The Trick with Geometrics

It would be fair to say that my wrapping preference is for fabulous florals, kraft paper or plain colours with textures as well as ribbons and bows. But from time to time it is important to move outside your comfort zone to something that really captures your eye. For me, that is the wonderful world of geometrics. In fact, I think the adjective geometric just might be my favourite word this week.

The Oxford Dictionary tells us that geometric (via French from Latin geometricus, from Greek geōmetrikos, itself from geōmetrēs) means relating to geometry or according to its methods; characterized by or decorated with regular lines and shapes – think rectangles, circles and squares or any combination thereof.

In archaeology, the word geometric relates to or denotes a period of Greek culture (around 900 -700 BC) characterised by geometrically decorated pottery while in architecture the word denotes a style of Early English tracery based on the geometry of circles.

Geometric patterns make for great wrapping paper. But this is definitely one where there’s a column for strengths and a column for weaknesses .

On the strengths side of the equation is the fact that geometric patterns can make a big impact. The human eye loves symmetry and is drawn to patterns that repeat in a predictable way. Geometric wrapping paper works best when wrapping a regular shape like a box or something with large planes that can display the pattern to its best advantage. Some of the best geometrics are monochrome but full colour geometrics can be simply stunning. In addition, geometric wrapping paper requires little, if any embellishment, because the pattern is doing the heavy visual lifting.

On the weaknesses side, it can be difficult to match geometric patterns (which drives the perfectionists crazy) and they don’t lend themselves to oddly shaped gifts, scrunching, ruffling or pleating. Big geometric patterns do not work with really small gifts because there is not enough space to show the pattern and generally speaking only seeing part of a pattern looks rather odd. Conversely, tiny geometric patterns do not work so well on very large gifts because the impact is lost and at a distance it can look like a large swathe of plain paper.

So the trick is to match the size of the gift to the size of the geometric, making sure you have a number of pattern repeats so the eyes can process the fabulousness of the pattern. If you take a little extra care to centre the gift on the pattern when you wrap it, you will be rewarded with a great symmetrical look. As an habitual embellisher, my first response is always to embellish away. But the trick with geometrics is less is more and the very most you can get away with is a plain ribbon that does not compete with the pattern but makes it pop even further.

There are a lot of geometric gift wraps on the market as you’d expect, not all of them as memorable as others. My current favourite is the bright, tight range from ginjadesigns. The lovely Katrina Angel has created six colour palettes (cherry, marine, azure, zest, candy and lime) and there are six patterns (triangle, square, Morocco jellybean, Iberia and circles).

I thought my favourite was the azure/aqua range until a friend asked me to wrap some gifts for her Mother in the marine blue and I really liked it.  Happy marine Mother’s Day I say! One of the designs says Greek pottery to me while others speak of Early English tracery based on the geometry of circles.  No need for any extra embellishing  – the geometrics are the trick.

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