Living Coral Pattern

As a response to the prevalent “Living Coral” trend, this pattern series explores not only the ‘Pantone of 2019’ colour palette, but also the theme behind its name. 

Drawing inspiration from marine elements revolving around a variety of corals, kelp and algae, it aims to depict an underwater scene full of alluring seaweed swaying softly with the flow of the deep waters.

This pat­tern design 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.


This is a pat­tern devel­op­ment series com­mis­sioned for a client’s Spring — Summer Collection for chil­dren aged up to 36 months old. Below you can view its struc­ture dir­ec­ted by Kidspattern along with the respect­ive col­our palettes with shades trans­ition­ing along with the age and gender they’re indic­at­ive of. 

The over­all col­lec­tion was broken up into three age groups : Newborn (0−9 months), Baby (6−18 months) and Kids (18−36 months). Starting from the left-hand side, you can view the cor­res­pond­ing duo of col­our palettes that were developed for each group.

Each column also shows an addi­tion­al strip of col­ours addressed for boys and a match­ing one for girls. These col­our schemes are then reflec­ted in the designs pre­pared for each of these groups.

For boys, the palette is a selec­tion of clas­sic blues matched with warm, brown greys con­tras­ted by a spot of orange red. The older age group addi­tion­ally fea­tures an addi­tion of deep navy blue.

For girls, the palette is com­posed from a base of cor­al shades (start­ing with a pas­tel peach, then rose and all the way to rich sal­mon). These are ini­tially matched with a duo of cold greys and was con­tras­ted with a spot of dark navy blue.

Additionally, the line for girls included a design for the old­est age group (to the right). This typ­ic­ally means that the ele­ments used are slightly more com­plex in detail and the palette has more vivid and often dark­er, con­trast­ing colours.

Newborn Collection

These pat­terns tend to be more sim­pli­fied and pared back, and col­oured in a neut­ral scheme.

In this case, for boys, we developed an idea based on a simple graph­ic illus­tra­tion of a star­fish. It was repeated in a diag­on­al man­ner and presen­ted in mono­chrome palettes, placed on top of a hand drawn tex­tured background. 

For girls, the inspir­a­tion came from an exquis­ite, soft cor­al form­a­tion called ‘Sea Fan’. Once repeated these gave the impres­sion of an under­wa­ter forest, giv­ing this pat­tern not only a tex­tur­ised, but also an organ­ic quality.

Baby Line

These are pat­tern ver­sions pro­posed for a medi­um age group (up to 18 months). The sep­ar­a­tion between lines for boys and girls is dis­cern­ible by the affixed col­our palette. However, both ver­sions now make use of the same ele­ments. The cor­al sil­hou­ettes are filled in with flat col­our, which make these designs not only age appro­pri­ate, but also easy to adjust and cheap to print.

The pat­tern arrange­ment of the ele­ments was threefold. Firstly, with even spa­cing and in an upright man­ner, spots of deep orange red star­fish were peppered amongst the shapes to draw the eye in.

Secondly, the ele­ments remain upright, but were clustered closer togeth­er. With the ele­ments almost on top of each oth­er, this cre­ated a layered, slightly abstract visu­al net­work. In addi­tion, the star­fish were weaved in behind some of the cor­als whilst the oth­ers remained in front, which also added to the design’s dimen­sion­al­ity. All this was to con­vey a sen­sa­tion of a bust­ling, under­wa­ter scene.

Lastly, the cor­als were staggered in a diag­on­al man­ner, how­ever the spa­cing between them remains even and orderly. The scattered orange red star­fish on top brings in the accent of col­our in a reg­u­lar repeat.

Above, please browse through a selec­tion of these pat­terns in three dif­fer­ent col­our ways (white, light and medi­um col­oured back­grounds) and three dif­fer­ent print sizes — small, medi­um and over­size. For the smal­ler size, sim­pli­fied detail was used for more of a tex­tur­ised finish. 

Kids Line

In the pat­tern devel­op­ment for the old­est age girl group (up to 36 months) the pre­vi­ously fea­tured under­wa­ter form­a­tions were enriched with new addi­tions : bubble sea­weeds and a fas­cin­at­ing bubble tip anemone cor­al with its curi­ous look­ing tentacles. These now formed a new main mod­ule used to com­plete the full themed set. 

Dark Background

The col­our com­bin­a­tion of navy blue back­ground matched with greys, cor­als and a touch of white, sets the mood for a murky and mys­ter­i­ous low sea-level scene.

Here you can browse through few col­our vari­ations, in which some or all the bubbles have been filled in with col­our, and hence are more vibrant. This, in turn, affects the dynam­ics of the visu­al hier­archy with­in the elements.

In the first ver­sion, I exper­i­mented with the shades of blue, using the dark­er tone to col­our ele­ments set deep­er in the back­ground. These shad­ow sil­hou­ettes were con­tras­ted with white dots, which like under­wa­ter lan­terns illu­min­ate the way up, back to the safety of the surface. 

Pink and Grey

As the col­our palettes moves towards the light­er shades, the total num­ber of col­ours used was reduced in order to offer a sec­ond­ary, sim­pli­fied solution.

Here, the sea­weed cav­it­ies are filled with white and resemble bubbles of air in water, fizz­ing up along the gar­ment in a ver­tic­al arrange­ment. The small white dots of the smal­ler kelp that pep­per the back­ground with details emphas­ise the design’s sense of effervescence. 

To com­plete this set you can view a full mono­chrome grey­scale ver­sion offered as a pared back option that could be eas­ily matched with just about any oth­er colour.

Simplified Pink

Within this devel­op­ment, the pat­terns were sim­pli­fied and light­er, thus offer­ing del­ic­ate and subtle altern­at­ives. Options dom­in­ated by shades of light cor­al pink with an addi­tion of medi­um grey cham­pi­on more of a mono­chro­mat­ic approach to the “Living Coral” trend. 

Thanks to the power of col­our we are being trans­por­ted from the deep waters of the dark navy back­ground to the mes­mer­ising spec­tacle of this cot­ton candy, magic­al under­wa­ter garden.

Notice a par­tic­u­larly inter­est­ing pat­tern reduced to a mere one col­our, which in this case was white. Thanks to also being visu­al­ised in a rel­at­ively large size, this offers ideas for quite a mod­ern, slightly abstract design. Moreover, it holds great poten­tial for a second com­pli­ment­ary print.

Pattern in Print

Below, please browse through a slideshow selec­tion of a few examples of this pat­tern in print. These are pho­to­graphs of the Client’s first cloth­ing samples pro­duced to dis­play at a trad­ing fair as a part of the launch of their over­all Spring-Summer Collection. Here you may observe how the selec­ted pat­terns were used and prin­ted across mul­tiple items and how these fits with­in the wider con­text of the collection. 

Please note that these images are provided cour­tesy of the cli­ent and Kidspattern and are used for port­fo­lio pur­poses only. 

“Blue, green, grey, white, or black ; smooth, ruffled, or moun­tain­ous ; that ocean is not silent.”

H. P. Lovecraft