In the following tutorial, you will learn how to draw geometric patterns in Illustrator. We'll use four designs to exemplify most of the techniques that can be used when creating geometric patterns.
But what is a geometric pattern? It's a repeating arrangement of shapes, lines, or colors that follow mathematical principles and symmetry. These patterns can be found in various forms of art, design, architecture, and nature.
Geometric patterns are often created using basic shapes such as circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles, and they can be combined and manipulated to produce intricate and visually appealing geometric patterns.
What You'll Learn in This Illustrator Tutorial
- How to draw geometric patterns
- How to create a vector geometric pattern
- How to save simple geometric patterns
- How to use and adjust geometric patterns
1. How to Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid
Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, set the Width and the Height to 850 px, and then click that Advanced Options button. Select RGB for the Color Mode and set the Raster Effects to Screen (72 ppi), and then click the Create button.
Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid or Control-") and Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid or Shift-Control-"). You will need a grid every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, and enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut.
You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Don't forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units. All these options will significantly increase your work speed. Now that you're set, let's learn how to draw geometric patterns in Illustrator.
2. How to Create a Colorful Geometric Pattern
Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) from your toolbar and then focus on the color settings. Select the stroke and remove the color, and then double-click the fill and replace the existing color with R=37 G=198 B=218.
Move to your artboard and simply create a 50 px square—the grid and Snap to Grid should make things easier. Keep in mind that you can check the Info panel to see exactly when you get the desired dimensions.
Focus on the top edge of your square, switch to the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-), and then simply click the right anchor point to remove it. This will turn your square into a triangle.
Pick the Arc Tool from your toolbar (go to Window > Toolbars > Advanced if you can't find it) and click on your artboard to open the Arc Segment Tool Options window.
Make it a Closed arc, set the size to 25 px, and click OK to create a perfect quarter circle. Fill it with R=252 G=207 B=61 and align it with your triangle, as shown in the following image.
Using the same tool, add a 50 px quarter of a circle, fill it with R=255 G=55 B=71, and place it as shown in the first image.
Add another 25 px quarter circle fill it with R=102 G=28 B=222 and place it as shown in the second image.
Using the Selection Tool (V), select the two shapes made in the previous step, hold down the Alt key, and simply click and drag your selections to duplicate them.
Place and rotate these copies as shown in the first two images, and then just click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder).
Before we continue, let's save the colors that we used so far as you'll need them again for the other geometric patterns we'll create.
Simply select all your shapes and click the New Color Group button from the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches). Make sure that the Selected Artwork box is checked and click OK to create a new color group which includes the four colors that we used for the selected shapes.
Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and use it to create a 50 px circle, fill it with your saved yellow, and place it as shown in the first image. Continue with the Line Segment Tool (\) and draw a vertical path that divides your circle in half, as shown in the second image.
Select the line along with your circle and click the Divide button from the Pathfinder panel to cut your circle in half. Press Shift-Control-G to Ungroup the resulting group, select the left half of the circle and make it purple, and then move it 50 px to the right, as shown in the fourth image.
Now, it's time to save our first geometric vector pattern. Simply select all your shapes and drag them into the Swatches panel to save them as a geometric pattern.
Now that you've got your first geometric vector pattern, let's see how you can use it. Pick any vector shape tool—for this example, we'll use the Rectangle Tool (M)—and create a new shape.
Keep this shape selected, make sure that the fill is active, and simply click the saved pattern from the Swatches panel. Keep in mind that your geometric pattern can also be applied to a stroke.
Once your geometric pattern is applied, you can easily adjust it using a Transform effect. Select your shape, focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) to select the fill with your pattern, and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform.
Disable the Transform Objects box and keep the Transform Patterns box checked, and then use the Scale sliders to scale the applied pattern, move it using the Move sliders, rotate it with the Angle value, or even flip it using the Reflect boxes.
3. How to Create a Line Geometric Pattern
Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create four 15 x 120 px shapes. Fill these rectangles with purple and place them in a perfectly aligned row, as shown in the following image.
To make things easier, you can turn these four shapes into a single compound path. Select them and go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8).
Duplicate your compound path (Control-C > Control-V) and make the copy blue. Rotate it 90 degrees and place it as shown below.
Again, duplicate your two compound paths (Control-C > Control-V), make them red and yellow, and place them as shown below.
One more time, duplicate your compound paths (Control-C > Control-V) and place the copies as shown below.
Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 510 x 255 px shape and fill it with R=38 G=34 B=98, send it to the back (Shift-Control-[), and place it exactly as shown below.
Once you're done, select this new rectangle along with all your compound paths and drag them into the Swatches panel to save your second vector geometric pattern.
Once this new geometric pattern is saved, feel free to apply and adjust it just as you did with the first one.
4. How to Create a Simple Geometric Pattern
Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create two 25 x 30 px shapes and place them next to each other. Fill the left one with R=66 G=126 B=172 and the right one with R=100 G=242 B=218.
Continue with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and use it to select the anchor points highlighted in the first image, and then simply drag them 15 px down, as shown in the second image.
Using the Pen Tool (P), create a simple diamond shape, as shown in the first image. Fill it with R=85 G=191 B=212 and then place it as shown in the second image to add the final piece of your cube.
Select the three shapes that make up your cube and add copies in front (Control-C > Control-F).
Keep these copies selected and focus on the Control panel (Window > Control) to lower the Width to 30 px.
Return to your artboard, make sure that the Selection Tool (V) is active, and rotate your selection 180 degrees using the bounding box. Go to View > Show Bounding Box (Shift-Control-B) if you can see the bounding box.
Make sure that your smaller cube is still selected and add a new copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Keep it selected and go to the Control panel again. Lower the Width to 10 px and then rotate your cube 180 degrees, as shown below.
Select all the shapes that make up your three cubes and Group them (Control-G). Add three copies of this group and place them as shown in the second image.
Select all your cube groups and drag them into the Swatches panel to save them as a vector geometric pattern.
We need to make some adjustments before we can properly use this new geometric pattern. Double-click it in the Swatches panel to open the Pattern Options window.
Just click the Pattern Tile Tool and click and drag the edges of the tile to adjust its size, as shown in the second image. Once you're done, click the Done button to save the changes.
Once the pattern is saved, feel free to apply and adjust it just as you did with the other ones.
Also, using the Recolor Artwork feature, you can easily replace the existing colors with the colors from your saved group. Select your pattern-filled shape and go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork (or click the Recolor Artwork button from the Control panel).
Click the Advanced Options button to open the expanded Recolor Artwork window, and then simply click your color group to replace the existing colors of your geometric pattern with the ones from the group.
5. How to Create an Intricate Geometric Pattern
Start with the Rectangle Tool (M) and use it to create a 40 x 45 px shape. Remove the fill color and add a 20 px stroke. The color is not very important, but you can lower the Opacity to about 50%, which will make it easier for you to see the grid and count the distance between points as we create these starting paths.
Continue with the Direct Selection Tool (A), and first you need to select the bottom-left point to simply Delete it. Move up to the top-left point, select it, and drag it 25 px up, as shown in the third image.
Select your entire path and duplicate it (Control-V). Use the Reflect Tool (O) to flip this copy and place it as shown in the second image.
Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select the bottom point (highlighted in the second image) to Delete it.
Select both paths using the Selection Tool (V), hold down the Alt key, and simply click and drag a copy of your selection 50 px up. You can also hold down the Shift key as you click and drag to constrain the movement of your copy. Don't forget that you can check the Info panel to see exactly when you get to 50 px.
Using the same technique, select all four paths and drag a copy of your selection 25 px up and 50 px to the right.
Reselect the starting four paths, and this time drag a copy 100 px to the right. In the end, things should look like in the second image.
Select all your paths and press Control-C to copy them. We'll paste the copies later, once we're done editing these paths.
Keep these paths selected, and let's expand the strokes by going to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Keep the resulting shapes selected, and press Shift-X to easily swap the fill and stroke color settings.
Select the two shapes that make up the "Y" symbol, and merge them using the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.
Select all your shapes and pick the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M). Hold down the Alt key and simply click the highlighted path sections to easily remove them.
Select the remaining paths and just increase the stroke Weight to 4 px.
Now, you can press Control-F to paste those copied paths in the same place. Keep these paths selected, lower the stroke Weight to 4 px, and make it yellow just to make it stand out.
Once you're done, select all your paths and use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) again to remove the overlapping paths (highlighted in the third image). Don't forget that you need to hold down the Alt key as you click those tiny paths to remove them.
Select all your paths and change the stroke color to black (R=0 G=0 B=0).
Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 100 x 50 px shape and place it exactly as shown in the first image. Send it to the back (Shift-Control-[) and also copy it (Control-C). You'll need this copy later.
Select all your shapes and pick the Live Paint Bucket Tool (K). Select the blue from your color group and then simply click the sections indicated in the following images to easily fill them with blue.
Using the left and right arrow keys, you can easily navigate between colors within a color group. Use each color to fill the sections indicated in the following images.
Now press Control-F to add that copy in the same place. Keep it selected, remove the fill color (this will make your rectangle completely invisible), and send it to the back (Shift-Control-[). Thanks to this invisible rectangle, you won't have to mess with the Pattern Tile Tool as the boundaries of this shape will dictate the size of your pattern tile. Keep in mind that your rectangle must be invisible and that it must be placed below your pattern design to act as a pattern tile.
So select it along with the rest of your shapes, and simply drag this selection into the Swatches panel to save it as a geometric pattern.
Finally, this is how your geometric pattern will look once it's applied.
Congratulations! You're Done!
Here is how your geometric patterns should look. Now that you've learned what a geometric pattern is and how to create one, I hope you can apply these techniques in your future projects.
Feel free to adjust these geometric patterns and make your own designs. You can find some great sources of inspiration at Envato Elements, with interesting solutions to improve your geometric patterns.
Popular Geometric Patterns From Envato Elements
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Looking for something more vibrant? Check out this set of abstract geometric patterns and try one of these ten patterns whenever you want to make your designs pop.
Want to Learn More?
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