Nocturnal Dwellers

An ongoing fascination with the motif of moths may have its root in their deep, symbolic meaning, which generally seems to be two-fold.

On one hand, these curious looking creatures are admired for their determination; even when their efforts prove dangerous and futile, they are still madly driven toward light.

For the same reason, this trait is also considered a warning, as their often detrimental ending acts as a caution against the self-destructive tendencies of blind faith.

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.


This pat­tern devel­op­ment series was com­mis­sioned for a client’s Spring — Sum­mer Col­lec­tion for boys, divid­ed into three age groups: New­born (0 – 9 months), Baby (0 – 18 months) and Kids (18 – 36 months). 

Below you can view this struc­ture, reflect­ed in three respec­tive colour palettes — with shades tran­si­tion­ing along with the age group they are indica­tive of. This frame­work was direct­ed and com­posed by Kidspat­tern. The colour scheme starts with light and neu­tral shades for the youngest and con­tin­ues to adjust with each age group, turn­ing a lit­tle dark­er and more vivid. Over­all, these shades are an inter­est­ing selec­tion of pale lemon, Eng­lish mus­tard yel­low, taupe, dark navy and hazel­nut brown. 

This pat­tern series is a response to a cur­rent trend fuelled by the mag­netis­ing appeal of  the butterfly’s “ugly cousin”. In order to avoid scary con­no­ta­tions, these depic­tions were sim­pli­fied to keep them baby-friend­ly. All the ele­ments were hand drawn with a few slight­ly more com­plex ones for the old­er age group, which are placed on the right hand-side of the image below. 

Newborn Line

The first option has the moths in small size neat­ly arranged in a row. As a default these were placed on top of a white back­ground and recoloured with spots of accent yel­low to intro­duce a lit­tle pop of colour and break up the order.

The sec­ond pat­tern is visu­alised in a larg­er size and placed against a coloured back­ground in a shade of a pale lemon. The ele­ments are now scat­tered and rotat­ed. In addi­tion, small flat sil­hou­ettes were intro­duced for a touch of depth. 

In this last pat­tern option, an extra back­ground tex­ture was added in the shape of a graph­ic mesh. It was cre­at­ed from two columns: one with diag­o­nal and the oth­er with straight lines. The moths are lay­ered on top in a reg­u­lar repeat in order to bal­ance out the visu­al busy­ness of the grid. Here it is pre­sent­ed in two colour ways with white and coloured backgrounds.

Baby Line

The pat­terns for the slight­ly old­er age group were advanced with the use of anoth­er type of com­plex grid sys­tem in the back­ground. Moths, which are lay­ered on top are of var­i­ous sizes, rotat­ed and scat­tered irregularly. 

Here, you can view the first colour-way pre­sent­ed in a light, pared back pat­tern with the mesh in white against a coloured back­ground. Whilst, for a dark­er option, thanks to tint­ing of the colour palette, a vari­ety of addi­tion­al inter­est­ing shades were expressed in this pattern. 

These designs are also dis­tin­guished by the size they are visu­alised at.

Kids Line

The sim­i­lar arrange­ment con­tin­ues in the old­est age group. The moths now vary in size and shape, roam­ing around in dif­fer­ent direc­tions placed atop a net­work of a hand drawn graph­ic grid. Here these are recoloured to match the dark and vivid back­grounds from the colour palette.

The first pat­tern focus­es on the brown back­ground by using the full spec­trum of the colour palette and offers an idea for a bold state­ment print. Fol­low­ing this, is a com­ple­men­tary, slight­ly lighter option with the mus­tard yel­low set as the back­ground. The empha­sis is placed on the match­ing beige and mush­room colour aspects. 

Monochrome Blue

The atten­tion in these pat­terns is placed sole­ly on the blue aspect of the colour palette. These mono­chrome and sim­pli­fied options use only two print­ing colours — com­ple­men­tary tints of the dark navy.

As such, they pro­vide a cheap­er to print, sec­ondary colour-way to poten­tial­ly add to a match­ing pat­tern set. Here they are visu­alised in two dif­fer­ent sizes, how­ev­er, it is in the small­er one that the web par­tic­u­lar­ly stands out in as an eye-catch­ing tex­tur­al feature.

Plain Background

To com­plete the set, a pat­tern option was devel­oped, which was stripped of the back­ground tex­ture. This refo­cus­es back onto the illus­tra­tions of the moths, which are full of inter­est­ing pat­terns on their wings, which already draws the eye in.

Par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing is a design lim­it­ed to the use of mere­ly one colour. The ele­ments were sim­pli­fied to graph­ic sym­bols and visu­alised in an over­sized man­ner. Recolour­ing these in a bright yel­low colour makes for a con­tem­po­rary and strik­ing design.

“Judge the moth by the beau­ty of the candle.”