The charming butterfly is indicative of the arrival of the spring sun, and hence around the world, it is viewed as representing change, hope, and life. Moreover, because of their fascinating life cycle, they’re symbolic of metamorphosis, renewal, and the transitory, fragile nature of beauty itself.

Among various superstitions around butterflies, the most common one is that they are a serendipitous indication of good luck.

This pat­tern design project was a part of my ongo­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with Kidspat­tern. If you’d like to learn more about them please vis­it their web­site HERE. Alter­na­tive­ly, view the archive of our pre­vi­ous projects HERE, in which I dis­cuss in detail the his­to­ry and nature of our work.

All cloth­ing-mock­ups pre­sent­ed here are pro­vid­ed cour­tesy of Kidspat­tern and are used for visu­al­i­sa­tion pur­pos­es only.


There are more than 17,500 record­ed but­ter­fly species, which makes for a tremen­dous vari­ety of orna­men­tal mark­ing com­bi­na­tions on their wings. These unique pat­terns, alike oth­er prints found in the ani­mal king­dom, have been a great source of inspi­ra­tion for a mul­ti­tude of design­ers. Most famous­ly, these ref­er­ences fea­ture strong­ly in many works of Alexan­der McQueen.

Some of the but­ter­fly wing speck­les are evoca­tive of leop­ard or chee­tah spots, which would explain the rea­son why they are as pop­u­lar amongst the ani­mal print lovers. 

Inspired by this ongo­ing theme, this pat­tern series was based on pho­tographs of real but­ter­fly wings tak­en by Kidspat­tern. This design formed one of a com­mis­sioned course of pat­tern devel­op­ment for a client’s Spring — Sum­mer Col­lec­tion. “The But­ter­fly Wings Kalei­do­scope” was intend­ed as a dig­i­tal print addressed to girls up to 36 months old. You can also view a cor­re­spond­ing design for boys inspired by moths HERE.

These pho­tographs of but­ter­fly wings were dig­i­tal­ly manip­u­lat­ed and recoloured to fit the colour palette for their intend­ed age group. The over­all colour theme was designed by Kidspat­tern and is a fem­i­nine selec­tion of dreamy pinks and soft grey, con­trast­ed by spots of dark navy and coral. This was split into three age groups — of which you can  view each one above start­ing from the bot­tom strip for New­born (0−9 months old) fol­lowed by Baby (8−18 months) and final­ly the Kids Line (up to 36 months) on top. 

These ele­ments were then arranged into a kalei­do­scop­ic com­po­si­tion that formed the main base for the pat­tern repeat mod­ule. Below, the devel­op­ment of this series is pic­tured across var­i­ous colour-ways, place­ments and arrangements. 

Elements and Colour Scheme

Newborn Line

This group includ­ed pat­terns cre­at­ed with sim­pli­fied and small­er ver­sions of the wings.

The first pat­tern presents two options, with the addi­tion­al use of small dots between the ele­ments to accen­tu­ate the calm­ing sim­ple repeat and bal­ance out the spac­ing. These are pre­sent­ed on two dif­fer­ent back­grounds (one light pink and the oth­er white). They also dif­fer with the total use of colours, start­ing at three and reduc­ing it all the way to just one in the blue version. 

The sec­ond idea sees all the sin­gle but­ter­fly wings scat­tered reg­u­lar­ly. Here this is visu­alised in two dif­fer­ent sizes and pre­sent­ed on both: white and coloured back­grounds. For the lat­ter, in order to make the ele­ments stand out, a white flat shape was added under­neath each sin­gle colour print. 

Pink and Coral

This is a selec­tion of pat­terns focus­ing sole­ly on the pink aspect of the palette. The mod­ule is recoloured in mono­chrome shades and repeat­ed regularly. 

The fol­low­ing options explore three dif­fer­ent coloured back­grounds: white, light and medi­um coral, as well as being visu­alised in var­i­ous sizes: medi­um, large and oversize. 

These ver­sions vary in the spac­ing between each mod­ule and the place­ment of the ele­ments on the gar­ment. In the last pat­tern, the high res­o­lu­tion orig­i­nal pho­to­graph enabled this design to be major­ly enlarged. This real­ly allows the fine intri­ca­cies of the scales that make up a but­ter­fly wing to shine though. 

Pastel Fantasy

The intro­duc­tion of the light blue into the mix results in a dreamy, pas­tel colour com­bi­na­tion. A par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing effect was achieved on some of the ele­ments by recolour­ing in a gra­di­ent between the two main shades. 

Pre­sent­ed here, is two pat­terns using dif­fer­ent coloured back­grounds: blue and pink, which are both visu­alised in two dif­fer­ent sizes. In the first ver­sion, the mod­ules were con­nect­ed to each oth­er in an even­ly spaced arrange­ment. Whilst, the oth­er pat­tern acts as an over­size place­ment illus­tra­tion, which offers a mod­ern tex­tur­al print.

Dark Navy

Last­ly, these pat­terns incor­po­rate the use of more con­trast­ing ele­ments of the palette. The focus was shift­ed towards the blue aspect, set­ting the baby blue and the dark navy as backdrops.

It was impor­tant to pro­vide an idea of how this pat­tern could also be used quite suc­cess­ful­ly on a dark back­ground. Recoloured in mono­chrome, with the lay­ers of but­ter­fly wings build­ing up in gra­di­ent all the way to white, this design is high­ly dimensional.

“Hap­pi­ness is like a but­ter­fly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your atten­tion to oth­er things, it will come and sit soft­ly on your shoulder.”

Hen­ry David Thoreau