Learn how to use the Duplicate tool in Shutterstock Editor to create seamless patterns that work as eye-catching backgrounds for social media and more.

Cover image via Farknot Architect. Instagram mock up via Artem Maschenko.   

A seamless pattern is an image or texture that can be duplicated and placed side-by-side without distinct borders or separations. You can infinitely repeat the image to create a unique background for your designs. In this tutorial, we will apply seamless patterns in Shutterstock Editor to create a stylish ad for Instagram.

Step 1: Set Canvas Size

Design Simple, Stylish Social Media Posts Using Patterned Backgrounds – Set Canvas Size
Begin by opening up the program and choosing a canvas size from the Preset Sizes (P) tool. I chose the Instagram Post size at 1080 x 1080 pixels. You can choose from other sizes, depending on the social media platform you are targeting.


Step 2: Search for Seamless Pattern

Design Simple, Stylish Social Media Posts Using Patterned Backgrounds – Search
Navigate to the Search (S) tool and type in “seamless pattern” to bring up various images. I chose a light blue marbled stone pattern, inspired by the Natural Luxury creative trend. Select your image and hit Replace Background to transfer it over to your canvas.

You’ll notice a watermark on the pattern when you place it on your canvas. Once we download and license the image after we’re done editing, those watermarks will be automatically removed.


Step 3: Duplicate and Tile Image

Design Simple, Stylish Social Media Posts Using Patterned Backgrounds – Duplicate Image
Select the image and drag one of the corner handles to scale down the pattern.

Design Simple, Stylish Social Media Posts Using Patterned Backgrounds – Duplicate Image

Duplicate the image by clicking on the Duplicate tool button in the right-hand panel of the app. You can also right-click on the image and select Duplicate from the dropdown menu.

Take your time on this part; lining up the images is key to a successfully tiled image. Misaligned images will show a break between contiguous patterns. There are handy red guides to indicate if your image is perfectly aligned. Rinse and repeat until you’ve fill up the canvas with tiled images.


Step 4: Add Shapes and Text

Design Simple, Stylish Social Media Posts Using Patterned Backgrounds – Add Shapes and Text
I will draw out a simple square shape with the Shapes (H) tool to create an area for text. Drag the corners and increase the size of the square while holding down the Option key to keep the shape centered on the canvas.

To change the color of the square, click on the Fill Color circle and select from Presets or Custom. I sampled a light blue color from my tiled background using the eyedropper tool, then reduced the Opacity of my shape to 75% to allow some of the pattern to show through.

Design Simple, Stylish Social Media Posts Using Patterned Backgrounds – Add Shapes and Text

Draw out a stroked border with the Shapes tool and resize to your liking. Hold down the Option key once again to keep the shape centered. I customized the stroke color and sampled a blue grey color from the marble, then reduced the Opacity down to 75%.

Design Simple, Stylish Social Media Posts Using Patterned Backgrounds – Choose Font

Add text by activating the Text (A) tool and selecting Add Headline. This will start you off with a larger font to use for headlines. I used Gravitas One to call attention to my BOGO Sale, then clicked and dragged the corners to resize the text.

Design Simple, Stylish Social Media Posts Using Patterned Backgrounds – Add Subheadline

Apply a subheadline by clicking over to the Text tool and hitting Add Subheadline. Subheadlines act as level-two text in type hierarchy and often supplement the headline. I typed out the BOGO Sale details in Dancing Script for a nice flourish and contrast to the headline.

Move the layers around with arrow keys for bigger adjustments or shift+arrow keys for smaller ones. Play around with different positions to see what works best for you.

Design Simple, Stylish Social Media Posts Using Patterned Backgrounds – Position Text

Once the text layers are situated, select and group with the Group tool. Center the text on the canvas with the Alignment tool for an even appearance. When items are grouped together, you can change the color of all items in one click. For my design, I sampled a dark blue from the marble for the text to really stand out.


Step 5: License and Download

Design Simple, Stylish Social Media Posts Using Patterned Backgrounds – License and Download Image
Hit the red Download button, and set your image as a JPG at 72 dpi.

Or, to export directly to Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, click on the Share button, and authorize your social media accounts.

That’s all it takes! Your finished design should look something like this; you are now free to upload to any platform you desire.

Design Simple, Stylish Social Media Posts Using Patterned Backgrounds – Social Media Post


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