Pattern and Relief

Geometric patterning is one of the more familiar forms of ‘geometry-in-art. In 1982 I produced a book dedicated to this subject that presented hundreds of examples of entirely Geometric Patterns (see ‘Other publications’). This was intended to be a source book for present-day designers, and for this reason I tried to select patterns that had minimal cultural associations. This proved to be difficult. I found that even the most basic designs tended to carry some indication of their origin. Simple Celtic patterns, for example, always seemed to carry a certain resonance with that broader artistic tradition - as did those from Islamic, Chinese and Meso-American sources. All of these artistic cultures, and others, had rich traditions of decorative art, but their stylistic associations naturally limited their use in contemporary design.

This problem has continued to fascinate me. To the extent that geometric pattern has a present or future role in the applied arts new forms have to be found that are appropriate for today. The following examples (some from my original book) are a sort of exploratory exercise in that direction. Any designer so inclined is welcome to use them…

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