Patterns are a really fun aspect of design and can be used across homewares, product design, apparel and more. Designer and illustrator Steven Bonner knows a thing or two about repeating patterns, and recently created some graphics for the official Scottish event hotel at this year’s Commonwealth Games. These designs were used to dress the hotel, appearing on everything from cushion covers and curtains, to press conference walls.

It quickly became apparent to Steven that designing the graphics as a repeating pattern was a more practical solution than simply producing a large panel. He set about designing a tiling pattern based on well-known Scottish icons and ornate decoration, tapping the feel of Damask woven fabrics.

In this tutorial, Steven details the techniques he used to create his patterns, using the theme of creative ‘career progression’, and shows how to reach the top of this chosen field.

Step 1 First, we’re going to create a set of curving steps in Illustrator that will form the main graphic element in our pattern.

Switch on Smart Guides in the View menu (Cmd/Ctrl + U). Draw a circle using the Ellipse tool (L), and using the Line Segment tool (\), draw a line from the top anchor point on the circle to the bottom.

Copy and paste the line in front (Cmd/Ctrl + F), then rotate it 90 degrees. Select both lines and duplicate the process until you have a split circle – as shown. Next, select everything and using the Pathfinder palette, divide everything into separate sections.