Digital Paper, Seamless Repeating Patterns, Surface Pattern Design | What’s the Difference?

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure here for more information.

Digital Paper, Seamless Repeating Patterns, Surface Pattern Design | What’s the Difference?

What is Digital Paper?

Digital paper is a term that emerged with the rise of digital art and Adobe Photoshop. At first, it was mostly used by paper crafters who wanted to transition from traditional scrapbooking to digital scrapbooking. They needed digital paper to replicate traditional scrapbooking papers - which is why most digital paper is sold as 12”x12” 300 dpi format.

But now, digital paper has gone beyond the scrapbooking world and is used in digital planners, PDFs, eBooks, and many other digital products.

Digital paper designs are usually repeating patterns, but they don't have to be. They're basically graphics that are patterns or designs, and you can print them on your home printer or use them in another digital way.

What are Seamless Repeating Patterns?

So then what is a seamless repeating pattern? It's a pattern that can be repeated endlessly without any visible seams or interruptions. It can be made digitally or by hand either drawn, etched, Lino printed or block printed. There are many different types of seamless repeating patterns, and here are some of them:

  • Full drop/block pattern repeat
  • Half drop pattern repeat
  • Brick pattern repeat
  • Diamond pattern repeat
  • Ogee pattern repeat
  • Tossed/random pattern repeat
  • Stripe pattern repeat

Creating a seamless repeating pattern requires some skill and creativity, but it's definitely doable. So, if you're feeling adventurous and want to try your hand at creating your own seamless repeating pattern, go for it! Who knows, you might just come up with the next big thing in pattern design.

What is Surface Pattern Design?

Have you ever wondered what surface pattern design is? It's basically the art of creating designs for mass-manufactured products. Think of wallpaper, wrapping paper, upholstery, quilting fabric, apparel fabric, and floor coverings - all of these products have designs on them that are created through surface pattern design. Surface pattern designs include the repeating patterns mentioned above as well as the following pattern designs

  • Allover layout
  • Border layout
  • Plaid/checkers
  • Turnover
  • Composite repeat
  • Counterchange
  • Diaper
  • Non-directional layout
  • One-directional/two-directional pattern
  • Four-way layout
  • Positive-negative layout
  • Frieze pattern layout
  • Gradation pattern
  • Interlocking pattern
  • Packed
  • Asymmetrical layout

While not all surface pattern designs are repeating, a majority of them are just like with seamless repeating patterns, surface pattern design can be produced both digitally and by hand.



Repeating pattern

Doesn't need to repeat

Created digitally or by hand

Digital paper

digital planners, PDFs, digital products, crafts




Seamless Repeating Pattern

All digital and physical products.




Surface Pattern Designs

Physical products and materials, wallpaper, fabric, etc.





Related Articles

30+ Ways To Use Digital Paper

How to Create Digital Paper using AI: A Midjourney and Adobe Tutorial

How to Create Motivational Wallpaper for Your Phone