The Definitive Guide to SVG Patterns

SVG is a very new technology, and although many designers and developers are continuously coming up with new things, it’s going to take a while for beginners to catch-up with all the resources for learning SVG. Today, I put together a set of tools, resources and tutorials to help you understand SVG patterns.

Think of SVG patterns as a way of coloring strokes and fills for shapes, and text. It’s generally believed that SVG patterns is the toughest choice, but learning to work with the basics is going to help with more difficult and complex patterns in the future.

The thing I really enjoy about SVG is that it provides some really great options for building awesome designs. What’s happening is you’re defining a canvas for the target text or shape – it then gets repeated throughout – which then enables for a much more detailed design outside of the normal fills and strokes. In this post we’re going to be looking at the best resources for mastering SVG patterns.

By the way, feel free to check out my post about the best design pattern books that money can buy, it’s definitely an area that needs to be explored by any designer, and doesn’t even take that long to finish.


Just like I said, the web is not really ready for a full SVG overhaul, so developers and designers who’re eager to learn – need to be patient, and appreciative of the resources that we can get our hands on. The website itself is a resource for generating SVG compatible background images. I really love how flexible the website is, and you can come up with some really great background designs if you play for long enough.


PatternBolt is a fine selection of SVG pattern background, packed in a single CSS or SASS (scss) file, just include the css file in your project and add a class to your element to insert a pattern. What’s even more cool, you can use this library to put patterns over your images. The official website has a nice demo of that, I think you’ll like it!

SVG Patterns Gallery

The same thing really, a collection of SVG patterns that range from different shapes to different colors. It is maintained by Philip Rogers, but the GitHub repository seems to have been on idle for over a year now. Meh, bookmark anyway.

Plain Pattern

An SVG based seamless pattern maker. This is currently a work in progress with more features to be added soon. I had a quick look at the list of features that are still in the making, and I have to say that I can’t wait for the next update to be pushed for this tool. The two newest features are going to be core improvements, and the ability to store patterns using IndexedDB.

User Interface for Layers, Custom Color Selection, Grids, Rulers, Grouping, etc,. are all upcoming features.


Trianglify is a low poly style background generator that was built using D3.js! Trianglify is a JavaScript library for generating colorful triangle meshes that can be used as SVG images and CSS backgrounds. I’m pretty sure you can play with the settings to change sizes, and things like shadows. Really great tool, some of the designs and their colors have come out really spectacular.

How to Use SVG Patterns

I think that’s about it for tools for generating patterns, here are some blog articles and tutorials that show how to use this ‘new’ technology. Designmodo’s Joni Trythall is taking a bit of a dive into the world of SVG patterns, explaining what they are, how they work, and how to make them work for you. In the end, you realize that it’s the same as writing some code, but does it feel the same?

SVG Fill Patterns

SVG fill patterns are used to fill a shape with a pattern made up from images. This pattern can be made up from SVG images (shapes) or from bitmap images. SVG fill patterns look like what you are used to from Photoshop etc. being called “tiles”. Jakob Jenkov is giving us a little introductory lesson on fill patterns, quick read – and even quicker results!

SVG Patterns

Matthew Bystedt is giving us an example of the true potential of SVG, take a look at that image he added at the end of the post – it’s basically taking any photo, and adding real-time SVG effects to it. Of course, you’d need JavaScript to add live effects, but it still shows the flexibility that this technology is going to have. Besides, it looks real enough to me.

SVG Patterns by MDN

The Mozilla Developer Network is never sleeping, and you can always find new updates, experiences, and tricks to use within your development process. The introduction to SVG is no exception, you’ll learn how to fill custom patterns, and also more about the patterns tag itself. Interesting read, and suits all-levels of developers.

The Definitive Guide to SVG Patterns

I guess that’s about it for now, we seem to be missing some of the thought leaders in this post, but this is not the only SVG piece that you’re going to find on this blog, so keep an eye out for more content on SVG, from your favorite developers and designers. I’m also keen on learning more about this topic myself, is there anything you could suggest that the community might take advantage of?

I’m looking for both resources on how to learn more about SVG patterns, and also tools that can be used to generate unique backgrounds, patterns and images. Thank you!


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