by Janice Chung

Vector art, specifically geometric vectors, have steadily grown as an artistic trend in the past few years. These alluring elements can be seen in an abundance of designs, from wall art in the streets of Bushwick, to intricate line tattoos featuring fractal wildlife, flora, and sacred geometry. While these artists create these captivating compositions by hand, there are many tools available on Adobe Illustrator that will ease beginners into this creative process. Here are some nifty tips on creating your own unique patterns:


Pick a Base Shape
An iteration of a basic shape is at the foundation of most geometric pieces. This may be any 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional shape, such as a hexagon or a cube. A 3-dimensional shape is advantageous to those who would like to create the illusion of depth in their design. The drop down menu off the rectangle tool (M) allows you to create polygons with specified sides and radii. Experiment with making different shapes to use as your base.


Embrace Repetition
An essential hotkey that will evenly copy and distribute objects is CTRL+D. Select your base shape and move it in the desired direction and amount of space while holding SHIFT+ALT. This will ensure that the copied object is parallel to the original. Release the copied object, and use CTRL+D to repeat the object across your artboard.


Use a Limited Color Palette
Often times, less is more when selecting a color scheme. As the geometric design itself is already quite complex, sticking to a simple color palette will bring out those crisp shapes. The color guide (SHIFT+F3) displays a range of complementary tints and hues. Click into the drop down menu to see different harmonious pairings on complementary and monochromatic scales. There are also a variety of websites that allow you to make and save custom palettes.


Frame Your Design
Once you finish creating your pattern, you may want to contain the design within a “frame” for usage in future projects. Select and group your objects (CTRL+G) and create a second object as your container, such as a circle or rectangle, on top of your group. Select both and use the clipping mask (CTRL+7) to frame your pattern within a shape.