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The latest news and trends from the wonderful world of visual merchandising. Jano Dawes and her team share their passion for VM.

Principles of Design for VM Part 14: Pattern

Welcome to the final part of our 14 part series on the Elements and Principles of Design for Visual Merchandising series where we will discuss the design principle ‘Pattern’.

Put anyone in a room with a pile of similar objects and say, ‘I want a pattern by 3 P.M. or no dinner.’ Anyone would come up with a design. It is easy, fun and available to anybody. Most people just don’t have the nerve.

– Dan Phillips

About Pattern:

Pattern is the planned repetition of a motif which could be either abstract or realistic. Patterns involve other elements including form, shape, and colour, arranged to provide varying degrees of unity and rhythm. Pattern occurs due to:

  • the nature of the surface materials
  • through the application of finishes
  • the character of the item being used
  • the arrangement of elements in a composition
  • shadows and reflections that can change with the time of day, seasons, lighting

How we use Pattern:

Pattern can be applied by the arrangement of the design, the surfaces applied or the fabrics and textiles incorporated. Pattern can add interest and energy to a space or create unity by linking colours, textures and forms. Because patterns have strong lines embedded in them, a pattern can also help to provide direction. It can also conceal aspexts of a design by drawing the viewers attention to the whole, rather than the individual aspects. For example, a patterned wall finish can hide any underlying imperfections of the surface.

1. The strong directional lighting in this store creates light and shadow patterns of its own to add drama to the display.

2. A soft, textural pattern is created by repeating leaves of various sizes on this backdrop and through to the floor.

3. This in store accessories display is elevated by the inclusion of a graphic chevron pattern on the otherwise plain white risers.

4. A strong, monochromatic pattern of black and white lines is repeated on the mannequin itself for an energetic, showstopping window.

5. Brightly coloured and patterned perspex panels create a second pattern of themselves in this window and complement the bright colours of the garments.

6. The delicate pattern of the bags on display in this window is scaled up to create a larger than life effect.


Thank you so much for following along with our skill building series on the Elements and Principles of Design for Visual Merchandising and keep in mind that the best part about mastering the rules is that you can break them!


If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.

– Katharine Hepburn


If you’re keen to learn more about the secrets of becoming a visual merchandiser, why not sign up for one of our Training Courses?

Check out our Visual Merchandising Training Courses.



Missed our previous instalments and would like to learn more? Click on the links below!

Part 1: Introduction to the Elements and Principles of Design for VM

Part 2: Elements of Design: Line

Part 3: Elements of Design: Shape/Form

Part 4: Elements of Design: Space

Part 5: Elements of Design: Light

Part 6: Elements of Design: Colour

Part 7: Elements of Design: Texture

Part 8: Elements of Design: Scale

Part 9: Principles of Design: Balance

Part 10: Principles of Design: Dominance/Emphasis

Part 11: Principles of Design: Contrast

Part 12: Principles of Design: Harmony/Unity

Part 13: Principles of Design: Repetition




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