Urban Jungle

Impenetrable and unknowable, the tropical rainforest has an abundance of inhabitants and is bursting with life. This wealth of inspiration contributes to it being one of the most prevalent trends in pattern design. 

As a motif it speaks to our human desire for adventure; our wanderlust for travelling to and exploring exotic lands; and our deep need for growth, represented in the jungle’s dense vegetation.

Indeed our natural yearning to reconnect with nature and escape the built environment seems to make our Jungle fantasies more relevant than ever.

This sur­face 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.

Surface Pattern Design — Case Study

This jun­gle-inspired sur­face pat­tern design series was devel­oped with Kidspat­tern as a com­mis­sion for a client’s Spring-Sum­mer kidswear col­lec­tion. I’ve based my illus­tra­tion around one of the jungle’s most recog­nis­able inhab­i­tants, the par­rot and por­trayed two of these splen­did beasts in flight, nav­i­gat­ing their way through a labyrinth of rich foliage.

In cre­at­ing the hand-drawn ele­ments here I worked with a ‘leaky ink’ pen. This gave the out­lines a more expres­sive and dynam­ic feel, whilst the pat­tern remained a straight­for­ward sin­gle colour print. 

The mod­ule was arranged in sim­ple repeat and pre­sent­ed on a uni­sex white t‑shirt, which con­trast­ed well with the dark lines of the draw­ing. An addi­tion­al colour­way had the design posi­tioned against a grey back­ground, with an extra lay­er of white high­lights on top. 


Jungle Pattern for Boys

At this point in the sur­face pat­tern’s devel­op­ment it was decid­ed that the design should be split into two com­ple­men­tary ver­sions — one more tai­lored for boys and the oth­er more so for girls.

To fit in with the broad­er colour palette of the col­lec­tion we intro­duced two sat­u­rat­ed greens to be used as high­lights. These were pre­sent­ed in a scrib­bly, ‘colour­ing-in’ book, style that matched the ener­gy of the dynam­ic lines with­in the draw­ing. Below you can view the ver­sion of the sur­face pat­tern design that was devel­oped for boys. Along­side it I’ve attached a recoloured ver­sion, placed on a vibrant green back­ground and visu­alised on a pair of sum­mer shorts. 

Girls: Version 1

Here is an alter­nate ver­sion of the sur­face pat­tern that was devel­oped for the girls range with­in the col­lec­tion (aged up to 36 months). It was coloured in broad­ly the same way as the design for boys and thus was set up to part­ner it.

Note though that this ver­sion did present a more mut­ed, alter­na­tive colour­way, which blends in well when used on a grey, tex­tured cot­ton. Here the green and white accents are still present but set a more sub­tle, gen­tler, visu­al rhythm. 


Girls: Version 2

The fill for the colour in the hand-drawn ele­ments was flat­tened and smoothed here, mak­ing the design appear more clean-cut, mod­ern and sleek. This fill also bal­anced bet­ter with the ener­gy of the quiv­er­ing ‘leaky-ink’ line being used.

The greens of the colour palette are yet more preva­lent here too. Plac­ing the pat­tern design on a dark-green back­ground has added more weight and depth to it, whilst the white par­rot is a more eye-catch­ing ele­ment that real­ly stands out.

The sur­face pat­tern is visu­alised here, on a jumper, in an over­sized man­ner that has the par­rot in the mid­dle and the botan­i­cals spread­ing along the sleeves. This more colour-sat­u­rat­ed por­tray­al real­ly accen­tu­ates the opu­lent and mys­te­ri­ous notes with­in the Jun­gle motif. 

Girls: Version 3

Last­ly, in one fur­ther update to the design I jux­ta­posed it against a back­ground con­tain­ing a bold, geo­met­ric pat­tern. This clash between the organ­ic and the orthog­o­nal lines in the over­laid sur­face pat­terns sets up a con­trast that, by com­par­i­son, high­lights the wild unruli­ness of the jun­gle elements.

Using a pre­dom­i­nant­ly grey palette, with a touch of juicy, vibrant, green the design is now much more mod­ern look­ing and pos­si­bly more suit­ed to an old­er age-group as well. 

Pattern in Print

Below you can view a few quick snaps of the first cloth­ing sam­ples using these sur­face pat­tern designs. These were the final designs pur­chased by the client for incor­po­ra­tion into their Spring-Sum­mer Collections.

Dis­claimer: These images are pro­vid­ed cour­tesy of the client and Kidspat­tern and are used for port­fo­lio pur­pos­es only.

“A brave heart and a cour­te­ous tongue. They shall car­ry thee far through the jun­gle, manling.”

Rud­yard Kipling Eng­lish jour­nal­ist and writer