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Design a Spirit Day Seamless Pattern in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

This year, Spirit Day falls on 15 October. 

Millions go purple on Spirit Day in a stand against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. 
Observed annually since 2010, individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, and public figures wear purple, which symbolizes 'spirit' on the rainbow flag.

Follow along with this tutorial and create a vivid seamless pattern with fancy flat elements, symbolizing love and friendship and dedicated to GLAAD’s Spirit Day. We’ll be using basic shapes and warp effects, creating the objects and then combining them into an intricate texture, using the Pattern Tool and some other editing tools. Let’s get started!

1. Make a Coffee Cup

Step 1

To start with, let’s make a nice purple background for our future pattern. 

Create a New Document of 400 x 400 px size. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a rectangle of the same size as our Artboard (400 x 400 px), filling it with vivid purple color.

make a purple background

Step 2

Let’s start forming a plastic cup of coffee from a rectangle of 65 x 100 px.

make a rectangle for the cup base

Step 3

We need to make the bottom part of the cup narrower. Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select the lower left anchor point. Hit the Enter key to open the Move options window and set the Horizontal value to 5 px, Vertical value to 0 px. Click OK to move the point 5 px to the right.

Repeat the same for the bottom right anchor point, but this time set the Horizontal move value to -5 px, thus moving the point to the left.

use Move function to form the bottom of the cup

Step 4

Now let’s add a cap by forming an 80 x 15 px rectangle on top of the cup. And another rectangle above, of 70 x 10 px size. Select all three shapes and head to the Align panel. Select Align to Key Object and click Horizontal Align Center to align the shapes.

add a narrow rectangles for the cap

Step 5

Let’s add a paper stripe around the cup. Put a rectangle across the base of the cup. Keeping the shape selected, go to Effect > Warp > Arc and set the Horizontal Bend value to -10% by moving the slider to the right, making the shape slightly bent.

add arched paper stripe

Step 6

Object > Expand Appearance of the paper stripe to apply the Arc effect. Then select both the arched stripe and the cup base, take the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) and delete the unneeded pieces outside the cup by clicking them, while holding down the Alt key.

use shape builder tool to delete the pieces

Step 7

Let’s modify the base of the cup as well. Select it and apply the Arc effect with -5% Horizontal Bend value. Object > Expand Appearance of the cup.

apply arc effect to the cup base

Step 8

Great, now the bottom of the cup is slightly arched, but we need to make its top part straight again. Select the cup and take the Scissors Tool (C). Click the upper left and upper right anchor points of the cup base, cutting off the top line. Then just delete the unneeded line.

use scissors tool to cut off a line

Step 9

Let’s add a coffee-bean label to our cup. Start by making a 30 x 35 px ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (L). Then arm yourself with the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a wavy vertical line across the ellipse. Select both shapes and use the Divide function of the Pathfinder panel to split the ellipse apart. Finally, select the right part of the shape and move it a few pixels to the right, using the right arrow key of your keyboard.

form a coffee bean

Step 10

Finish up with the cup by placing the coffee bean in the center of the paper stripe for the logotype.

Great! Let’s move to the next element of our future pattern.

place the coffee label on the cup

2. Create a Love Letter Envelope

Step 1

Start forming the envelope by making an 80 x 55 px rectangle and creating a copy on top of it (Control-C > Control-F)

Select the top copy and go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points to create additional anchor points on each side of the rectangle.

for the envelope base from a rectangle

Step 2

Take the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and delete the bottom left and bottom right anchor points, leaving the one in the center, thus forming an upside down triangle. Select the bottom anchor point of the triangle with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and drag the point up, squashing the shape.

form an upside down triangle

Step 3

Let’s form a heart-shaped seal for our envelope. 

Make circle of about a 20 x 20 px size, using the Ellipse Tool (L) and holding down the Shift key. Select the bottom anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and Convert it to corner with the help of the Convert function in the top control panel, making the bottom of the shape pointed.

Now select the upper anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A). Switch to the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and drag the anchor handles up, creating a V-like shape. Drag the top anchor point down, squashing the shape and thus forming a stylized heart. 

make a heart from a circle

Step 4

Seal our love letter by placing the heart stamp in the center of the envelope.

place the heart stamp in the center of the envelope

Step 5

Use the same heart shape to make additional elements, which will later help us to fill the blank spaces of our pattern. The winged heart is a simple combination of the created shape and a group of rounded rectangles, made with the Rounded Rectangle Tool (it is located in the same drop-down menu as the Rectangle Tool (M) in the Tools panel).

make additional heart elements

3. Make a Yummy Apple

Step 1

Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and start forming the apple from a 75 x 75 px circle. Select the upper anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and drag it down, making the top of the shape flatter. 

form the apple from a circle

Step 2

Use the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) to position the handles of the top anchor point, dragging them up. And do the same for the handles of the lower anchor point, dragging them down, making them look like an upside-down letter V.

Finally, select both side anchor points and move them up a little, using the up arrow key, thus making the bottom part of the apply narrower.

If you want to make sure that you move the anchor handles symmetrically, use the Guides, which will help you to align the tips of the handles. Turn on the Rulers (Control-R) and simply drag the Guides down to your Artboard from the upper ruler. Then you can easily remove the unneeded guide if you select and delete it, or clear the guides in View > Guides > Clear Guides.

edit the anchor handles of the apple shape

Step 3

Now let’s form the leaf from a small, even circle. Select the top and bottom anchor points of the circle and Convert them to corners with the help of the Convert function in the top control panel. Squash the shape, making it thinner, and rotate the leaf, placing it above the left half of the apple.

Add a stylized dimple to the apple by making an arched line with the Pencil Tool (N).

make a leaf from a circle

Step 4

Finally, add a stem to our apple. 

Form a small vertical stripe with the Rectangle Tool (M) and make its bottom part narrower by moving the bottom anchor points closer to the center of the shape with the help of the arrow keys.

Attach the stem to the apple and get ready for the next element of our pattern!

make a stem from rectangle

4. Form a Shiny Diamond

Step 1

Make a 75 x 18 px rectangle. Duplicate the shape (Control-C > Control-F), grab the upper edge of the rectangle with the Selection Tool (V) by clicking and holding, and drag it down, forming a bigger rectangle beneath the first one.

start forming a diamond from rectangles

Step 2

Keeping the bigger shape selected, go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Select the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and delete the lower left and lower right anchor points, forming an upside-down triangle.

turn the lower rectangle into the triangle

Step 3

Now let’s modify the upper part of the diamond. Select the top left anchor point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and press Enter to open the Move menu. Move the point 10 px to the right by setting the Horizontal value to 10 px and Vertical value to 0 px. Do the same for the top right anchor point, moving it in the opposite direction by setting the Horizontal value to -10 px.

move the upper anchor points closer to each other

Step 4

Now let’s depict the facets of the diamond. Take the Pen Tool (P) and make a short line, parallel to the left side of the top shape. Continue the line, attaching it to the bottom point of the diamond. 

Press P again to start a new line and draw a straight vertical line in the middle of the diamond, holding down the Shift key.

Finally, select the first facet line and double-click the Reflect Tool (O). In the Reflect options menu, select the Vertical Axis and click Copy to make a mirrored copy of the line. Place the copy at the right part of the diamond, making a symmetrical shape.

add lines with pen tool for the facets

Step 5

Let’s make our diamond shine! Draw three vertical lines on top of the diamond and Group (Control-G) them. Align the lines to the diamond horizontally, using the Align panel.

Select the lines, take the Rotate Tool (R), hold down Alt and click in the center of the diamond to place a pivot point. Release the mouse key to open the Rotate menu. From here, set the Angle to 360/30. This way Adobe Illustrator will automatically calculate the needed angle value for 30 copies, so no need to set the angle by guesswork. Click the Copy button to make a rotated copy.

And, finally, press Control-D multiple times to create all 30 copies, depicting a stylized shiny effect.

Great work! Let’s move on.

add shine to the diamond

5. Draw a Vintage Key

Step 1

Let’s start forming the key from its top decorative part. Make a circle of 30 x 30 px and place a smaller one inside, creating a ring. Select both shapes and use the Minus Front function of Pathfinder to cut out the inner circle, making a hole in the ring. You won’t notice any difference right now, but you will see the result of this operation a few steps later, when we’ll be coloring our objects.

Make two more copies of the ring and combine them into an intricate composition, placing one circle on top of two others and making them overlap.

create the top of the key from circles

Step 2

Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to make a long, narrow shaft for the key. Add two smaller rounded rectangles at the bottom of the shaft, placing them horizontally. Then select all the rounded rectangles and Unite them in Pathfinder, merging them into a single shape.

And that’s all for the key! Let’s make the next item!

add a key shaft

6. Create a Music Note

Step 1

Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and start forming the note from a 30 x 10 px rectangle for its top horizontal part, which is called "the beam".

Make a thin vertical stripe for the stem of the note. Select both shapes and click the beam while holding down Alt to make it a Key Object. Head to the Align panel and align the stem to the left side of the beam.

Add another stem in the right side of the note, aligning it to the right side of the beam.

Finally, attach two 15 x 15 px circles to the bottom of the stems, forming the so-called “heads” of the note.

form the note from rectangles and ellipses

Step 2

Let’s skew our note a little. Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select the whole right side of the note by clicking and dragging the selection frame above the needed part of the object. 

Hold down the left mouse key and move the selected part of the note up, making the shape skewed. 

Awesome! Let’s continue and color our objects!

make the note skewed

7. Apply Bright Colors to the Created Items

Step 1

We’ll be using a limited range of colors for our palette, consisting only of purple and yellow colors and their lighter and darker shades.

Apply the colors to the cup, and let’s make it a bit more detailed. Select the base of the cup and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Set the Offset to -5 px, creating an additional shape inside the cup. Fill it with lighter yellow color, adding dimension to our flat cup.

color the cup and add details with offset path

Step 2

Now let’s color the envelope, using the same technique to make it more detailed. Use the Offset Path function to make additional shapes inside the rectangle base and inside the heart stamp.

As for the top triangle part of the envelope, duplicate it (Control-C > Control-F) and move the copy up a bit. Then select both triangles and use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M), holding down Alt to delete the unwanted piece outside the envelope. 

color the envelope and add details

Step 3

Let’s move to our diamond and make the facet lines a bit thicker, setting the Stroke weight to 4 pt in the top control panel. Object > Expand Appearance to turn the lines into objects. Color the base of the diamond with yellow shades and apply a very dark-brown color to the facet lines. Set the Blending Mode to Screen, thus making the facet lines semi-transparent.

color the diamond

Step 4

Color other items of our set, using the Offset Path function and adding minor details, such as tiny circle highlights, making the elements look fancy.

color all the elements

8. Render a Fancy Seamless Pattern

Step 1

Now that all the items are ready, let’s combine them into an intricate seamless texture!

Let’s hide the Artboard for a while in View > Hide Artboards (Control-H), so that nothing distracts us from our pattern. Select all the elements and go to Object > Pattern > Make.

go to Object  Pattern  Make

Step 2

Now that you’ve entered pattern creation mode, head to the Pattern Options window and set the Width and Height of the Tile to 400 x 400 px (which is equal to the size of our Artboard). Leave all other options as default (make sure that the Tile Type is set to Grid).

Start placing the objects inside the Tile Edge, rotating them and combining them into a nice balanced composition with no gaps or blank spaces.

use pattern tool to combine the elements

Step 3

Set the Copies value to 7 x 7 in the Pattern Options menu and zoom out to have an overall look at your pattern. The dimmed copies around the Tile edges will help you to find the empty spots and minor flaws, as you move the objects around. Those copies will move together with your real elements, showing a live preview.

use dimmed copies to edit your pattern

Step 4

Finally, when you’re happy with the composition, return to normal mode by double-clicking anywhere outside the Tile Edge. Now you can find the pattern you created in the Swatches panel. Let’s apply it to a shape!

Switch the Artboard back again in View > Show Artboards (Control-H). Select the purple background rectangle that we made in our very first step, and resize it to 800 x 600 px in the control panel on top. Create a copy on top (Control-C > Control-F) and apply our seamless pattern by selecting it from the Swatches panel.

apply the created pattern

Step 5

Let’s make some final adjustments!

Firstly, we’ll make the scale of the elements a bit smaller. Keeping the pattern shape selected, double-click the Scale Tool (S) to open the Scale options window. Set the Uniform value to 75% and uncheck all the boxes, except for the Transform Patterns checkbox. Click OK to apply the changes.

use the scale tool

Step 6

Now double-click the Rotate Tool (R) and from here, set the Angle to 20 degrees. Check only the Transform Patterns box and click OK.

use the rotate tool

Go Purple for Spirit Day!

Great job! Our intricate seamless pattern for Spirit Day is ready! I hope you’ve enjoyed following this tutorial and learned some new tips and tricks about forming the objects from basic shapes and combining them into a texture.

Have fun, be creative, and don’t forget to check out some other tutorials dedicated to Spirit Day:

spirit day purple seamless pattern
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