Understanding Texture in Pattern Design

Texture is something I love and envy in other people’s work. I decided it was time to look more closely at what it is about texture in design that is so appealing. Why are certain designs more pleasing than others? How are designers using texture? What are the effects of using multiple textures and layers? This is a look at how surface pattern designers are using texture in their work.

WeaveUp, is a market place for textile designers to sell their work. They have a lot of great textured designs, so I decided started my search there. A quick glance at their homepage shows an abundance of textured designs. I collected a few of my favorites here to evaluate further.


Diamond Lines


The movement in the lines of this pattern really draw me in. There is a lovely variation of thin and dark lines next to wider, two tone colored strokes. The lines have the appearance of ink and watercolor brush strokes. It’s geometric in nature, which is a nice contrast to the sketchy, hand drawn look of the lines.

Diamond Lines by lordchard

Batik Vibration


Large vertical stripes, shifted, and divided by short horizontal marks are the highlight of this design. There is high contrast between the light, middle and dark tones. Each color has bits of the others mixed in, dark blues behind the white, middle and dark blues overlap. There is plenty of noise within the darkest tones, which creates a nice texture. The design has a wonderful, naturally aged, and weathered looked.

Batik Vibrations by BBKolanz

Linen Color Blue Fabric


I love how this design has the appearanceof textile fragments. Little pieces laid out next to each other in a delightful mosaic.The fragments come together in loosely formed rectangles, and there is a nice vertical movement to the design.

I can see three different layers of texture – the cracks between the fragments, the woven lines on top of the fragments, and the varying opacity and hues of the colors. There’s so much to love about this pattern.

Linen Color Blue Fabric by KSergeArt

Shaking Chevron 2

Cassie Gorvetzian

This broken chevron uses a great brick texture over the whole design. I like how the texture’s color shifts depending on the  background color image. My guess is that a blending mode was used to create that affect. The shapes making up the chevron have the imperfection of shapes cut out of paper, giving the design a collage-like appearance.

Shaking Chevron 2 by Cassie Gorvetzian

Kona Path


Here we have texture contained within a shape. The outline of the rectangular shapes has it’s own thicker, uneven lines. These lines merge with the thinner scratch marks within. The background remains a solid color, creating a nice contrast between the flat dark hues and the light textured lines.

Kona Path Fabric by lorchard

Leafy Valley

Cassie Gorvetzian

The strong weave texture of this pattern brings it to the next level. The texture is the lightest color in the design, which brightens the overall appearance. The tan background combined with the woven texture and branch motif have vintage appeal, while the unique color combination keeps it modern.

Leaf Valley 2 by Cassie Gorvetzian

Distressed Dots Fabric

by ChristinaD

Layer, layers, layers. I imagine this being printed with paint covered bubble wrap. It reminds me of graffiti and crumbling city walls. I love this middle layer of dots covered by large splotches of paint, as if I’m seeing something that’s meant to be covered. The neutral tones are very pleasing with  flecks of dark grey. 


Distressed Dots by ChristinaD

Stormy Lines Fabric


The designer of this horizontal striped pattern mixes it up by giving the stripes the wavy, uneven appearance of ripped paper. The texture used within the lines also mimics paper with the splotchy texture of watercolor. The background, as well as each individual line has this effect applied to it.

Stormy Lines Fabric by monicaguerrero 

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