(I asked this question on English.SE, and the consensus appears to be that it is too narrow, so I should ask on Graphic Design. Hence, I am copying the question here.)

I am trying to write a description of the back of a playing card. It includes a band that I am describing as "blue with a white arabesque".

blue band with white arabesque
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This seems like a weak description. I am sure that in the decorative-banding industry, there are probably exact names for these things, but my search-fu is apparently weak.

Can anyone provide a superior description or a pointer to a "catalog of decorative banding" or some such? What is the name of the white pattern? Or, what are the names of the components of the pattern so that I can string them together?


3 Answers 3


Curlicue Frame

Google image search results


A curlicue, or alternatively curlycue, in the visual arts, is a fancy twist, or curl, composed usually from a series of concentric circles. It is a recurring motif in architecture (as decoration to the lintel/architrave above a door), in calligraphy and in general scrollwork.



A vignette, in graphic design, is a unique form for a frame to an image, either illustration or photograph. Rather than the image's edges being rectilinear, it is overlaid with decorative artwork featuring a unique outline.



First of all "band" doesn't seem right to describe it. I'd call it a "border". If the inside space were empty instead, you could call it a "vignette".

There are a whole bunch of adjectives you could use to describe such a border pattern, such as: ornamental, decorative, floral, arabesque, intertwoven, intertwined, etc. However, just be aware that not everything in graphic design has a specific name. I feel you are looking for something that doesn't really exist.

Some of the pattern elements also look vaguely like a "Fleur de Lys", if that's any help to you.

The criss-crossing inside pattern could be called "latticework" or a "geometric pattern".


I would call it a Baroque border or frame.

Relating to or denoting a style of European architecture, music, and art of the 17th and 18th centuries that followed mannerism and is characterized by ornate detail. In architecture the period is exemplified by the palace of Versailles and by the work of Bernini in Italy. Major composers include Vivaldi, Bach, and Handel; Caravaggio and Rubens are important baroque artists.

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