Pattern Making with the Move Tool

Pattern Making with the Move Tool

Pattern Making with the Move Tool

Pattern Making with the Move Tool

Hey guys! I wanted to share with you all my go-to way for pattern making in Illustrator… using the Move option under the Transform Menu (Command+Shift+M). I like to work in even numbers when creating the “artboard” for my pattern so that I can easily duplicate and move to the opposite border to complete the repeat. You could work with a 400×400 square or 500×100 rectangle… size doesn’t matter just make sure you note the dimensions you are working so your repeat will align. For our example, we will be working in a 400×400 pixel square:

Select all the objects that extend past the top portion, Command+C to copy, Command+F to paste a duplicate in front, then Command+Shift+M to open the Move dialogue box. Since we are repeating the top to the bottom border, Horizontal should be 0 px and Vertical 400 px. (If working from the bottom the Horizontal would still be 0 but the Vertical would be -400).

Now you will do the same with the right side, select all that extend off the right, Command+C to copy, Command+F to paste a duplicate in front, then Command+Shift+M to open the Move dialogue box. To move a copy to the left side your Horizontal should be at -400 px and Horizontal at 0 px. If you want to copy what is on the left side to the right side the settings should be 400 px for Horizontal and 0 px for Vertical.

Something to keep in mind when working on the repeats, if you make the move and notice that objects overlap what’s happening in the middle, you have to select both the top/bottom or left/right instance, and then use the arrow keys to adjust. This will ensure your repeat happens correctly.

Once your repeated edges are complete and you are happy with the center you can go about making your pattern any way you choose. You could mask it so it’s a complete square or what I like to do is duplicate the background square, send it to the back and make sure the stroke and the fill are both set to “none”. Then you can select the whole pattern and drag and drop into the Swatches panel. Note: You can also do this when masking out the edges, just select your masked pattern and drag into the Swatches panel!


Prompt #003

Prompt #003 – Create a Repeating Pattern

Objective: Whether you start by sketching or jumping right onto the computer it’s easy to create your own seamless repeating patterns. These patterns can then be used in a variety of applications or mediums. If you’re new to creating patterns check out the tips below.

Suggested Size: Any size or proportion will work.

Suggested Program: Illustrator

Goal Date: March 31

Design these with an imaginary or existing brand in mind. If you need more help getting your design started, check out our client type database!

Pattern Tips: If you’re new to creating patterns, try starting out with simple shapes. The more complicated the shapes the more difficult it will be to create a seamless repeat pattern. To test if your pattern is seamless on all sides draw an invisible box around your pattern (this is the parameter of the pattern) and then duplicate the whole thing to the right of it and see if the spacing matches up. Follow this same step on all sides until it perfectly matches up on each side. If it doesn’t match up you will have to either adjust your shapes or adjust the padding around the invisible box. There are multiple ways to create seamless patterns in Illustrator, this is the manual method that can be done in any version of Illustrator and another way is using the Pattern Maker in Illustrator CS6+.

Some helpful links to get you started:

Remember to play and have fun while creating these!!!! Our hope is that you will develop new skills and passions while working on these prompts.

We encourage you to post your work-in-progress as well as your final pieces to get helpful feedback from the PD community (#PDcrit). Also, be sure to tag us @prompteddesign and use #Prompt003 to give you a chance to be featured on our page.


👩‍💻 MI + 🖐️🌴 SC 👩🏻‍💻


Expand your design thinking alongside us with our monthly prompts, tips and inspiration! 

Copyright © 2020 Prompted Design. All rights reserved.

Add to cart