Radial Designs

Play with Placement & Spatial Orientation


Radial designs start from a central point and radiate out like the spokes of a wheel or the rays of the sun. Radial designs build upon patterning concepts and skills. However, they are more difficult to create than patterns since the position and spatial orientation of the lines and shapes change in each section of the design.

To create a radial design is to play with the intersection of one’s own inventive ideas and a set of rules.


What is a radial design? How could you make one?

Look for radial designs on plates, platters, and jewelry, as well as in flowers, on clothing, and in machine parts and the built environment. Show an example of a radial design. Ask students to point out and name elements that repeat – lines, shapes, markings, colors.

De La Cal Barreira, Spain

Many radial designs appear complicated, but when you look closely, you will see that the elements are really just basic lines and shapes. It is the number of elements and the way they are placed that make them look so complex.


Demonstrate the directions for getting started. Discuss the variables of direction, position, and number – as you demonstrate. Build on suggestions from your students.


Share & Reflect

Variations & Extensions