The basics of brand patterns

Mar 29, 2022

Yellow wrapping paper with a white pattern on it, inside a gift box

A designer’s guide to using – and loving – patterns in your branding

Read time: Ten minutes (with an intermission for some brand pattern inspo)

 

Okay, I’ve got a quick quiz for you: Which of the following is a ‘brand element’ (aka something that’s used to complement and complete your brand design and presence)?

Your:

  1. Logo
  2. Typography
  3. Colour palette
  4. Imagery
  5. Pattern(s)
  6. All of the above

If you guessed anything other than “all of the above”, you get a participation trophy (and if you only picked “all of the above” because this is literally a blog on brand patterns, well, you get bonus points for being an extra clever cookie).

Because while most people can pick the logo, typography, colour palette and imagery as important brand elements, brand patterns are often – sadly – forgotten.

 

Surface pattern design for business branding showing pink, blue and yellow trees
pattern design for business branding
pattern design for business branding showing white fig leafs on a light peach background
Look at these cuties – how could anyone forget them?!

Why your brand should be backed up by patterns

The good news? With other brands playing it safe and sticking to just their logo and colour palette, this gives you an awesome opportunity to make your brand even more unique, special and captivating with a brand pattern(s)!

Here’s why I’m obsessed with brand patterns:

  • They give your brand instant personality across all platforms.
  • Brand patterns unlock fun design opportunities for you and your designer.
  • They make your brand and business SUPER recognisable (hello, powerful brand presence!)
  • Brand patterns can reinforce your brand foundations including messaging, values and personality.
  • They make it easier than ever to reinforce your brand consistency (which contributes to how easily your brand is recognized and remembered).
  • Brand patterns are GORGEOUS!

How to use brand patterns

One reason many businesses are understandably wary of incorporating patterns into their branding is because they don’t know how to apply them.

I’ll be honest: Playing with patterns can feel a little tricky at first. Which is why I recommend getting a professional brand and/or pattern designer to create and set up your patterns for you to begin with.

 But once your patterns have been created, it’s all about identifying the purpose of the brand element, content or collateral you’re playing with.

For example, you’ll want to think about:

  • What do I want my audience to focus on?
  • What is my message?
  • What is the outcome I want to achieve?
  • And does my pattern accentuate or detract from my goals?

Basically? You’ll want to make sure your design is still easy to read and understand.

stationery design for Real Food Families, showing a colourful brand pattern with fruit
stationery design for Real Food Families, showing a colourful brand pattern with fruit

Where to use brand patterns

Getting excited about the idea of elevating your branding with some beautiful patterns?

Here are some fun places to put your brand patterns:

  • The back of your business cards
  • Letterheads, envelopes and business stationery
  • Branded packaging including boxes, ribbons, stickers and wrapping
  • As backgrounds or design elements for your social media covers, posts, stories and reels
  • Promo images for your blog posts
  • Email newsletter templates
  • Custom-made stamps
  • As backgrounds and buttons on your website
  • Ebooks, eguides and digital marketing collateral (including downloadables and printables)
  • Physical environments (like walls, windows and trucks)

Show me the patterns, Kat!

Ready for the brand inspo intermission? Okay, it’s more like the brand inspo finale, but I recommend soaking up the brand pattern style below and then clicking back to remind yourself of the many places you could use and love your own brand patterns. Have fun!

Branded surface pattern designs used as gift wrap

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