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