Textures, textures, textures. The design community, both print and web, seems to be going absolutely texture mad, but there are several valid and very good reasons to why that may be:
- Texture can completely change the way people 'read' your design work and illustrations because, with very little effort, texture can dramatically change the mood of your work.
- Illustrations can sometimes look a little 'too clean'. By including a little subtle texture in your illustrations, you can help bring your work to life.
- There's only so many unique designs you can have when it comes to web design. The use of texture in web design multiplies this by about infinity, especially if you make or shoot your own textures.
- Textures can be found anywhere, in your backyard, on a road trip or even in your office. You can scan textures, photograph them, or if you're looking for something really incredible, can buy premium textures for an extra-low price.
Below we have a showcase of web design, print design and illustration projects that use textures to their advantage, followed by a huge round-up of textures for you to use in your own design work, and finally a small selection of great tutorials to help you incorporate the textures you've downloaded into your work.
Textured Web Design
The use of texture in web design has been an ever-expanding trend over the past several years. It allows you to add a completely new look to your designs, whether using a very subtle amount of texture or a great massive wheelbarrow full! Below are ten examples of websites that utilize texture in their web designs very well.
Matt uses several overlayed textures combined with vivid, bright colors in his web design.
Within the dark grungy background of James' website lays a low opacity bokeh-style texture, adding interest to the overall design.
Pilates El Paso
The site of Pilates El Paso uses a very noisy, paper-based texture in the background of their design.
The portfolio design of Toby Powell is one that has been showcased all over the web for its simplicity and awesome typography merged with a subtle 'scrunched' paper texture.
Although currently down and waiting for an update, the portfolio of Bart-Jan Verhoef is another one that has been compiled in showcases all over the web, mainly for its incredibly detailed textured background.
Elliot Jay Stocks > Blog
Elliot uses a subtle to medium grained texture in the background of his design, adding tonnes of interest to the design and making it a lovely design to look at.
Wire and Twine
Wire and Twine uses a very minimal amount of texture in their design (the wood texture in the header design), but is most definitely the designs main focal point.
Stonefield Estate Resort
Stonefield Estate Resort's website design is very natural, using high-levels of fabric texture to create a natural look.
This mens fashion store combines clean, neat menus with torn edges, tape and a powerful brick and concrete texture used in their background to create an authentic and unique look.
PV.M Garage's blog design uses a very subtle texture in the header design to add a little bit of a 'worn-out' feel to the design that works tremendously well.
Textured Print Design and Illustration
As well as web design, the print design and illustration industry has also seen an increase in the use of texture. With illustration especially, texture adds a completely different dimension to the artwork, making it much more interesting and unique. Below are ten examples of print design and illustration projects that use texture.
Break The Grid Poster
This poster uses a combination of paper and grunge textures to produce an atmospheric background.
Some People Refuse To Be Default Poster
Old and worn paper textures are used here to produce a superb natural and vintage look.
Without the grunge texture used in this poster, the design would be very plain and minimalstic. The texture has added a completely new look to the design.
Albertlo Design Business Card
This business card has a real texture (it is wire embossed). However, if you're not too bothered about the feel of your card, the exact same look can be produced using just digital texture.
Mixx To The Maxx - Album Art
This album artwork uses a texture as its main background and plays a very important part in the designs composition.
Swim or Drown
This superb illustration by Sauer Kids uses various different grungy textures to add add a 'dirty' look to the otherwise very clean illustration.
When I Grow Up
This typographic-based illustration uses all natural colors against a brown packaging paper textured background. An extremely simple but effect use of a texture.
The Boy, the Cloud, the Umbrella and the Stars
Wooden textures are used to add a grainy look to this superb illustration. As the illustration is very transparent, the texture also plays a big part in the color scheme of the artwork.
Stitch is a simple illustration with a limited color scheme, and has been brought to life by being place against a cardboard box texture.
We used to talk more.
This wonderful illustration by 'Pope Saint Victor' uses very subtle grunge textures to create a completely different feel to the comical illustration.
Premium Texture Packs
Premium texture packs are a great and affordable way to get your hands on extremely high resolution textures. Below I have rounded up a magnificent collection of 60 premium files and packs ready for you to download and use straight away in your designs. What are you waiting for? Lets go!
Metal Dotz (1 Texture - $1)
Fiber Carbon Patterns (10 Textures - $5)
Metal Effect Background Pack (8 Textures - $4)
Ultimate Carbon Pack (10 Textures - $4)
Black Patterns (10 Textures - $5)
Pinpoint (1 Texture - $1)
Stainless Steel (1 Texture - $1)
Doble Mesh Metal (1 Texture - $4)
Tileable Metal Plate (1 Texture - $2)
Oil-Stained Mesh (1 Textures - $1)
Watercolor (15 Textures - $10)
Blue Wooden Planks and Cracked Paint (1 Texture - $1)
Paint Pack (5 Textures - $2)
Swirled Green Paint (5 Textures - $3)
Dark Woodz Textures (12 Textures - $1)
Wood Texture Pack (8 Textures - $4)
Wood Texture Pack 2 (8 Textures - $4)
Cool Wood Textures (26 Textures - $6)
Dark Wood (1 Textures - $1)
Colorful Wood Pack (6 Textures - $1)
Wet Wood (1 Textures - $2)
Mossy Bark Texture (1 Texture - $1)
Nature and Food Textures
Reeds (1 Texture - $2)
Vanilla Sky (5 Textures - $6)
Meat (1 Textures - $1)
Starry Sky (1 Textures - $1)
Light Blur Pack (4 Textures - $2)
Bokeh Pack (7 Textures - $4)
Multicolored Blurs (12 Textures - $8)
Concrete, Brick and Stone Textures
Chocolate Wall (1 Texture - $1)
>Scratched Concrete Texture (3 Textures - $2)
Asphalt (1 Texture - $1)
Brick Wall (1 Texture - $1)
Road Paint (4 Textures - $4)
Extreme Texture Pack (36 Textures - $10)
Old Paper (8 Textures - $4)
Old Paper with Transparent Tape (1 Textures - $4)
Parchment (1 Texture - $1)
Old Parchment (1 Texture - $2)
Old Paper (1 Texture - $1)
Stained Paper (4 Textures - $5)
Grunge Paper (1 Texture - $2)
Stained Paper (1 Texture - $1)
Coffee and Fire Paper (2 Textures - $2)
Dirty Wrinkled Burned Paper (1 Texture - $2)
Colorful Pack (12 Textures - $6)
Handmade Pack 1 (8 Textures - $4)
Handmade Pack 2 (8 Textures - $5)
Handmade Pack 3 (8 Textures - $5)
Textures of Tuscany (25 Textures - $6)
Grunge (1 Texture - $1)
Pretty Grungy (1 Texture - $2)
Funky Grunge (10 Textures - $5)
Material, Fabric and Fur Textures
Canvas (1 Texture - $1)
Theater Curtains (1 Textures - $2)
Luxury Leather Pack (5 Textures - $3)
English Pub (2 Textures - $2)
Canvas (1 Texture - $1)
Dog Fur (1 Texture - $1)
Tea and Coffee Stained Fabric (8 Textures - $5)
So, how do you use textures?
There are many ways you can use textures in your work, whether you be a web or print designer, an illustrator, a photographer or even a scrapbook artist! The most common way of using textures is by placing theme above certain layers in Adobe Photoshop, and then playing with different Hue/Saturation Levels, Blending Modes and Opacity Levels. The following selection of tutorials all use textures, so check them out if you want to see how professionals incorporate texture in their own designs.