The different kinds of Patterns

Let me show you the most common kinds of patterns out there. We can group them by various aspects, I chose three different approaches: Patterns by types of composition, by style and by complexity.

most common types of pattern compositions

These are just a few, more common pattern composition, ways to make a repeat:


This is a simple way of making a repeat, the grid or full drop. It's basically repeating the group of motifs both vertically and horizontally in the form of a grid.  The repeat is easier to be found this way. It can have a squared or a rectangular shape.

half drop + brick

The half drop repeat is another common way to make patterns. It consists in working in columns: one "fixed", the next shifted one half vertically, the next "fixed", and so on. This too can be squared or a rectangular.

The brick repeat is the same as the half drop repeat, only that the shift is made horizontally, so you don't work in columns but in rows. It looks like a brick wall and that's where it became its name. This too can be squared or a rectangular.

diamond + ogee + scale

The diamond repeat is where the motif or motifs group is repeated in a diagonal way, creating a diamond shape.

The ogee repeat is basically a diamond repeat with rounded side edges and pointy top and bottom.

The scale repeat is a half drop but with an oval or circle shape instead of a square or rectangle. It looks like fish scales, therefor the name.

tossed + NON/one/two-directional

(from left to right, top to bottom) 

The tossed pattern is where the motifs are thrown randomly in any direction. The non-directional pattern, like its name, says, has no particular direction in their motifs and can be used, as well as the tossed pattern, in any way. On the contrary, the one-directional pattern can be only used in one way, these are mostly scene-patterns or motifs that wouldn't look good looking upside down. Following that logic, the two-directional pattern can be used in two ways, as you can see in the pictures above.


Borders are usually an element repeated most commonly only horizontally but depending on the final use, it can also be only vertically.

pattern style categories

Another way to categorize the different kinds of patterns is by style: we can name four big pattern style categories, with many subcategories each (I'll name just a few):

Florals (e.g.: arborescent, botanicals, ditsies, trailing florals and vines, etc)

Geometrics (e.g.: abstract, chevron + herringbone, circles + polka dots + confetti, houndstooth, optical, plaid + checks, stripes, texture, etc.)

Conversational (animals, birds + feathers, jungle + tropical, people, buildings, holidays, nautical, scenes + toiles, etc.)

Ethnic (african, chinoiserie, folk, paisley, arabesque, damask, etc.)

pattern depth levels


two levels

three levels

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Write a comment

Comments: 6
  • #1

    Rumana (Monday, 16 November 2020 18:09)

    So informative.....!!!!! I used many of them for my pattern designing but really didn't know the terminology till date...thanks to improve my knowledge.

  • #2

    Lucia from DEINKI (Tuesday, 17 November 2020 09:41)

    Thank you so much Rumana, I'm glad it's helpful!!!

  • #3

    Kate (Saturday, 05 December 2020 11:29)

    Such useful visuals. Thanks and keep the blog posts coming!

  • #4

    Lucia from DEINKI (Saturday, 05 December 2020 17:32)

    Hi Kate, thank you for your comment, I'm so happy you found this helpful!!

  • #5

    Sophie (Monday, 31 July 2023 14:20)

    Very helpful article, especially to learn all the terminology in English! Thank you for putting them all together like this :)

  • #6

    Lucia from DEINKI Studio (Monday, 07 August 2023 12:01)

    Thank you Sophie for your comment, I'm happy it helps!