A guide to the Types of Textures in Visual Design

There are many different structural elements used in web design. The texture is a powerful force shaping the visual perception of future design as an online marketing tool. What does it give design? The realism of things! What seems to the visitor more real, evokes a strong emotional response, stimulates him to action. With the help of textures, you can control not only emotions but also a person's attention, leading him to the necessary action.

The practice of using textures in design has a rich history. And if in graphic design this trend has become commonplace, then in web design the attitude towards textures has had a negative connotation for some time. It was all about the low-quality background images that flooded the internet in the 2000s. Integrating texture into the design is a problematic process that requires a certain vision. Otherwise, the picture will look unnatural.

This article will cover the basic methods of working with textures, as well as give a useful practical advice not only for designers but also for site owners planning a redesign.

Let's start with the background of the marketing creative

In recent years, the trend of using textures as the main idea for building lettering has been gaining momentum in typographic design. This tool can be a creative solution when creating logos, posters, flyers, and individual inscriptions on the site.

Graphic design is also rich in examples of the successful use of textures. They create an atmosphere of realism and emphasize the thematicity of various images and characters.

  • Textures, patterns, and backgrounds

Before starting to consider the specifics of using textures in web design, I would like to introduce some precision in the terminology.

Textures and patterns are often mistaken for synonyms. However, in reality, these are different concepts. Patterns tend to be repetitive design elements, while textures do not have repetitive elements and are significantly larger in size. In addition, textures have a more complex structure, although they are often designed in a pattern-like manner.

Background images are also considered textures, although these are completely different kinds of things. Background images are intermediate between textures and patterns. These are large graphic objects with non-repeating elements (mainly photographs).

Texture functions in visual design

Designers love to use textures for a variety of reasons. The constructive decision on the advisability of using this element in the design is made not on the basis of the fact that the site looks prettier with the texture. Let's take a look at some of the benefits of using textures.

  • Call to action and attention manipulation

One of the favorite tricks of designers is to manipulate the visitor's attention. Textures highlight the key navigational elements of the design: headers, icons, and buttons. This is perhaps the main reason why textures are coming back into fashion.

Another interesting approach is the partial use of textures, where the key design points are highlighted without changing the main graphic concept of the site.

It is impossible not to mention the intricacies of design skills, namely the use of noise on textures. The purpose of this technique is still attention management. Noise can add depth and interest to just about any design element, from the background to the button. Effective use of noise is based on skill in its use. Good noise should be almost imperceptible and at the same time blend harmoniously with the base color of the texture.

Notice how texture adds depth to the design, and how noise is used to highlight the main structural elements.

  •  Visual interest

Until recently, pure colors were the main starting point for the design. And while they continue to dominate the industry, designers are increasingly turning to textures to increase visual interest on a site.

This approach allows you to soften the perception of a design made in aggressive or difficult-to-perceive colors, or, on the contrary, to make the main color more lively and interesting (this especially applies to pastel, dull shades).

The texture added depth to the design. Superimposed on fonts, it made them more interesting and thematic.

  •  Creating an atmosphere

In the previous examples, you read how designers used texture to increase visual interest in website design and highlight navigation elements. Now let's go a little further and look at the level of perception associations.

For conceptual design, the atmosphere and mood that is conveyed to the visitor through the graphics play an important role. The texture in this regard is the best solution.

Naturally, every customer wants to get more from the site design than just content. Realizing that personal associations and brand atmosphere are the keys to successful influence on the consumer, designers often resort to using all sorts of non-standard elements that will allow the visitor not only to identify with the brand but also to feel the right atmosphere.

Practical guidelines for using textures

  • Textures and typography

Many, especially novice designers, make one major mistake when using textures - they neglect the readability of the text. Regardless of your design concept, remember that the main thing in web design is content. If you decide to present information in a non-standard way, use texture sparingly in relation to typography.

  •  Don't overdo it

Remember, textures are used as a supporting element in web design. The use of different textures in one layout can lead to graphic oversaturation, which complicates the perception of the design: behind it, you can lose its basic concept and information message. You should also choose textures of the same color range or well-matched in color. This rule also applies to their species.

  • Build the library

Hoarding is not a good character trait, but it can be a useful skill in design. Save the textures you like: you may need them at any time. Plus, it will save you time looking for interesting material.

  • Live by the principle: "Do it yourself"

Its essence lies in the fact that we can do everything we need ourselves. Instead of spending hours looking for a suitable ground texture, you can go outside, take a picture of it, apply a couple of effects to it in a graphics editor - and done!

The scanner also copes well with this task. An old newspaper or an autumn leaf scanned and processed in the editor can turn into a good, and most importantly unique texture that you will not find anywhere else on the Internet.

Probably, this kind of thinking is the distinguishing feature of professionals.

  • Don't sacrifice quality for downloads

There are many technical ways to preserve the quality of the texture while reducing the weight of the image. 

In conclusion, we would like to note that the above examples clearly demonstrate how textures can improve the quality of design (of course, provided they are used skillfully). Keep in mind, however, that depending on the theme of your work, textures should be applied differently. For example, in logo design, their use is less appropriate than in website design.

Hope these tips on a guide to the types of textures in visual design will help you increase conversions and sales from your website. Think outside the box, and it will certainly affect the quality of your work!

(Jul 7, 2021) Clemence Servonnat Getting started

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