5 Simple Ways to Use Texture in Graphic Design

5 Simple Ways to Use Texture in Graphic Design

A good design is one that’s constructed from many different elements to achieve a finished product which delivers a hefty visual impact.

And one of the unsung heroes of graphic design that helps designs arrest the attention of viewers is texture. Carefully used, texture can bring a whole new dimension of depth and spice to your designs by injecting a frisson of realism into the design.

Every graphic designer wants their designs to be firing on all cylinders, so let’s look at 5 amazing ways to use texture in your designs.

  1. 1. Embrace Natural Textures

The world around us is full of unique tactile wonders, so why shouldn’t a graphic designer take inspiration from these?

Explore the world around you to discover which materials give which sensations e.g. rough, smooth, mottled etc. With this information in mind you’re going to know which textures are going to work best for individual projects e.g. using a tree bark design for some skin moisturiser packaging is conveying the complete opposite of what the moisturiser is trying to achieve – hence the heavy use of leaf designs in such packaging.

  1. 2. Be Subtle with Textured Backgrounds

Balance in graphic design is absolutely vital to make sure that viewers are concentrating on the core message of your design. However, it’s easy to get carried away with the use of textures as a background and this can take the focus away from your content.

This is why it’s important to keep some sense of scale with textured backgrounds. Try using gradients to lessen the overall impact of a background and use colours which don’t contrast wildly from the main focal point.

By keeping things subtle you’ll find your finished design is more likely to engage the viewer and not confuse them with distracting backgrounds.

  1. 3. Create a Vintage Look

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion and one that many designers tap into in order to create that warm, fuzzy feeling of a simpler time.

The best way to capture this vintage feel is by going for a worn out or distressed look in your designs. And it’s pretty simple to achieve this.

Create an illustration which you want to take back through the ages, but don’t worry about distressing it from the get go; just design it so it looks brand new. Once you have your illustration you can create a distressed, worn layer above it and then blend this into your illustration.

The result is an instantly aged design which can take viewers on a trip down memory lane.

  1. 4. Guide the Viewer’s Eye

Texture is an ingenious concept and one which can also help guide the viewer’s eye around your design.

This is particularly useful in web design as different textures can be used to divide content into specific sections. Viewers are then able to intuitively know where information begins and ends, so the content can be digested correctly.

However, although the different textures will need to be distinguishable from one another, make sure they’re still closely related in order to keep that crucial balance for your design e.g. don’t mix wood and metal textures as it’s too much of a jarring contrast, but different grains of wood are a perfect combination.

  1. 5. Manipulate Textures

The use of software such as Photoshop means that a simple texture can be transformed into something completely unique.

We’ve all seen that screwed up piece of paper texture before and, to be honest, it seems a bit hack in this day and age. Sure, every piece of screwed up paper has those unique creases and wrinkles running through it, but it’s just too familiar.

However, scan a screwed up piece of paper into Photoshop and you can soon start manipulating all types of settings such as desaturation, sharpness and opacity to create a screw up piece of paper that looks nothing like anything that’s come before it.

Texture is a fantastic design element which can easily be introduced into your designs to bring them to life. Not only are amazing textures freely available for inspiration, but they can also create unique designs which help guide viewers effortlessly through your designs.



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