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20 Free Vector Patterns

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I’m crazy for patterns. Some patterns are tiled (regularly repeating over and over again, called tessellations), some are random and never repeat. My love of patterns is easy to trace to my childhood: My step-mother (who was a graphic designer) would give me sheets of Letraset rubdown transfers or Format (which could be cut out with an X-acto blade and transferred to paper). I spent hours burnishing, cutting, making…

So, for every designer, illustrator, or pattern-lover out there, here are 20 free PDF files you can download and use in your work. You can Place them in InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop. You can also open these in Illustrator if you want to see or edit the individual patterns or vector objects.

Each one is big enough to cover either an A4 or a Letter sized page, and each one is vector, so you can scale it up or down to whatever size you want.

Some Examples

Before we get to the downloads, here are a few examples of how you might use these patterns. These first three show some of these patterns placed into InDesign frames:

patterns1

Next, this spiral pattern was opened in InDesign and individual objects were colorized:

patterns2

Downloads

As I said, each of these patterns is a full page. The graphics below are just samples cut from the middle of the pattern. Just click on each image to download its PDF and see the whole page. Or you may want to right-click on the image and choose Save As (or Save Link As, depending on your web browser).

Triangle Pattern 1

Tessellation 1

Squares and Crosses 2

Squares and Crosses 1

Sprinkles 1

Spiral 1

Spiral 2

Spiral 3

Random Triangles

Random Lines 1

Polygon Rotation 1

Polygon Rotation 2

Polygon Rotation 3

Polygon Rotation 4

Polygon Rotation 5

Polygon Rotation 6

Polygon Rotation 7

Grid Circles 1

Grid Circles 2

Concentric Circles 1

 

How Were They Made?

In the late 1980s I found myself learning the PostScript programming language, which is particularly well-suited for high-quality graphics and is what all EPS files are written in. I started writing custom patterns and even turned some of these into a commercial package for Aldus Freehand users, called PSfx (later PSpatterns). In the mid-90s, the patterns were repurposed to form the heart of an InDesign plug-in called PatternMaker, from Teacup Software.

The cool thing about PatternMaker is that every pattern is infinitely customizable! Change a few values and you can totally change a pattern into something else.

PatternMaker plug-in

I used PatternMaker to make a number of these patterns, such as the one above.

However, some of the patterns were created with custom PostScript code that I wrote or edited. For example, the ones that have rotating polygons (some with regular steps and some with random steps).

custom postscript

How Are You Using Them?

If you use these patterns, we’d love to hear about it! Put links to graphics in the comments below! If there are other patterns you wish you had, let us know, too.

Enjoy!

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign, Spectrums: Our Mind-Boggling Universe From Infinitesimal to Infinity, and The Joy of Pi. He is also the author of InDesign Essential Training and the InDesign Insider Training titles at lynda.com. David is the co-host of InDesignSecrets and PePcon: The Print + ePublishing Conference, and is the co-founder of Creative Publishing Network.
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Posted on: August 2, 2013

David Blatner

David Blatner is the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign, Spectrums: Our Mind-Boggling Universe From Infinitesimal to Infinity, and The Joy of Pi. He is also the author of InDesign Essential Training and the InDesign Insider Training titles at lynda.com. David is the co-host of InDesignSecrets and PePcon: The Print + ePublishing Conference, and is the co-founder of Creative Publishing Network.

18 Comments on 20 Free Vector Patterns

  1. these are hypnotic, man … ;-D

  2. I’m still in mourning over the demise of FreeHand. I turn on my OS9 Mac every once in a while just to caress it and remind it how much it means to me. Maybe someday it will be released from the Adobe dungeon where it receives continual cruel and unusual punishment for just being friendlier to text than anything they have ever sired themselves, heartless bastards.

  3. I’m looking forward to experimenting with these patterns, they look terrific.

  4. Very Nice

  5. The futile FreeFreehand.org nonsense revealed there is no release from Adobe. There’s no need to hang on to old hardware. I run my Mac FH license in Sheepshaver (available for Mac and Windows). And I run my Windows FH license from my USB thumb drive. I’m never without it.

  6. How do you download the vector – i don’t want a .pdf.

  7. Just open the pdf in Illustrator. It’ll open as a vector, and you can save it as an Illustrator .ai or .eps if you want.

  8. Awesome! Thanks David!

  9. agustin.goba@gmail.com

    August 13, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Thanx, David; these brought back a lot of Letraset memories.

  10. Agree, and this is the reason I still run Snow Leopard; to keep FreeHandMX. Much quicker/easier than AI and still plays nicely with ID-CS6 to copy & paste editable vectors. ID has more of a FreeHand-like feel anyway.

  11. Thanks for these patterns. And that these are editable vectors! As a book designer, these will make great backdrops to section pages and flyleafs. Since you asked, how about some parallel line variations? thick-thin, dot-straight line mix, waves….

  12. Great works! The patterns are really interesting, they come in handy some days

  13. No Download Button!

  14. Edward: Just click on a pattern, or right-click (or Ctrl-click with a one-button mouse) and choose Download or Save.

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