The book I read was Graphic Design: The New Basics by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole. I found the chapter on patterns to be very interesting. Styles and motifs of patterns have evolved within cultures and fashion. For example, in the twentieth century, designers avoided ornate detail in favor of minimal adornment. Today, surface pattern is all about creating a vibrant composition.
The chapter states the rebirth surface patterns is due to the revival of craft in architecture, products, and interiors. In the nineteenth century, designers began analyzing how patterns are made. They found that nearly any pattern arises from three basic forms which are isolated elements, linear elements, and the criss-crossing or interaction of the two. They state that many different terms have been used to name these elements, but we commonly call them dots, stripes, and grids. For example, they claim form can be considered a dot, from a simple circle to an ornate flower. A stripe, on the other hand, is a linear path. It can consist of a straight, solid line, or it can be built up from smaller elements such as dots that link together to visually form a line. Additionally, these two basic structures, dots and stripes, interact to form grids. As a grid takes shape, it loses the identity of the separate elements in favor of a larger texture. Creating that larger texture is what pattern design is all about according to the book.