Have you ever thought about the patterns you buy, and the reasons you are drawn to them?
I have, because I am a bit obsessed with patterns. There is something magical about them. They have power. The power to make you want to buy something with a pattern you love, and the capacity to tell something about you.
Patterns are everywhere in the world around us. When I buy a product, whether it is clothing for myself, or for my children, the first thing that draws me in is color and pattern. When I am shopping in the t-shirt section at Target (which happens quite regularly), I narrow down the style of shirt, then look at the selection of colors and patterns. If there is a unique pattern in the mix of shirts on the display shelves, I always select it to try on.
After I am done perusing the ladies Target t-shirts, you can usually find me in the toddler girl clothing area, where I again do the same thing - except I don't try it on - that would be a little bit awkward.
I recently bought my preschooler this backpack and lunchbox set from another one of my all time favorite stores, Potterybarn Kids. The preschool teacher mentioned to me that she loved the uniqueness of the set and how it stood out from all the other bags and lunch boxes at the school. The backpack and lunchbox themselves are functional and well made, but the pattern is what makes it stunning.
When I create a pattern collection, I start with a story I want to tell. It is usually a personal one from a family memory, or an adventure we went on together. Sometimes I create patterns for brands, and have the honor of getting to know their story, and telling it in a beautifully visual way. To me, when I design for a brand, it is like finding a new book to read, picking out the soul-reaching parts of their story, and bringing them to life. Seeing the little details of a brand and what they stand for, and weaving those details into a visual pattern, is like going on a new adventure. But, not all patterns for brands are branded. Sometimes the pattern needs to reach a specific customer. That is where your design style should match the brands you want to work for.
Patterns can be found on everything from clothing, to bedding, ceramics, and even the pavers that make up my driveway. Patterns bring interest and color to products, giving life to the them with a story woven into the print. This is what appeals to each of us individually. It is the details of the patterns we love that resonates with our individual style, drawing us in and reflecting something about us.
Patterns are a connection. A story, with hidden meaning. They are whimsical beauty, and full of wonder.
5 reasons why patterns help sell products
1 | Patterns reflect a trend
Have you noticed how fashion trends go through cycles? I am not a fashion trend analyst, but I can see when things become popular again, just like you can. Certain colors, clothing styles, and patterns from different eras go in and out of fashion all the time. Themes also become popular. Recent themes, as of writing this post, have been woodland, foxes, mermaids, and bright colorful florals.
When a pattern reflects a current trend in the market, you have a win -win situation for the brand and marketplace. When a particular style or theme is trending, customers see it everywhere and begin to adopt interest in that look. If your pattern shares that theme, it makes the product even more appealing to your ideal product buyer.
2 | A pattern says something about the customer
Just as trends can reflect the style of a certain era, patterns emulate your customer’s individuality by connecting with something they love, cherish, or believe in. If your customer loves puppy dogs, and that theme is trending in children’s clothing, your customer will likely find meaning in the pattern, because it reflects something about them or their child.
3 | The pattern tells a story
Not all patterns tell a story, but some do. Some have a deeper meaning to them. Most of my surface pattern designs are inspired by my life. But, when a brand wants to connect to their customer and tell their brand story, the pattern should reflect the brand and how they want to connect with their customer. So, just like a logo, a custom pattern design can be part of a brand’s distinction.
I created this custom pattern design, for my client Green & Lyme, for their Essential Planner dividers. We went through a detailed design brief to narrow in on their brand look and ideal customer’s style, and incorporated those details into the finished pattern design.
4 | A single pattern can be used on multiple products
A surface pattern design encompasses all surface mediums. So, seamless repeating patterns have huge versatility for a large range of products such as, fabric, home decor, party supplies, ceramics, stationery, and crafts, to name a few. Patterns can also be used in brand design. This multiple use ability makes repeating patterns ideal, because they can be used in many industries and on a diverse list of product types.
5 | A pattern brings together color and design on products
Products are designed to meet a need in the market. For instance, I needed a school backpack for my child, but did not want one in plain white (though some people do love solid colors, and that is great too - it all depends on the person). I wanted a backpack with both color and pattern. When most people shop, they are looking for the product they need, and a color and pattern they like.
When you think of the brand Vera Bradley, what comes to mind? For me, and decidedly for most people, it is the beautiful patterns on their bags. It is such a part of their brand and they are known for their dreamy patterns. The brand even retires their patterns to give each it’s time to shine. This is an example of how patterns can define a brand, and help them sell by bringing color and design to products.
What types of patterns and design do you look for while shopping? What are your favorite trends in the market? Can you think of any other ways patterns make products sell? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!