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In the realm of digital design, the creation of patterns holds a significant place. Patterns add depth, texture, and character to various design projects, be it digital paper packs, templates, or other creative endeavors.

In this guide, we will delve into the art of creating pattern inverses, uncovering how they can elevate your designs and provide a fresh perspective on your creations.

Understanding the Power of Pattern Inverses

As a digital designer, you may have encountered the concept of pattern inverses and wondered about their significance. Pattern inverses are essentially the reverse versions of your original patterns. They carry the same structure and elements but with a distinct color or background alteration. This alteration can lead to a completely different visual experience, allowing for versatility and creativity in your design projects.

Note: In the video above I demonstrate how I use pattern inverses with my Photoshop template that you can find in Digital Paper Lab.

How to create a pattern inverse

Step 1: Identifying the Original Pattern

First open the patterns panel by going to Window > Pattern.

Hover over the pattern that you want to create an inverse for. It will give you the dimensions of this pattern.

Open a new Photoshop document using these dimensions and select your pattern to create a pattern layer.

Step 2: Creating an Inverse Pattern

To create your inverse right click on your pattern layer and select to rasterize layer.

Next Cmd/Ctrl + click on the icon of the layer and this will cause the layer elements to be selected.

Go to Select > Inverse to reverse the area selected.

Now in the layers panel click to create a new layer and then fill that area with your foreground color by using the keyboard shortcut opt + delete for Mac or alt + backspace for PC. I like to use the default color of black. If you do not have black chosen you can get back to the default colors by selecting D on the keyboard.

Deselect the pixels with the keyboard shortcut cmd/ctrl + D.

Turn off the visibility of your original layer and you should see the inverse area of your pattern.

Define your inverse pattern by going to Edit > Define Pattern.

Benefits of Pattern Inverses

Creating pattern inverses opens up a realm of benefits for digital designers:

– Versatility: Pattern inverses allow you to offer users multiple design options from a single pattern, enhancing the versatility of your design assets.

– Creative Exploration: Exploring pattern inverses encourages creative exploration and experimentation, leading to innovative design outcomes.

– Coordinated Sets: Inverse patterns can be used to create coordinated sets of designs, where the original and inverse versions complement each other seamlessly.

– Expanded User Choice: By providing both the original and inverse patterns, you empower users to choose the version that best suits their design vision.

– Enhanced Aesthetics: Inverses can introduce a fresh aesthetic dimension to your designs, adding depth and visual interest.


Pattern inverses are a valuable tool in a digital designer’s arsenal. They breathe new life into patterns, enabling designers to offer diverse options and captivating visuals. By embracing pattern inverses, you elevate your design work and provide users with a richer design experience.

Remember, the world of digital design is all about innovation and creative expression. Pattern inverses, with their ability to transform and reimagine, exemplify the endless possibilities that await those who dare to experiment and push the boundaries of design. So go ahead, create, invert, and watch your designs flourish in ways you never imagined.

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