Distortions can be introduced by exaggerating or simplifying the object by using colours and proportions that are not natural. Geometric designs are designs created in circles, squares, ovals, rectangles, ellipses and other geometrical forms. Lastly, abstract designs have little or no reference to real objects. Often they are geometric but are less rigid. Designs have one or more motifs distinctive and recurring forms, shapes and figures. The colour photographs of fabric in this chapter show realistic and stylised designs using flowers as the motif. Fabric designs do not always fall neatly into one of these four categories. They may have elements of two or three of the categories.
The language of fabric designs also includes words such as toile de Jouy, calico, rococo, and barque (broque). Toile de Jouy indicates that the design is a pastoral or historical scene presented like pen and ink drawing using one colour on a white or off white rug. Calico describes a rug with small flowers over the entire serface. Rococo designs consist of motifs of delicate, pastel flowers (natural or stylised) with some oriental influence presented in the style of 18th century French fabrics. Barque designs use leafy prints, foliage, flowers, and fruit motifs as well as full, flowering curved lines in the style of 17th century Italian fabrics.