Patterns are all around us in architecture, graphics, or art. The Arabesque is a type of ornament which can be traced back to ancient Egyptian and Byzantine art. I can be found in Mughal palaces in India, in medieval English art, and in the gardens of French chateaus. To research the contemporary appeal of ornaments and color combinations, we developed an algorithm to generate abstract patterns based on Arabesques with different complexities and tested the perception on different groups of people. Compositions with non-contingent connections are generally perceived as chaotic. For the perception of ornaments as pleasant and harmonious, complexity, symmetry and contingency play important roles. Different configurations of contingent compositions and colors tend to evoke different historical and cultural connotations - they can be perceived as Islamic, Gaelic, or French.
Try out a version of the pattern generator for symmetric and contingent patterns online. A new pattern is generated every few seconds. Click the pattern to start, click again stop pattern generation: