Tutorial on how to create a pattern in Adobe Illustrator

A while ago we wrote a basic tutorial on how to create some artwork for your EP or album in Photoshop. Throughout the years we’ve been getting multiple questions on how to make patterns (for example for your CD inlay).

In this tutorial we’ll explain how to create a simple pattern in Adobe Illustrator, step by step.





1. CREATE A SQUARE AND SHAPE

Start by creating a square. You decide the size, depending on how you want the pattern to be. In this example we’re making a square of 50x50mm. (Don’t worry though, you can always resize the whole square and create a new swatch)

Adobe Illustrator Pattern Tutorial 1

And this is what it looks like:

Adobe Illustrator Pattern Tutorial

Now, design a shape/ object you want to repeat in your pattern. Obviously we will use the BEATFLAKES “Flake”, which looks like this:

pattern_tutorial_step3



2. CREATE A COMPOSITION

Start out aligning your shape in the middle of the square.

1. Simply select both items (square + your shape)
2. Open the Align window (SHIFT + F7 on mac)
3. Make sure “Align to Selection” is checked on.

Adobe Illustrator Pattern Tutorial

4. Now click on “Horizontal Align Center” and “Vertical Align Center” to make sure it’s centered.

pattern_tutorial_step5

5. Copy your shape 4 more times and snap them in the corners of the square. Make sure your “Smart Guides” and “Snap to Point” are both checked on. You can check this under the “VIEW” menu. If done well, you will see the green lines and text saying “Intersect”:

pattern_tutorial_step6

6. Repeat the step for all corners.

pattern_tutorial_step7


3. CUTTING THINGS OFF

It starts to look cool right? Time to cut off everything we don’t need.

1. Select the artwork (the square + 5 shapes)
2. Open the Pathfinder window (Shift + CMD + F9)
3. Click on Divide

Adobe Illustrator Pattern Tutorial

4. Press “A” to select the white arrow (Direct Selection Tool)
5. Now select and delete everything outside the square.

pattern_tutorial_step9

It should now look like this:

pattern_tutorial_step10


4. CREATING A SWATCH

Again, select the full artwork and DRAG it in to your pannel of SWATCHES (Window -> Swatches).
You will see a little “+” icon and when dropped, your pattern will show up in the pannel.

Adobe Illustrator Pattern Tutorial





5. TIME TO USE YOUR PATTERN!

Now it’s time to use your first pattern!
Start by creating a new square. Again, this can be as large as you want it to be.

pattern_tutorial_step12

Now, select the square, click on the SWATCH you just made and voila, you’re finished!
It will look something like this:

pattern_tutorial_step13

If you want you can just copy this square/ rectangle and paste it in to, for example, Photoshop.

Enjoy!