Working with clay to create a set of dishes or cups can be rewarding when the final product is revealed. Giving a set as a gift often reflects the person receiving it, so it is generally welcome. For those who have friends not quite within the established norms of their group, a changing pattern could be a way to recognize their offbeat lifestyle. It is also a way to share the knowledge they are friends no matter what happens throughout life.
There are ways to change patterns with subtlety. If a leaf motif is chosen, moving one leaf slightly for each item made could be a way to make a set quite unique. Going through and changing colours slightly on some leaves would be another good choice, but each plate should have at least a few leaves the same colour as all other plates. This shows continuity and makes it a set. A small change is what may be best, so keeping that in mind is what the artist needs to do.
Some sets may have only a few small designs on each piece, and variances could come with background colours. Choosing a different colour for each item while retaining the same design on top of it might be a way to introduce differences without making the set look like it was assembled from many other sets. It is a good way to introduce bold colour changes. Artists in need of a bold look have often used this type of differentiation to ensure their work is noticed.
Many are the ways to introduce differences while retaining the same overall pattern. It may take a bit of thought for the artist to decide what will work best, but ideas should be all around them. In nature, nothing is quite the same while retaining a pattern. That look can be recreated in the world of art.