Design Vocabulary: Chevron

Today’s Design Vocabulary is an easy one to learn. You can probably already think of a great example of a chevron.

Image courtesy of

Yep! That’s an example of a chevron. In the logo, not the fuel station part. A chevron is a “V” shape, with the point of the “V” facing down or up. It can be used individually or in a connecting line, forming a zig-zag pattern. Simple, right? In fact, you probably see more chevrons than you realize. Here’s an example of a military insignia with chevrons:

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

This is the rank insignia of a Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. (Semper Fi!  Thank you for your service!) Chevrons in military use are linked back through history to chevrons in heraldry.

Image courtesy of

Can you see the chevrons in the bottom left corner of the shield? In heraldry, the chevron traditionally symbolizes a builder or someone who has performed faithful service. There are also chevrons used in architecture. Here is one version, which is used decoratively.

Image courtesy of

Here is another version, used structurally.

Image courtesy of

Can you see how those ceiling ribs come to a lovely point? Those chevron ribs, or arches, help to distribute the weight of the roof. You find these in many medieval churches because they were a savvy architectural solution for their day.

As you can see, chevrons are an old shape that have been used for centuries. Recently, there has been a big surge of popularity for chevrons in home design. (For those of you who want sources for these decor items, I’ve linked all the pictures below directly to their online catalog pages. Happy shopping!)

Image courtesy of West Elm

Image courtesy of The Company Store

Image courtesy of Amazon

Image courtesy of PBTeen

So now you know how to spot a chevron pattern like an expert. You can read a home/design magazine and exclaim with authority, “These chevrons are everywhere this year!” Do you like a chevron pattern? Where would you put one in your home?

Posted on March 22, 2011, in Architecture, Design Vocabulary. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I was looking at material to cover a worn out living room chair yesterday. I didn’t know about a Chevron. I bought the material. Cool! Who knew!

  2. Love this! I’m doing over my hall bathroom. Love the Chevron pattern shower curtain!

  3. I love the shower curtain in the second to last picture. It somehow reminds me of falling rain. I’ll see if I can find one for my bathroom. Thanks!

  4. Never mind trying to find it. I found it: I clicked on the picture and just ordered one. Thanks again!

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