Chunky Geo is possibly one of the best names ever for a pattern style. Beyond that, it’s also a gorgeously bold style of illustration and pattern motif that is a lot like how its name sounds — bold, big, simple and geometric. Even though it seems at first glance to be a fairly simple design style, Chunky Geo holds a lot of nuance through the use of color and placement. Let’s explore what makes Chunky Geo work and how to use the style effectively.
Make it Modular
Since Chunky Geo uses a lot of simple shapes it works well used in a modular way. You can keep the pattern design simple by just placing them in a basic repeating motif, or create larger visual systems by moving the different geo elements around, like in a puzzle, to create larger shape forms.
Tile design is practically made for Chunky Geo given that it’s already working within the shape of a basic square. Tile designers find artful ways to create visual interest and create nuanced patterns. The Brasilia Tile by Popham Design strikes just the right balance of visual complexity and the green color gives the design a natural yet modern look.
In this example, the shapes create stripes using color, yet still exist within the larger grid. Observing the pattern one can focus on the diagonal stripes or the shapes themselves.
Use Positive and Negative Space
Chunky Geo provides a great way for designers to explore positive and negative space with bold and clear forms.
The Hey Shop GEO giclee print uses a white circle at a 45 degree angle to add a negative space focal point to the design and bring a sense of motion and tension to this artfully minimal composition.
Sea Stripes, another print at Hey Shop, creates a minimal sunset sailing scene. The sail boats are created with the placement of two white half circles tucked into blue bands, that represent the sea.
It’s All About Color
Chunky Geo is also a good pattern motif to choose if designers are working with color. Large shapes hold color and uplift them in a design. With Chunky Geo, color can be the star, versus line and detail. Color sometimes can clutter a design that has a lot of fine detail and take the attention away from those elements.
For the Poppytalk bar island exterior, color is used in a delectable way on this triangle pattern motif. The colors really draws the eye and give the room a cheerful and stylish vibe.
Chunky Geo can be incredibly expressive and especially through the use of high contrast color combinations. If a designer’s goal is to create a piece that makes a visual statement and can be seen from across the room, a chunky geo pattern motif in bright contrasted hues is a great place to start!
Dan Jazzia’s pattern set at Envato has chunky geo elements and a very bold, bright and high contrast color palette.
As an alternative, chunky geo can be used quite effectively in dark or neutral colors with very little color contrast. Applied this way, this design style is good at taking a backseat in a project to information design. Chunky Geo can add visual interest to an otherwise minimal and plain design, but not create unnecessary visual clutter that detracts from the message of the work.
The navigator notes card design uses a triangular pattern with a lovely low-contrast two color blue combination inspired by the Mediterranean Sea. The colors really add to the design, but still are a backdrop to the Octaevo logo. Subtle texturing also adds detail and visual interest.
Chunky Geo provides a simple way to add a little “3D” element to your designs as well. You can use color tone and shading to add a sense of dimensionality. Dimensionality and perspective gives the design more visual complexity and imbues it with a futuristic and forward reaching feel.
In the Bevel design project from Hello Mart Co, simple shapes are transformed into dimensional elements using colors that give the impression of the shapes existing in space.
Find Its Roots
The simple geometry of chunky geo also has some similarities to traditional craft patterning used in Japanese design. So chunky geo is also a good pattern motif if you are exploring the use of traditional and vintage pattern design in your otherwise contemporary projects.
Ikko Tanaka’s iconic geometric figuration may be the beginning of geo design en totale. In his minimal figurative design, the use of color to create a focal point is outstanding.
Zak and Fox take Japanese geo design elements and combine them with traditional Japanese Indigo ink. The final result is a design that has a traditional and rustic appeal and also a kind of modern minimal simplicity.
These are just some of the ways to use this illustration and pattern style. Chunky Geo is an adaptable pattern motif style with many applications and uses. It can be center stage in a design or work more as a backdrop for information and labelling. Chunky Geo works well as packaging design for food and beauty projects, as an eye-grabbing pattern on an event poster or as the motif used in the background of a billboard or trade show banner. How you use it in your own work is, as always, up to you, the designer. It’s definitely a fun design style to explore.