Hundreds of design resources can be found online to improve any web or mobile UI project. Finding quality abstract background images, vector graphics, tileable textures and other resources can be a time-consuming process.
Abstract backgrounds give a more creative feeling to a website while still placing content front-and-center. Learning how to make abstract backgrounds requires time, but you can shave down that time if you have quality resources to work with.
Scroll down to the end of this post and you’ll find a list of websites I’ve found that are dedicated to design resources for web and mobile projects – many of which can apply to abstract background design if you know some creative techniques.
Abstract Background Images
Before I get to the list of websites, we have a few free abstract background images for you to download and use in your designs:
Here is a set of 5 abstract backgrounds (3500 pixels by 2000 pixels) that can be downloaded and used in your own work. Download here (2 MB)
These can be used as wallpaper, or they can be used in your own web designs and other projects. There are 5 different images included. They are the same image in different colors, each with lighting effects to create the abstract look. These backgrounds can be used in personal and commercial projects, attribution not required. Download the backgrounds (4 MB zip file)
Here are another 5 abstract light effect backgrounds that can be downloaded and used in your own digital design projects. The backgrounds are free for use in your own personal or commercial projects, no attribution required. Download the backgrounds (3MB zip file)
The backgrounds are free for use in your own personal or commercial projects, no attribution required.
Websites for for Backgrounds and Textures
Can’t find any you like? Why not try creating your own? Below is a helpful list of websites that offer free resources to help you quickly create your own unique abstract background images:
Free repeating patterns are incredibly popular in web design. Subtle Patterns is definitely your go-to site for anything pattern-related. All contents are completely free to download and use however you see fit.
New patterns are added frequently and there’s even a Photoshop plugin for those who want to access Subtle Patterns from the Adobe creative suite.
Vector graphics can scale to any size and retain full quality. This is becoming more important in the era of responsive designs and retina screens. Thankfully there’s a site like Vecteezy which offers a full library of free vector resources for any purpose.
The site has an incredible collection of resources and notably has dozens of abstract backgrounds free for download. You’ll find everything from shapes to fractals and glossy unusual background effects. No matter what type of abstract background you’re going for, Vecteezy is sure to have a valuable resource for your design project.
The WeGraphics marketplace is made for custom vector graphics, textures, and Photoshop brushes. Most resources are premium items which cost money, but there’s also a handful of free resources released on the site as well.
WeGraphics builds their content and releases it on their own without much help for additional designers. This creates a consistent level of expected quality with each resource and makes your job a whole lot easier.
The digital design community DeviantArt is well known for its vast number of users and posts. To find free resources you’ll need to do a bit of searching – but the payoff can be incredible since designers tend to release things on DeviantArt and nowhere else.
Just remember that DeviantArt is a design community where artists can post their work. Not everything will be released for free so it’s important to read the description of an item before downloading for use in your own work.
Envato’s GraphicRiver is the marketplace for all digital graphics. Everything on the site is analyzed for quality and sold by 3rd party designers, so there’s a seemingly endless supply of resources.
To find more abstract content check out their abstract backgrounds category. Products can be priced as low as $2-$3 with direct digital download of all assets. The Envato marketplace is a treasure trove for designers who just need a few resources to round out their project.
Large high-res textures are the focal point of TextureKing. You’ll find everything from wood, glass, leaves, liquid, practically any texture you could imagine is available for free on this site.
All textures are released in hi-res and may be used on any number of projects. This gives you a lot of control as the designer because you can mix together abstract backgrounds from a single texture, or from multiple textures that work well together.
A site full of free Photoshop brushes ranging from abstract shapes to dynamic textures. Fractals, swirls, grunge effects, anything you could imagine can be found on FBrushes completely free of charge.
New brushes are added every week so it’s worth checking back to see if anything new catches your attention. Their abstract brushes are particularly interesting with so many diverse categories.
Custom textures are not always part of abstract backgrounds, but they can be used and blended together for interesting effects. TexturePalace is a fantastic resource for high-quality textures that can be used in any design project.
Many free textures are released together in packs like wood, leather, paper, and other similar styles. If you need high-quality photo reference for your background then TexturePalace should be your first choice.
Textures.com is your ultimate source for any texture from CG to 3D or anything in between. Brand new textures are added every single day and their library is tremendous with over 30+ different categories to browse through.
The resources most relevant to this post would be categorized under abstract which features a lot of bokeh photos and custom textures.
This entire site is a library of free abstract backgrounds and textures. Cr103 places a heavy focus on abstract design and offers dozens of resources completely free.
If you’re looking for a particular style check out their design packs which focus on a distinct style or pattern.
One of the fastest-growing design marketplaces has to be Creative Market. This site features custom fonts, templates, photos, and of course abstract patterns.
Note that Creative Market is a marketplace where items are sold by professional designers at their own fixed prices. This means you won’t find many free items on Creative Market, but the quality also seems higher than with free alternatives.