A few days ago my iPhone started to misbehave to such an extent that a reset was required. The reset itself was fairly painless, but I only discovered after a resync that I’d lost most of my wallpapers. And they were the ones I liked, drat it. I tend to prefer non-distracting, dark wallpapers – which are fairly few and far between – so I was pretty miffed to discover I’d completely lost my favourite backgrounds. And I wasn’t in the mood for embarking on a forensic dissection of iPhone backups! I’ve since found some of the lost wallpapers through a bit of search-engine detectivery, but it got me thinking, “why don’t I design my own?”. And so I did, using a few of my patterns on a linen-textured base. And pretty chuffed I am with the result: subtle wallpapers, with an injection of colour and rhythym. So chuffed, in fact, that I’m sharing them with you. Now, bear in mind that I’m pretty new to this game, so if they look horrible, please let me know what appears to be the problem and I’ll try again. I’ve got two zip files. One contains wallpapers for the iPhone 4S, the other has wallpapers for the iPhone 5. I haven’t had time to research what the requirements are for older generations of the iPhone, but if you’d like to try my wallpapers and the 4S set I’ve created doesn’t work for you, let me know what model you have and I’ll do my best to match them to your needs. And if you have a different kind of smartphone entirely but would love to give these wallpapers a try, let me know too. Both sets contain 3 different geometric, slightly retro patterns in two different colourways. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are there colours you’d like to see, and do you prefer a light or a dark wallpaper? If this proves popular, I may try to release a fresh set every couple of weeks. I know many people probably set their wallpaper to a favourite photograph, as I’ve done on my iPad, but my brain prefers the non-distracting nature of a dark, subtle pattern on the smaller screen!

Download to Desktop and install via iTunes

The following links are for all of the images bundled into a single zip file. To install them on your phone, you will first need to unzip them and transfer them to your phone by syncing with iTunes.

And here’s a glimpse of what you can expect. I have 3 designs, each in two different colourways. The first picture below shows Deco in Eggplant, Clamshells in Ink and Sputnik in Chocolate. The second shows Clamshells in Violet, Deco in Teal and Sputnik in Charcoal. I’ve placed the word preview over them simply so it doesn’t look like the combined preview images are the download files!

Preview of three retro-inspired, patterned wallpapers for iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 in the violet, teal and charcoal colourways
Retro-inspired wallpapers for iPhone 4S and iPhone 5: Clamshells in Violet, Deco in Teal, and Sputnik in Charcoal

Preview of three retro-inspired, patterned wallpapers for iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 in the eggplant, ink and chocolate colourways
Retro-inspired wallpapers for iPhone 4S and iPhone 5: Deco in Eggplant, Clamshells in Ink and Sputnik in Chocolate

Download individual files directly to your phone

You can’t use iPhone 5 wallpapers on an iPhone 4 and vice versa because they require the images to be in a different ratio, so please be sure you’re clicking on the correct link for your device. If you install your wallpaper and it doesn’t fill the full width and/or height of your screen, then you’ve probably downloaded the wrong image! So, to save one of these files to your iPhone:

  1. Click on the relevant link. This will load the wallpaper image into your browser.
  2. Tap and hold on the image until a menu pops up. Select Save Image. This will save the image to your Camera Roll.
  3. Click your browser back button to bring you back to this screen. Clunky, I know. I’ll have to find a more seamless solution!
  4. Now you can go to your iPhone Wallpaper settings (Settings > Brightness and Wallpaper). Click on the image of your screen. This will bring up all the possible folders you can select a wallpaper from. You will find your downloaded image under ‘Camera Roll’

If you’d like to know more about the patterns:

  • Sputnik is the background pattern in my Champagne Moment Greeting Card, and also features in my Sputnik brooch. The sputnik-like shape that forms the base of the pattern is derived from champagne glasses (the old-fashioned coupes) rotated around a bubble, but several people have observed that it looks like coffee beans.
  • Deco is an adaptation of a pattern that features on my Lady Baa Baa brooch. The pattern I’ve used in the brooch is fact one of the default Illustrator pattern swatches, but with this wallpaper design I’ve given it a personal twist.
  • Clamshells has not been featured in anything I’ve made for sale. I designed it for a letterpress workshop I participated in a few years ago, where I was experimenting with coasters made out of beermat card. It was inspired by the beautiful simplicity of the curves and radiating lines of clamshells, of which there are many on Southern Tasmanian beaches. Arranged in sets of three, they look almost floral!