QUICK WAYS TO USE PATTERNS
A good way to illustrate the many ways you can use them is through a recent redesign of my website.
Patterns were used as a repeating background. Many of the patterns have a default white backgrounded, but don't let that stop you. In a peaceful design such as this they can be OVERLAYED over a strong color.
Fill a new layer with a desired color then,
Layer -> Layer Style -> Pattern Overlay -> Opacity
The same thing can be done with a free standing item. Such as this origami kimono. Which has a screen tone brush over a light flower pattern (the grey flowers)
Do the same thing as Way 1 except at the beginning choose the MAGIC WAND, FILL in a NEW LAYER then erase around the items you don't want overlayed (such a the green piece inside the kimono.
Patterns can be used if you'd like to put a border around and item.
Choose your LAYER or TEXT then
Layer -> Layer Style -> Stroke -> Drop down box Fill type: choose PATTERN -> pick pattern -> OK -> Stroke size -> Okay
Patterns are a great way to make text interesting. You can overlay or stroke the item. Either follow example 1 (for overlay) or 3 (for stroking) to do exactly how the example shown.
♥ Do not use Photoshop's default patterns. Why? Anyone who owns a copy of Photoshop knows what they look like so they automatically can make your design seem unoriginal. (See links how to get more patterns)
♥ Employ patterns for text. They're one of the easiest ways to make text look interesting (example 2). Expierement with only using one letter or a line below items (example 3). Example 2 was from a manga screentone set. Screentone sets outside of comics can work really well for many designs, so download them ^^.
excuse the quick and ugly of example 3, but hopefully it helps illustrate a few things
♥ Expierement with using patterns in LJ icons such as hair overlay (example 5) or backgrounds (example 4).
GREAT LINKS WHERE TO FIND PATTERNS