an object seeing it as a silhouette. The wonderful thing is that shadows are always changing and evolving depending on the time of day. 

On a sunny day, it’s a really interesting experiment to take photos of the same object at different times so you can see how the shadows change. What patterns can you see? How do those patterns change?

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3. Zoom in/Zoom out

Tips for finding design inspiration

Try looking at objects from a different distance. Probably the easiest way to do this is by taking a photo and zooming in or taking a photo from a large distance away. If you have a real camera on hand, you can try the macro setting. Think about a leaf and all the wonderful patterns you may find if you were to really zoom in and look at all the veins and imperfections or bark on a tree.

4. Nature

Tips for finding design inspiration

Nature is probably my most favourite source of inspiration. I have a love of organic shapes and textures so it’s easy for me to feel inspired by natural objects. The wonderful thing about nature is that it’s ever changing so there is always something new to see and discover. 

Think about the wonderful patterns that can found on a vine on a wall or flowers that have fallen from a tree and have started to brown.

5. Architecture

Tips for finding design inspiration

Buildings can be a great way of finding inspiration. When I’m in the city I love seeing the contrast of old versus new buildings, organic versus geometric shapes as well as matte versus shiny surfaces. Look for patterns the windows form and the decorative doorways. Observe the cityscape from a distance and see the shapes the buildings form. And don’t forget to look up.

So, if you’re feeling stuck and unmotivated try looking at things in a different way. There really is pattern inspiration all around us, you just have to look!

Stuck for Pattern Inspiration? Look outside the box!

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