Start a new project in Adobe Illustrator. You can begin with a blank canvas by clicking Create new on the main menu or import an image by dragging it onto the workspace. You can adjust the artboard to any size, if you're not familiar with this tool, check out our guide on how to use the artboard tool in Illustrator.
Design at least one tile for your pattern. You can use the tools in the tool tray to create something original or import an existing image to use.
For this guide, I'll create a tile with a spiral inside.
Patterns are created using the Pattern Tool. Before opening the Pattern Tool, be sure to select your artwork.
- Select the Selection Tool. The is in the left tool tray—it looks like a black cursor with a white border.
- Click on the object you want your pattern to be comprised of.
- Open the Object menu.
- Go to Pattern then Make
This will open a pattern menu. If you close out of it, you can always double click the new pattern from the pattern swatches to edit it again.
Use this opportunity to refine your pattern settings. There are many properties you can play with to really dial in the pattern you want to achieve. Check out the Adobe website for a complete breakdown of Pattern Tool properties.
When you've adjusted your settings, click ✔️Done at the top of the window.
Once the pattern is created, it will appear in a list of swatches. These swatches work like colors to fill a space. You can get really creative in how to apply them. For example, the Pen Tool can be used to outline a custom shape for the pattern to fill.
Congratulations! You made an original pattern in Adobe Illustrator. You may also be interested in our guide on how to disable the Start screen in Illustrator.