How to Use Patterns

Patterns have always been a popular design trend.

The popularity of particular patterns may come and go, but there’s always a pattern that will rise in popularity.

Adding patterns within t-shirt designs is a great way to keep designs fresh and trendy.

We have added a lot of new patterns to use in Easy View®, the free online design center.

In this post, we are going to show you how to use these patterns within your designs when creating artwork for decorating apparel.

[Related Content: New Patterns to Create a Wow! Design in Easy View®]


Adding a Pattern to a T-Shirt Design in Easy View

Easy View design center is loaded with thousands of templated layouts and clipart that you can customize to create your own t-shirt designs. Now there are even more patterns to use within your custom creations.

Patterns work best when they are added to larger areas of clip art and text. That way, more of the pattern is visible and recognizable.

If the pattern is used in small, thin text or clip art, then it is chopped up into smaller pieces and can have some not-so-good looking effects.

That being said, when you are choosing a layout, clip art, or fonts, choose something that will have larger ink coverage. Though it is a larger area, you can still incorporate show-through areas within the pattern so that it is not a solid block of ink on the shirt. The more ink that is used, the heavier it will feel when being worn.

Incorporating some show-through (areas of the design where there is no ink and allows the shirt color to become one of the colors in the design) will help create a lighter feel when the shirt is being worn.

[Related Content: Tips to Get a “Soft Hand” on Your Apparel with Screen Printed Transfers]


Adding a Pattern to Clip Art

After you have your art chosen, click on the piece of clip art that you would like a pattern added to. If it is a grouped piece of art (multiple pieces grouped into one piece), you will need to ungroup it first.

To ungroup a clip art, click to select it, then click on “Object” in the top red toolbar, and click “Un Group”. (You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + U if you like to use shortcuts.)


un group clip art to add a pattern


Note: sometimes clip art may be grouped into several groups within a group, so you may need to ungroup more than once.

If you are unsure if a piece of clip art is grouped, you can always try to add the pattern and Easy View will notify you if you need to ungroup the artwork.


ungroup notification


After you ungroup, click off of the artwork to deselect everything. Now you can click on your one piece of desired clip art to add a pattern to.

When you have your piece of art selected, click on “Show Special Effects” in the bottom left corner.


special effects button in Easy View


Then click on the “Apply Pattern” button.


apply pattern button in Easy View


Next, all of the available patterns will be visible. You can scroll through the patterns until you find one you like.


pattern options in Easy View


Click on the pattern you would like to add.

Once the pattern is added to your clip art, you can change the colors if you want to in the usual way. You can either click on a piece of clip art to change the color in the left column in the color swatches, or without anything selected, change the color swatch to change everything in the design of that color.


paint swirl pattern added to a layout in Easy View


paint swirl pattern with different colors


Tip: if you are adding lots of colors to your pattern and design, you may want to choose the full color transfer option, UltraColor® Soft, by clicking on the Print Method in the upper right corner and choosing Full Color.



It will generally be more economical to choose a full color transfer type when you have more than 3 colors in your design.

Speaking of full color options – when you have the full color print method selected in the top right corner, you will have additional full color patterns available in the patterns selection panel.


full color pattern options


Some of the full color patterns are photo-realistic and the colors are not editable, such as this cool Outer Space pattern.


Outer Space pattern in t-shirt design


Watch our video that shows adding a pattern to clip art:



Adding a Pattern to Text

Use the same process to add a pattern to text, too.

Just like with clip art, the larger the text and font style, the better the pattern will appear.

Select your text, then click the Apply Pattern button in the Special Effects options.

Choose your pattern to apply it to your selected text.


add a pattern to text


This videos shows adding a pattern to text:



That’s all there is to it!

It’s super easy to apply patterns to clip art or text in your custom t-shirt designs using Easy View.

Just remember that patterns are added into single pieces of clip art at a time. They cannot be grouped together, so you’ll need to ungroup clip art before adding a pattern.

Patterns look best with larger areas of clip art or text so you can see more of the pattern within the design.

As with any design, for a softer feel, try to incorporate show-through areas within designs so that there is less ink coverage on the shirt. Large, solid areas of ink can make a shirt design feel a little heavier.


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