The Different Types of Pattern Repeat Layouts

This tutorial is all about ‘The Different Types of Pattern Repeat Layouts’ and how you can use them to make your patterns and prints more dynamic. Learning these techniques will also give your graphic motifs a longer life, as they can be re-styled differently.

Let’s learn about the different types of pattern layouts (also referred to as repeats, yardages or patterns) we can create by using the pattern tile in varying formations….

PART #1: Different Layout Techniques for Your Pattern Repeat:



(also referred to as a standard repeat, formal repeat, regular repeat) This type of repeat occurs when the pattern tile is placed directly next to, above or below itself, like a basic grid.

Textile Design Basics Full Drop Repeat


(also referred to as a brick repeat, asymmetrical repeat) A more complex repeat that gives the effect of a brick-like grid. In one direction (either vertical or horizontal) the tiles are centered with each other and directly aligned, and on the other axis they are dropped by half their width/height to make a brick-like grid. This style of repeat needs to be created using a rectangle pattern tile in order to repeat seamlessly.

Textile Design Basics Half Drop Repeat


(also referred to as a multi-tile repeat, merged-tile repeat) When two pattern tiles are layered on top of each other to create a unique pattern. Eg: Elephant graphics may be ‘overlayed’ onto a spotty background.


(also referred to as a border print) This kind of pattern only repeats seamlessly in one direction, either horizontal or vertical.

PART #2: Different Layout Techniques for Your Motifs:

The other way we can create different types of patterns is to use a combination of both pattern tile layout and motif layout (graphics, elements, drawings) inside the pattern tile box.


All the graphics in the pattern are facing in one direction. EG: all the trees are facing right way up or downwards.


The graphics in the pattern are facing in two directions. EG: Some are facing up and some are facing down.


The graphics in the pattern are facing in all four directions. EG: Some graphics are facing up, down, right and left


The graphics are facing in multiple directions including diagonally. The expression ‘scattered’ refers to the look of the layout of graphics, it appears that they may have been scattered or tossed around to land randomly.


A pattern that has the appearance of lines moving in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal direction.


Trailing occurs if the graphics look like they are creating a clear trail throughout that pattern. EG: A floral pattern may have vines that are trailing throughout the design.


The term toile refers to a traditional style of story-telling pattern, however the type of layout can be replicated with any graphic style. Graphics are clustered together and each cluster tells part of the story. The clusters are then arranged into a half-drop style repeat.

…Now that you have the knowledge of the various layout techniques that can be used in Textile Design, you can begin playing with your graphics and tiles in many different ways. Learning about these textile design basics will give your graphics more longevity as you will be able to create many designs for a collection, from the same set of graphics.

SPECIAL TIP: Visit my Pinterest Board to Save the above tutorial infographic for future reference.

Stay Tuned on further tutorials coming up…

Creating Seamless Patterns in Adobe Illustrator andΒ  Creating Seamless Patterns in Adobe Photoshop.

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