Principles of Pattern Illustration Design

Takashi Iba, Yuka Banno, Hinako Ando

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In this paper, we present principles of pattern illustration design and summaries of subsequent pattern seeds. Pattern illustration is a visual expression to convey the core idea of a pattern symbolically, which is shown in combination with its pattern name. Although many patterns for drawing pattern illustration have been proposed, this paper focuses more on fundamental principles of pattern illustration design. The principles were extracted by analyzing more than 600 pattern illustrations for 19 pattern languages in various domains, which we have been creating for the past decade. Our discoveries on design principles of pattern illustration are grouped into the following 12 principles: (1) Space that has Depth; (2) Characters with a Mind and Body; (3) Interactions on the Spot; (4) Time Flow from Left to Right; (5) Symbolic Object for Abstract Things; (6) Visible Lines for Clusters and Connection; (7) The Effect Given by Things Created; (8) Object-like Speech Bubbles; (9) Visual Expressions in Comics; (10) Abbreviation for Simplicity; (11) Evolving Stories from Patterns; and (12) A Magical Touch for Charms. In this paper, we explain these principles, the subsequent pattern seeds, and examples from our pattern languages.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs, EuroPLoP 2021
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450389976
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul 7
Event26th European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs, EuroPLoP 2021 - Virtual, Online, Austria
Duration: 2021 Jul 72021 Jul 9

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference26th European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs, EuroPLoP 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • Design
  • Design pattern
  • Pattern illustration
  • Pattern language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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