inkscape-pattern-feature-image

How To Insert A Pattern Into Text With Inkscape

When redesigning my website, A Brit In Buenos Aires, I wanted the header image with stylised text with the word Brit standing out as per the above image. For this, I would have to go back to a procedure I had used when designing the book cover for my novel. For that, I used Inkscape, an open-source vector graphics program that, as the name suggests, is completely free of charge. Amazing really, considering what the software can do, and believe me, it took me weeks to finally discover the best way to achieve this effect.

Find The Pattern You Want To Use

I knew I wanted part of the Union Flag in the text, so I downloaded several JPG versions of the flag and started from there.

First, click File>Import.

inkscape-import-picture

Create A Pattern From An Image

Once the picture is imported into the document you need to create a pattern out of it by highlighting the picture, clicking Object in the top menu and finally, Pattern>Objects to pattern.

This action produces a pattern with a random numbered name, which you’ll use later. Next, choose the writing tool on the left of the window and type your word.

inkscape-use-write

In my case, I wanted a substantial and bold font, so I chose Franklin Gothic Heavy by selecting it in the tools on the right.

I also increased the font size to 200 so the pattern would stand out. Next, I selected the created text and then clicked Fill And Stroke in the top right and clicked on the tiny pattern icon.

inkscape-fill-and-stroke

A numerical list of patterns should then appear. I chose the one I had created earlier and clicked on it. This action filled the text with parts of the flag image pattern I had created earlier.

The next step is to manipulate the pattern within the text, for which you will need to use the Node Tool, which can be found in the top left under Select Tool.

inkscape-node-tool

The pattern controls aren’t easy to spot at first so you’ll have to zoom out to find them. I’ve indicated where they are with the arrows in the above image and this chart tells you what they do.

pattern-controls-inkscape

The controls are very useful if you have a pattern such as a flag where you only want a certain area of the pattern to show in the text. If it’s a simple solid pattern, it’s a lot easier and probably wouldn’t need any manipulation.

Export The Image As A PNG With A Transparent Background

This final step is very important because, in my case anyway, I wanted to use the image elsewhere and it was vital that it should have a transparent background. This is so that the only visible element is the patterned text, meaning that you can place it anywhere within another image just as if it belongs there. Click Export PNG Image in the top right, then Export As, with your preferred file name.

It’s important to remember to first select your image with the select tool, which is the very first tool in the top left of the program dialogue menu. The transparency can be set in the document properties.

Place The New Patterned Text Into The Project

For this, I use Snagit, simply because I’m so familiar with how it works and I opened the image I wanted, typed two separate blocks of text, inserted the newly patterned exactly where I wanted it to go, and voila! I then saved the image as a JPG to be used on my website.

I could probably use Inkscape for the entire process, seeing as it’s such a remarkable program and free of charge, to boot. I’ve also used Gimp, another free, open-source vector graphics suite and I can highly recommend them both.

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