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Using texture to add depth

From: Design Aesthetics for Web Design

Video: Using texture to add depth

The third element of design is texture which when used effectively can give your design depth. The distinctive characteristic that helps make designs more officially tactile, of course there's a current trend for flat design that purposfully ignores texture. Even so, understanding how texture works can really help you create designs that are more visually interesting and compelling. The simple definition of texture is the surface quality of any shape within your web layout. Textures can be very tactile or visual.

Using texture to add depth

The third element of design is texture which when used effectively can give your design depth. The distinctive characteristic that helps make designs more officially tactile, of course there's a current trend for flat design that purposfully ignores texture. Even so, understanding how texture works can really help you create designs that are more visually interesting and compelling. The simple definition of texture is the surface quality of any shape within your web layout. Textures can be very tactile or visual.

Think of how a texture would look and feel. Such as rough, smooth, hard, soft. Shiny, dull and glossy. Also consider how textures are created. They can be made from natural and synthetic materials like wood, fur, nylon and vinyl. There are lots of ways to add texture to a web design. You can photograph or scan your own textures and then manipulate them in a graphics program like Photoshop. You can create your own textures in Photoshop using filters and blending modes.

You can use free Photoshop brushes to paint textures into your designs. You could use free stock images, or pay for them if you like. And then add those to your web designs as needed. Here are a list of sites where you can download free textures. And of course there's a lot more but I found that these particular sites have quite a bit to offer. There's Smashing Magazine, TextureKing, Lost and Taken, Texture Mate, Zen Textures, Grunge Textures, and CG Textures. One reason texture is so effective in web design is that it can instantly add that sense of depth to an otherwise flat, two dimensional medium.

Textures can be used in a variety of ways in web design. They can help emphasize a focal point in your layout or they can be used more subtly as a decorative element that you might not even notice. Textures can also be combined with shapes, lines, colors, lighting, even typography. And of course, textures can be used as decorative backgrounds, in headers and footers and sidebars, on your navigation bars and buttons, regular buttons, banner ads, bars and dividers. Let's take a look at some creative ways that you might consider using texture.

One of the most popular examples of using texture is to add a sense of depth using a reflective surface. You may have seen this kind of effect on pretty much every Mac product shot. The trick here is what you're seeing is not an actual reflective surface but a digitally created illusion using a fading gradient over an inverted image to make it look like an object that was photographed on an opaque white plexiglas surface. Another popular use for textures on the web is using them as backgrounds to add depth.

Here are some nice examples of textures used in banner ads. Digital textures like these can give the illusion of physical textures, which in turn help to create the illusion of depth. You can even combine textures with photographs and other Photoshop tricks to give your images a grungy, weathered effect. So here's one way of using like a crumpled folded up piece of paper to make an image look weathered. And I have a few other examples to show you. Here you can use coffee stains and then scan that stained piece of paper into your Photoshop program and then manipulate the blending mode to create and interesting negative effect.

You could also play around with other scanned textures and filters to make the images look weathered. Keep in mind that textures like color and value can help create a mood. Take a look at how changing the texture on the background of this particular layout effects the overall design feel. You can use textures on your background, your menu, your header, your footer, your sidebars and your buttons in any combination that supports the design. Combining textures is also a really interesting way. To delineate the different areas on your web page which can help visitors see at a glance which areas might be more important than others.

So I'll just go through these layers and show you how it changes the look and feel of a particular design. So the original is a photograph of some metal doors. Here's what it looks like on stained paper, maybe not nearly enough contrast there but you get the general idea. Here's some crinkled paper. There's a little sidebar with grass behind it, a textured leather background really adds a nice tactile feel, or a little bit of cardboard on one side, leather on the other. You could do something like vintage wallpaper, or even something like this watercolor effect.

Textures can really transform a design, and give your web layouts a unique sense of depth. And when used wisely, texture can go a long way toward making your designs memorable and unique.

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This video is part of

Image for Design Aesthetics for Web Design
Design Aesthetics for Web Design

32 video lessons · 16688 viewers

Sue Jenkins
Author

 
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  1. 2m 8s
    1. Welcome
      38s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 30s
  2. 9m 10s
    1. Understanding aesthetics
      4m 41s
    2. Examples from art and design
      4m 29s
  3. 35m 44s
    1. Understanding the elements of design
      1m 47s
    2. Using color to set the site's mood
      5m 50s
    3. Tweaking color values to add contrast
      3m 30s
    4. Using texture to add depth
      4m 53s
    5. Repeating shapes to unify your design
      2m 43s
    6. Structuring your layout with form
      3m 50s
    7. Using space to organize your design
      4m 38s
    8. Setting boundaries with line
      4m 36s
    9. Communicating with the right fonts
      3m 57s
  4. 38m 26s
    1. Understanding the principles of design
      1m 45s
    2. Using contrast to set areas of interest
      3m 8s
    3. Applying font styles to show emphasis
      5m 23s
    4. Aligning objects to achieve balance
      4m 40s
    5. Using hyperlink styles to create a sense of unity
      4m 10s
    6. Applying background patterns to create harmony
      3m 14s
    7. Adding movement with scrolling and animation
      3m 31s
    8. Using border styles to add rhythm and repetition
      2m 57s
    9. Achieving proportion by scaling objects and text
      2m 43s
    10. Simplifying by removing the unnecessary
      3m 21s
    11. Using gradation to create perspective
      3m 34s
  5. 37m 45s
    1. Responsive web: Creating CSS for different devices
      3m 2s
    2. Composition: Using the grid to organize space
      4m 45s
    3. Typography: Choosing and using web fonts
      5m 15s
    4. Color theory: Picking harmonious colors
      4m 16s
    5. Communication: Leading viewers through a design
      6m 30s
    6. Accessibility: Using size and color effectively
      6m 10s
    7. Originality: Stepping out of the box
      7m 47s
  6. 1m 57s
    1. Next steps
      1m 57s

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