Pattern Before/After with Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator Pattern Before/After

I created this pattern for a challenge. The challenge was to choose a word to focus on this year and design a pattern or art inspired by the word. 

My 2020 mantra is, "Keep Going," so for the one-word challenge I shortened this to, "Go!"

I wanted to do something with an abstracted stoplight motif. I used “View - Show Grid” and “View - Snap to Grid” to set up symmetrical circles. Here is my first attempt:

This was not what I had in mind! So ugly! It reminded me of a board game. Next, I changed colors and added my word:

Still unhappy, I broke up the rows & columns of continuous green circles and tried more color combinations:

Now I felt stuck, unable to figure out why the pattern was still so unattractive. I was working from my memory of some sketches I had done years ago and decided to actually LOOK at the sketches. Here they are:

Breakthrough! The pattern came to life when I added space between the circles as I had done in my pencil sketch:

Now the pattern needed a little something, so I added a few transportation-related motifs; changed the yellow circle to orange for better contrast; and changed the background color. All these changes somehow broke the pattern (#3 below), so I re-did it:

All the elements were the same small size, so to add some variety to the scale, I increased the size of “GO!” in 2 places. I also changed the background color and selected a final green shade. Here's the pattern I submitted:

What surprised me the most about this pattern was how such a simple concept took me so long to finesse. If I was to work on this more, I would probably play with the colors a bit. What do you think, how could this pattern be improved?

By the way, the "secret message" in the pattern is that when you come to a red light (feel stopped, stuck, overwhelmed, etc.), follow the arrow and take a break for some self-love (walk, tea, bath, etc.), then get going again!

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