Pattern inspiration from Batik: a century-old technique

As designers, we are in constant search of new skills, inspirations and ideas. A great way to expand our artistic horizons is by exploring other cultures and their art — in this case, their pattern designs!

In Indonesia, a well-known technique that has been developed for centuries is Batik. Batik is patterned cloth made using a wax-resist dyeing technique. The traditional technique in creating the pattern involves applying melted wax onto cloth before dipping it in dye. The wax holds to the fabric and the dye penetrates the unwaxed areas. For multiple colors, the process is repeated.

We will check out the more traditional Batik patterns, followed by examples of patterns incorporated into designs. Your challenge? For your next project, remember Batik and think about how you can incorporate patterns like it into your work!


Kawung is an old design consisting of intersecting circles. The circles may also be embellished with small crosses.


Ceplok is a general name for a series of all geometric designs, including squares, rhombus, circles, stars, etc. Variations in color intensity can create illusions of depth.

A single element can also be chosen and repeated again and again in the pattern.


Parang was originally used exclusively by the royal courts in Central Java. This pattern consists of slanting rows of thick knife-like segments, repeated diagonally.

Modern Batik

Modern patterns of Batik uses linear treatment of leaves, flowers and birds. Since the patterns are free-form, the design depends on the designer and the guidelines they use.

Inspired by the intricate technique and shapes, designers have applied batik patterns and colors into home furnishings, stationary and many more!

Saipua soaps and flowers

Monggo chocolate – Designed by Jonathan Krisyadi, Universitas Pelita Harapan, Karawaci, Indonesia

Batik Vans Packaging – Designed by Randy Raharja

The designer for this Vans packaging design created a full set including a shopping bag, Batik scarf, Batik shoes and packaging. Although this design does not use any of the common patterns, the packaging theme was inspired by Batik.

Apply it to your work! Pattern inspiration from 99designs:

Icon design by rgb 9

Pattern design by ainz_o

T-shirt design by beaniebeagle

Web page design by echo404

Want more inspiration on patterns? Get started with 35 Useful Photoshop Patterns.

Have pattern design resources? Please share.

Collaboration, creativity, and color.
Illona Poluan
View all posts by Illona Poluan
Illona's website


  1. aimbuzz

    WOW, what a inspired! might works well on logos and twitter background.

    Thank’s Illona.

    Reply July 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm
  2. Alhuzin

    Good ideas, those look good. Very beatiful article. Terima kasih illona.

    Reply July 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm
  3. uniq

    Very nice, old in modern. :D matursuwun Illona.

    Reply July 2, 2012 at 5:18 pm
  4. suseno

    Cool post illona!

    Reply July 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm
  5. aring

    pengetahuan batik anda masih kurang illona :) masih banyak..

    Reply July 2, 2012 at 10:24 pm
  6. ndreart

    great article,Illona. cuma masih penasaran..ada ya coklat merk “Monggo”? :) salam kreatif.

    Reply July 3, 2012 at 3:57 am
    • DesignerNdeso

      ada… wah ente malu2in, gak ngerti coklat merk negri sendiri… That’s original chocolate from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Check this out

      Reply July 3, 2012 at 10:57 pm
  7. Inspirasi

    Sip, akhirnya batik dikenal dunia walau belum semua makna batik dipahami oleh semua orang.

    Reply July 3, 2012 at 4:55 am
  8. ronaru

    Very nice, a collaboration between modern & my country traditional design.

    Reply July 3, 2012 at 7:20 am
  9. mazyo2x

    Awesome, they are beautiful. From Indonesia for the world. We are very proud. Very inspiring.
    Thanks for the post Illona.

    Reply July 3, 2012 at 8:36 am
  10. Rizki

    You should visit Indonesia to know more about Batik.

    Reply July 3, 2012 at 10:31 am
  11. yellowsky

    yang penting jangan sampai ada yang nyebut batik berasal dari malaysia, karaena ini mahakarya nenek moyang kita indonesia!!!!!

    Reply July 4, 2012 at 5:07 am
  12. Dhidit_joj


    Reply July 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm
  13. Steve

    Really nice to see a traditional technique that hasn’t been lost and is actually still going strong being embraced in modern day design work. A really awesome Indonesian style, I didn’t know anything about it so thanks for sharing Illona, can’t wait to start experimenting with this. Cheers!

    Reply July 6, 2012 at 1:15 am
    • Illona

      You’re welcome! I’m glad you find this inspiring. Definitely try out the style in your designs =)

      Reply July 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm
  14. Kartiko

    nguri-nguri kabudayan..tumprap bekti ing tanah jawi.

    Reply July 6, 2012 at 4:22 am
  15. samull

    awesome article..
    i used to make this when im on junior high school..
    i sold my work to my teacher, he said that my work quite neat.. :D
    i really love batik..

    Reply July 9, 2012 at 10:43 am

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