Patterns of gratitude: Anna Murray on our new book

Since founding PATTERNITY in London in 2009, we have built up a global following as a pattern-obsessed research practice, creative studio and image archive. Building on the success of our first book PATTERNITY: A New Way of Seeing in 2015, we have turned our eye and philosophical insights to the pragmatic and the everyday with a new publication, Be Great, Be Grateful.

A daily journal for the modern human, the new book explores how design and pattern shape the way we live our lives, through practical exercises designed to create positive thoughts and habits underpinned by conscious ritual and the simple act of taking the time to notice the world around us. We spoke to our friends at Zetteler about our belief in the power of gratitude…
What is a gratitude journal?
A gratitude journal is a workbook of prompts, ideas and daily entries designed to help you get into the habit of taking time out each day to stop and appreciate life’s moments, from the mundane to the magnificent. Ours has in-depth exercises, insights and playful ideas that we hope will help people get into this mindset and empower them to dig deeper and make gratitude a key part of their life.

What does gratitude mean to you?
Modern life can feel so overwhelming. We constantly feel that happiness is something “out there”, something we need to strive for. But so much of happiness is really (and so simply) about getting into the habit of being grateful. From appreciating a great cup of tea to marveling at the moon at night, the more we can take micro-moments to stop, see and notice the beauty and imperfection all around us, the more connected and content we can feel. 

How do you incorporate gratitude into your practice?
It’s so easy in life – and business – to look far ahead and always be onto the next project. We forget to take time to step back and appreciate what we’ve already achieved. Running a business (and being a human in general) can be pretty challenging and we’ve had some hard times both personally and professionally along the PATTERNITY road so far. Taking the time to note all the things that we’re grateful for has kept us going when the going has been tough. We’ve celebrated a successful relationship with a collaborator, having a supportive business partner and a loyal team, the opportunities open to women in business today. We want to be part of PATTERNITY for as long as we can; gratitude is a key ingredient to our sustainability, wellbeing and longevity. We’ve introduced rituals and celebrations into our team meetings, reviews and wider culture as a creative organisation. We even find ways to thank the trees that go into making our books! Giving back is essential to our practice: we try to work on as many charitable projects as we can.
"Gratitude is also fundamentally about giving back, considering our part within a much bigger picture. Seeing and appreciating this interconnectivity and wider relationships can have hugely positive and powerful results."
Anna Murray
"It’s been the perfect project to clarify our vision: PATTERNITY isn’t just an aesthetic endeavour, it’s also a mission to inspire others"
Anna Murray
Where did the idea of this journal come from?
For many years, we’ve been hosting events for our community of pattern enthusiasts and collaborators that explore the intersection of creativity and wellbeing, and bring our more in-depth pattern research to life. We were fortunate that Elen Jones (our editor at Ebury) happened to attend one of our Mindful Marbling workshops, during which she learned more about what lies beneath the surface at PATTERNITY and how closely our philosophy links with gratitude and the development of healthy patterns of behaviour. We’d been wanting to explore and share these ideas further with a book, so it all fell into place really beautifully. 

Who is this book for?
Since PATTERNITY launched in 2009, we’ve attracted an engaged community of pattern enthusiasts active within the creative industries. This book is for everyone who wants to explore their inner patterns of behaviour and nurture their own wellbeing. They just need to be curious and open to the idea of using their inner creativity to design some positive change in their lives!

Can you tell us a bit about the process of making this book?
The journal’s ideas and concepts come from our own research and personal explorations over the last few years. We needed to find a way to simplify and consolidate them into something useful and easy-to-follow. We began by looking at the imagery from our own archive and our key inspirations and values. We wanted a sense of growth and development, so we came up with a three-part structure taking the reader on a journey, from the everyday world (The Mundane) to the body (Me) and our wider patterns and relationships (The Magnificent). We found lots of inspiring quotes and started designing the exercises, conceiving the journal’s ponderings and ways we could communicate its core themes and ideas.

Why was it important for PATTERNITY to make this journal?
Moving into the world of wellbeing felt like a very timely step for us. We’ve been exploring the impact of positive patterns for many years through our creative events and experiences, always looking for deeper meaning and relevance in people’s lives. We want our work to make a difference. 
"We’re honoured to have influence and a platform: we want to use our creativity as consciously as possible to inspire others to consider their patterns of behaviour for more positive, more purposeful lives."
Anna Murray
How did it differ from that of A New Way of Seeing: The Inspirational Power of Pattern?
That was really a retrospective of our first seven years of projects, research and pretty weighty philosophy. It was a huge undertaking involving hundreds of contributions from our network of pattern explorers. Be Great, Be Grateful takes the same philosophy but translates into something more simple and playful. It’s less about showcasing our projects and more about bringing our core values to life – a collection of actionable exercises rather than a hardback coffee table book. It’s a lot more accessible and inclusive; that’s exciting to us.

What was the most enjoyable part of working on this new book?
Once we had the core structure in place and had designed the exercises, it was great to start seeing the ideas and visuals come together. It was a wonderful challenge to design something beautiful that people would really use and want to carry around with them each day. Keeping it simple and useful was a key focus for us. Pairing our imagery archive with our key statements and core philosophies was such a nourishing process, it felt like it was all being brought to life. We even brought the story full circle through the hand-marbled cover, paying homage to the way the book had come about and the journey we’d all been on together in making it. 

What have you learned from making this book?
It was a really interesting process to begin to translate our real-life events into actionable exercises that people would be able to follow on a wider scale. From meditations on the patterns of the breath to guided ideas on how to go on a solo day out in nature or ponderings on the patterns of the solar system, it was a big learning curve to take our approach to design and translate it into meaningful experiences that will hopefully inspire people to think about pattern and how it relates to them in new and unexpected ways.

What is the most important thing you wish readers take away and incorporate into their lives from Be Great, Be Grateful?
At its core the journal simply asks you to become more aware of the patterns that shape your everyday life. It invites readers to take little steps back each day to pause, reflect and break their autopilot pattern of rushing from A to B. 

"We want to inspire people to stop, notice and indeed celebrate the moments that we often overlook, because together these make up the tapestry of our lives."
Anna Murray
Explore positive patterns and the power of gratitude in our journal Be Great Be Grateful