Patterns are all around us. They make things more attractive, organized, and beautiful. But what does it have to do with culture?
A Patterned Nature
To understand the importance of patterns in culture, we must first realize that we live in a patterned nature. The tree rings, the patterns on a leaf, the number of petals on a flower, the brick pattern on a house or building, the neighborhood house shape, size and color, the pattern on the sidewalk, the shadows of trees, buildings, and people—all these are patterns we can observe every single day.
When we speak of patterns, we usually think of garments, tiles, carpets, and more. All of these are humanmade, and they all imitate the patterns found in nature. Although the patterns in nature may not be in perfect symmetry, they are naturally beautiful. Nature usually demonstrates discernable regularity. Their patterns could be simple and complex, but most of nature’s designs are more difficult to understand than the simple geometric ones that humans make. From flower petals to branches, these patterns are seen to be rarely consistent all throughout, but the patterns in nature are what inspires designers to be more creative.
Observing nature is indeed an excellent way to fire up one’s creativity when trying to design patterns. There are so many patterns in nature that can serve as creative inspirations. Take for example a snowflake. No two snowflakes are alike; each snowflake boasts of its own pattern, and that is inspiring designers to be unique and to avoid copying from others.
A Patterned Culture
Obviously, our culture is also patterned. After all, the environment is full of patterns. Old art is a brilliant example of a patterned culture. Temples from ancient Greece are always patterned—their decorative elements show how patterns affect visual art.
In fact, patterns are even used to show relevant and meaningful content. For instance, when designing carpets, designers usually focus on the tradition and culture of their town or country. This is why a lot of mats and carpets are recognizable—they bear the culture from where or when they originated. And it’s also for that exact reason that manufacturers retrieve carpets that have manufacturer-related issues and fix them. Carpet manufacturers know that they MUST fix the design problem. That’s how vital the representation of patterns is.
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And patterns can’t only be seen in carpets. We can also see patterned culture in several works of art—paintings, buildings, churches. Culture is substantially expressed in patterns wherever we go. And that’s because patterns can reflect culture. Patterns have the power to repeat essential content. They can amplify culture and art as well. Patterns can even symbolize the culture of the material that was used to create them.
Even our traditions can be considered patterned. Our daily routine is patterned themselves! Our eating habits, our work hours, and our day-to-day activities are patterned. The way we take a bath, brush our teeth, or drive to work is all patterned! It is true; we live in a patterned culture surrounded by a patterned nature. And I’m telling you, it’s not bad at all. Because at the end of the day, patterns make things more attractive, organized, and beautiful.