Colour & Pattern & Wellbeing


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Colour & pattern & well being 

Let’s Learn:

  • This article by George Stylion and Meixuan Chan from Heriot-Watt University describes research on what emotions visual characteristics such as pattern produce, and whether this information can be used in the design of products to change our state of mind. 
  • L P7240097As part of this research Stallion and Chan produced four electrochromic knitted fabrics Stylion calls ‘psychotextiles’ which could toggle between 2 patterns so they could measure the impact on emotions. 
  • They see the application of their research being colour change textiles that the user can use to achieve or modify a particular emotion.



  • Use the patterns used in the article to do your own research. Find out which patterns people think would be calming in a room? Which might make them feel more anxious? 
  • The research found that people preferred repeating pattern to help them feel calmer and that intense patterns made them feel more stimulated. What situations might you want to use furnishings to create a calmer environment? What type of environment would require a more stimulating design approach?
  • Collect photos of pattern around you in nature and the environment. How are these used to calm and stimulate in different situations?
  • Use these results to help you design a fabric or wall paper print for different calm or stimulating situations you have identified. 
  • Students: The article by Stylion and Chan might be a good starting point for writing a project design brief.
  • Download this #ThinkDo card on pattern (click on the image to see it in more detail). Teachers: Why not use this as a lesson starter? 
    Students: After you have done the activities on the card print it out as a revision card and use it to make revision notes on.
Inspiration 2

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