Welcome to Patternland

Welcome to Patternland

 Written by: Tyler Deal, Senior Designer at Cappello's



Patterns are a cornerstone of our brand’s look and feel. They adorn our packaging and serve as framing devices for our food photography, but they’re so much more than just decoration. Inspired by the sacred geometry found in nature and the land from which we source ingredients, each product features a custom pattern inspired by the inherent characteristics of the food they represent— a subliminal nod to the taste, texture, and ingredients.

The amount of care and consideration put into the development of the product before it even gets to the design department (aka, me), informs the way I approach each pattern. Using a loose framework for each type of product line, I always start from scratch, just like our R&D team does when they're creating the recipe.

These patterns are a way for me to pay homage not only to the product, but to all the hands and hearts that created it. 



The Process 


I start by doing a hefty amount of research and discovery— I study Cappello’s patterns that have already been designed to be mindful of not recreating the same one twice, while simultaneously gathering inspiration from them. The challenge here is that they all share the same shapes: triangles, lines, and polygons.

Next, I create creative guidelines for myself. These guidelines could come in the form of a hero shape I want to use, abstract ideas like “what if it rained buttermilk” or “represent the refinement of butter to ghee using only triangles,” or a fully formed shape that pops into my mind while walking around or taking a shower. Ideas strike at all hours— I’ve literally woken up in the middle of the night with a pattern shape fully formed in my head. It's a blessing and a curse, people.

Then comes the really fun part: sketching! Yes, I use an actual pen on actual paper (shout out to the Paper Mate Flair felt-tip pen). I walk away from my computer and draw. Walking away from my normal desk is the most important part— changing my environment allows for new perspectives and for my imagination to float freely. Paradoxically, the final solution often comes when I’m not thinking about the patterns at all. 

But, sometimes creativity is about blind faith in your visual instincts. And most importantly, being decisive.


Cappello's Pattern Sketch 01One page, out of many, from my sketchbook

When I have a shape, or arrangement of shapes, I’m excited about, I head to the computer to recreate my hand-drawn in Adobe Illustrator. And this is where creativity meets its dreaded counterpart… math. (dun, dun, dunnnn). Angles, ratios, proportions, oh my! They almost never turn out exactly how I drew them in my sketchbook because my hand is imprecise by nature. But, sometimes creativity is about blind faith in your visual instincts. And most importantly, being decisive.

My first idea is almost always too complicated, but it's so much easier to start with "more" and curate to "less." After countless iterations, I place the pattern on the package for which it was developed. Our packaging all have strips of patterning on the fronts, but there is a whole lot more to do from there. The question then becomes: how do I create variations on the main pattern strip that will adorn the rest of the packaging panels? That process is often just about repetition and pulling apart the main pattern to find new visual relationships and interesting rhythms. 

Below, I've outlined my inspiration for three of our new products. Welcome to Patternland!


From Sketch to Final Pattern

Buttermilk Biscuits

The sketch was born out of the question "what if clouds rained buttermilk?" I then imagined what a buttermilk storm might look like rendered in our geometry. You can see how the shapes expand and support the main cloud shape. Once I find my rhythm and the main shape, I drop-in to a flow state that I affectionately call Patternland. Yes, I go crosseyed sometimes.

Buttermilk Biscuit Pattern

Sketch (left), featured shape (right), full pattern (below)

Buttermilk Full


Everything Biscuits

I was inspired by the idea of tearing a biscuit in half with your hands. I asked myself how that would be represented as a freeze-frame in our geometry. During my sketching process, the shape below jumped out at me. I decided to repeat/flip it/reflect it across the middle of the pattern strip, then support it with holding shapes using our tried and true triangles and lines.

Everything Pattern Reveal

Sketch (left), featured shape (right), full pattern (below)

Everything Full Pattern



Rigaté. That's what the striations in a penne noodle are called. How could I resist using a word so fun to inspire the pattern? Driven by the rigaté and the bias cut of the noodles (the angle cut at the end of each noodle), I quickly sketched this rough pattern strip below, which informed the finished geometry. It's not exact, but I keep my sketches loose and fill in details later.



Now that I've revealed some pattern secrets, I'm left feeling vulnerable and raw. My creativity is tied directly to my sense of self, so this is the equivalent to sharing a dairy entry you'd never want anyone to read— a love poem to your unrequited love or a bad break-up song you wrote just to write, not read aloud.

Excuse me while I go hide in Patternland to dream up some new geometry and gather energy for the next product!