Digital Carpet Assignment

Students in Art 1013 : 2d Digital Design classes created their own digital carpet designs and animations using Adobe illustrator and photoshop software. Investigation of Turkish and Arabic decorative arts led to the development of motifs for border and field patterns based on symmetries evident in traditional carpet designs.

see: Math Forum

Symmetry + Pattern website

carpet by Michelle Miller

Students first developed their designs in black and white in illustrator.
Black and White Design by Amber Parker

carpet border design by Chris Hagen


After the introduction of color theory, each rendered a final carpet design using a color harmony of their own choice using photoshop.

full color carpet design by Chris Hagen


Final carpets were printed in sections and tiled to large format. Students also tested simple animation techniques possible using photoshop and imageready software. These were combined with electronica/ world music in imovie to generate a danceable light show.
view more carpets in the online exhibit

Click to online exhibit > digital carpets

to view carpet gallery

Click to online exhibit > digital carpets in motion

to view streaming QT movie of animated carpets
Mounting Tiled Project

Class Critiques





13 thoughts on “Digital Carpet Assignment

  1. Describe your use of color harmony in the final carpet:
    Ohh. That’s a tough one for me, being color blind and all. I went with tried and true color harmony of the German flag for my primary color harmony. I believe that’s more of a warm color scheme, tough for me to tell. I then added the blue to represent Norway and Sweden, which gives the design some added surprise, and adds a bit of complimentary with the gold. (The blue is a rather dark blue to me.) I also very much wanted to create something that looked like it was gilded and or stained glass like you might find in a church or temple. That is part of the reason I added the bronzes and text in gold. It gave the piece to me a metal frame feeling with an elaborate gold inscription.

    Describe how this carpet design was influenced by other designs you found in global culture:
    That’s easy. I wanted to incorporate my heritage into the piece. The colors are the same used on the German flag, with the addition of the Norwegian and Swedish blue. The field patterns large cross is based on both those flags as well. Part of the cross’s design is also related to a Celtic cross to represent my Irish heritage. And finally, the shapes of the border and field pattern in hindsight now look sort of fleur de lyses like. (I think that’s what its called, found in many a French coat of arms.)


  2. Starting the carpet was a struggle because I wanted to do something that had to do with ballet, but as I kept working and putting my designs together all these other shapes were appearing and my focus shifted. All the tulip shapes in the field pattern were completely an accident but I’m glad it happened because it gave me a new focus. The black and white carpet was difficult because I had a lot of line patterns and there wasn’t enough contrast between black and white, so I made more shapes to solve that problem. Also, finding colors that fit my carpet and worked well together was a challenge because I had so many choices that I liked but nothing seemed to work. Finally I just let the computer change the hues to see what types of colors I could find and I ended up with what I have now.

    All in all I think my carpet turned out great. It has flow and unity. The colors are a bit like spring and Easter, but surprisingly don’t seem annoying or overwhelming. I worked really hard on this trying to find what looked good and how to make it original and interesting to look at. After all the hard work I think I did a good job and I’m proud of my work. I learned that sometimes too much of the same thing can be boring and that stepping outside of your box and just trying something new can show you something really surprising and give you great ideas that you maybe wouldn’t have come up with if you just stuck to a plan.


  3. I think that this project was really neat. It opened me to a type of design that I had never done before, and I found it really cool to see what different people came up with.
    I am personally happy with my carpet, taking from the reflective patterns inspired by Turkish & Arabic decorative motifs, and applying it to my own modern style. It was a great learning experience.


  4. Having knowledge of any program you are using prior to working on a project helps too much to express on this paper. I would have been lost if I would not have taken the time to understand important tools of both programs used. To design anything like these carpets; it is mandatory to be creative in some way. Everyone has his or her own creativity, which is the best part of the project. We all expressed our own creativeness, and went through struggles to complete this project. It takes some time, but once it is finally complete, a sense of real accomplishment surrounds you and it feels amazing.


  5. Looking at what was hoped and what was accomplished through this carpet, I do sense a taste of the traditional arabesque and tulip. At the same time, with a few units blown up to larger proportions, bright double complimentary colors, and the play of asymmetrical balance, I feel that a trendier and more playful side was able to pull through. Overall, through this project I feel that I better understand the concepts of color, balance, and the use of negative/positive space.


  6. I thought that the finished project turned out far better than I ever expected or hoped it would. Even when I printed it out on the final color sheets it really tied together when I matted it on the matte board. It really made me realize how many delicate hours are spent planning designs and then actually completing them. It gave me a whole new outlook on the tulip and arabesque design theme. Overall, after seeing everyone else’s project I was very happy with all the different styles and color themes that were produced.


  7. Our work with the digital carpets offered us an insight to the workings of the traditional Turkish tile art as well as giving us an opportunity to expand on the tulip and arabesque using our own personal touches. It was a huge learning experience using two design programs–Photoshop and Illustrator. The carpets offered us a simple format to explore and create on over an extended period of time. The duration of the project allowed us to constantly develop our ideas and reconstruct our carpets time after time. The project offered us exploration into the Turkish styles as well as further investigate our own creative process.


  8. The digital carpet project has been a great way to expand the knowledge that I have been gaining this semester. Turkey has so many ideas with symbols, field pattern, border patterns, calligraphy, floral patterns, and various other forms, it is may be hard to get into but with further knowledge about Turkey it will provide a lot of inspiration for a digital rug or any other project.


  9. COMMENTS FROM FALL 2006 students:

    I really enjoyed seeing the many works that each individual had put so many hours into developing a great design. As much fun as the rugs were to make, through burdens and happy accidents, it was a lot more fun to animate the carpets. It was very enjoyable to see all the different possiblilties a flat rug can become with a little work with the paint bucket and the eraser. It was a lot of fun and I would definitely do it again.
    Posted by: Michelle Poirier | December 14, 2006 10:44 AM

    The carpet assignment has been one of the more challenging projects that I have done in a design class. It was enjoyable and I learned a lot about function, shapes, color and art form. It was not only a challenge designing the rug, but making the finished product was a little complex. Overall, I learned many different parts of the design process, and found it to be frustrating and rewarding at the same time. I think I would be willing to do it again, if it was a few months from now!
    Posted by: Marisa Mckie | December 14, 2006 12:09 PM

    The carpet assignment was a really cool process. I didn’t even realize how much time had gone by during that unit. The final carpets were really sweet. I was surprised and impressed at the final products. People really came out of their shell, I felt. I truly did learn photoshop without knowing it, even though when it was first mentioned I didn’t take it seriously. I think the best part, however, was struggling so much with my carpet, finishing it up, being not completely happy with it and THEN getting to see how everyone else wrapped theirs up, solved the problems, and went about their design completely differently. Some of those rugs were soooo nice!
    Posted by: molly martancik | December 14, 2006 12:14 PM

    I think the carpet design project was my favorite project. It was a great way to begin learning and working with Photoshop. It was also a good project to begin color with. I also learned how to print in sections to make a larger final product, which I definitely have benefited from for future designs or projects. It is great to see all the carpets displayed and examine the techniques people used to make their designs. I am happy with my design, but my final carpet was poorly mounted. It is great to learn we have that lab available for mounting. I think that was the most difficult part of the carpet process. Overall, I just learned a lot and really enjoyed the time spent on the carpets!
    Posted by: Jessica Boll | December 14, 2006 12:20 PM

    The carpet project was a very interesting project. Its amazing how many ideas could come out and be so different. Everyone had to put a personal touch into their carpet, and I think that really helped make it your own, and work a little harder on it. We spent the most time on this project, inside and outside of class. But in the end we all came out with really nice projects.
    Posted by: Taisha Navarro | December 14, 2006 12:49 PM

    I found this project to be very challenging but intrueging. It was fun to look for ideas from other cutures and use some of the designs from them. I found that I put more time into this project than I have on any other design project in my career. I enjoyed making something of another culture and putting my personal touch into it. Puting together the final piece was a huge relief. Overall it was a fun project to do.
    Posted by: Mary Otis | December 14, 2006 02:12 PM

    It was really nice to see how the long process of this project unfolded. It was interesting to analyze my motivation of the process as it was a long one. Some days I would have rather done anything else besides designed a carpet, while other days hours went by while working on it without me even realizing it. I feel the end product was a direct result of work put in. I’m pleased.
    Posted by: Brit Salmela | December 14, 2006 02:40 PM

    I really enjoyed the carpet design assignment. It was a tough project that took many hours and included many aspects that I never thought I would have to think about such as doing the math to make sure things fit and worked out perfectly. I would have to say, despite many frustrations, that it was my favorite project of the the class. Making the carpets into a movie was also a neat aspect and I had fun altering my carpet to create a show.
    Posted by: Laura Schultz | December 14, 2006 03:59 PM

    I thought the carpet design project was the best assignment all semester. It left a lot of room for creativity, challenges, and gave an oppurtunity to put everyone’s true design technique to great use. It was a long process, but I feel that that was necessary to allow us all to really make our carpets something worth while. I thought they all turned out well and I’m proud to say I was a part of this project : )
    Posted by: Ethan Skelton | December 14, 2006 04:04 PM

    I really enjoyed the carpet project because the larger scale and overall process was something new to me. It was a challenge but I learned so much from it. The carpet project gave me a lot of confidence for future projects in illustrator and photoshop. All the time and hardwork paid off for the final product.
    Posted by: Jenny Geske | December 14, 2006 06:00 PM

    I really enjoyed the carpet assignment. It was challenging but also allowed creativity. There were standards that we had to follow with the assignment however it was open-ended at the same time. We were all given the ecact same goals and we all made something completely different. All together the best part about the assignment was the introducing of other cultures to the students. I think this is very important and more classes should have this element of learning built into the curriculum! Thank you, it was a great assignment.
    Posted by: Ashley Grossoehme | December 14, 2006 08:19 PM

    The one element I enjoyed more so in association with the carpet design project was viewing them in the showcase along with the digital designs on the laptop. I feel that properly displaying images, in this case the carpets makes the difference between ordinary and exceptional. This was a very difficult yet rewarding experience for each of us, with a possitive outcome. Learning new programs through the process we took I feel was much more exciting and interesting than if we would have read from the mannual. I really love this technique for instructing the class.
    Posted by: Melissa Aydt | December 14, 2006 09:13 PM

    I think that the carpet assignment was especially interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. At first I found it to be interesting and difficult, but once I got going I was on a role! I think that the process of how it all came together and all of the different things that people did was quite interesting and I found it to be a good experience. This project was unlike any other of our projects and I think it was my favorite one, and I like what I ended up with.
    Posted by: Sina Richert | December 14, 2006 11:24 PM

    Designing the carpets was a long process. It was a really good way to transition us into Photoshop. I thought that this was a fun assignment that allowed students to reveal more about themselves and their personal style. I struggled a lot with matting but other than that things went pretty well for me.
    Posted by: Amanda Planting | December 15, 2006 09:22 AM

    Overall, I found this to be an intriguing exercise in software integration and design theory. It was very rewarding to see everyone’s carpets develop and eventually evolve into their final forms.
    Posted by: Chris hagen | December 15, 2006 09:56 PM

    I enjoyed working with the color and with the layout of the large project. Being able to apply the use of Illustrator and Photoshop helped me understand both programs and also how to utilize both in one project. I also liked seeing the finished poduct. It was fun to look at everyone elses and see what they did to accomplish the goals of the assignment.
    Posted by: Carrie Bethel | December 15, 2006 10:53 PM

    The Carpet project was a lot of fun. It was good to work with something with actual size to it! The project really taught me a lot by forcing me to think differently about pattern and design. It was a lot different than any other digital stuff I had done. I like projects like these because they broaden your skills and tools as an artist. It forced me to loosen up, but also buckled me down at the same time. I had to work within the rules of the assignment, but then also figure out how to make it my own creation with some of me in it.
    Posted by: Dan Fordice | December 19, 2006 07:59 PM


  10. It was really very beutiful & amgine deasign.I am very like these deasigns & i hope these deasign is make a popular deasign in carpets world.I m also carpets exporter so in my opinion these deasign is very best deasign in the carpet markets.


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