Textures can be used in web and graphic design to add a great deal of character, or to help complete a design. In some cases the texture may be a prominent part of the design, today’s web design a subtle use of texture is more common. Several years ago you would see a lot of websites designed with large, grungy textures as a main focal point of the design. Now most uses of texture are more subtle, but they can be equally important to the design.
In this post we’ll showcase 27 different websites that make excellent use of texture. Flat design may popular in web design, but textures are still relevant and useful in the right situation. But before we showcase these example sites we’ll take a look at the different approaches you can take to incorporate texture into your own designs.
UNLIMITED DOWNLOADS: 50+ Million Add-Ons & Design Assets
Ways to Incorporate Textures into a Web Design
The sites being showcased will serve as inspiration, and you can use any of the methods covered here to create your own designs with texture.
Textured Photos Layered in Photoshop
One of the easiest ways to incorporate texture into your design is to start with a texture from a photo or a scan and use it as a layer in your work in Photoshop. You can use the various blend modes available in Photoshop to apply the texture to any element in your design.
Since there are so many textures readily available, or you can create your own, this is an easy way to get started with textures. In our shop, we have loads of textures available, including our Premier Texture Bundle.
Another easy way to add texture to a design is through the use of Photoshop Brushes. There are a huge number of Photoshop brushes available that will add different types of texture (we have plenty available in our shop). This includes everything from heavy grunge textures to soft and subtle textures to brush strokes. If you have access to the right brushes, adding texture is easy.
Repeating or tileable patterns can also be used to create texture. You can either use pre-made Photoshop patterns (like the patterns found in our shop), or you can create your own patterns in Photoshop. You can apply patterns easily to any layer in your design, making it a great option.
Many websites today are making use of large photos either for full-screen backgrounds or just as an integral part of the design. If a large photo includes some textured elements it can have the same impact on the overall design as if the texture had been created in Photoshop. We see several examples like this is the showcase. For this approach to work you just need to find the right photo with the right texture.
Showcase of Textures in Web Design
Enough talk about textures… Let’s look at some examples.
Designer Gerren Lamson uses a very subtle repeating texture on the background of his site. With a simple Photoshop pattern you can create a textured background similar to this one.
Eyeweb uses a few different subtle textures on their site, including the one seen here on the blue background. There is also a subtle textured sunray used as well.
Forefathers Group uses a subtle texture with a neutral colored background. This is another example of a texture that is subtle but still an important part of the design.
The design of Marketplace uses a few different textures. The header and navigation menu has a dark background with some brush stroke texture applied. And the large photo in the main area of the site also includes some texture. The brush stroke look can be created with the help of some Photoshop brushes that have been created from scanned brush strokes.
Jam3 uses an interesting design with some animated particles that give a textured look to the site. The particles move with your mouse around the screen, and the text even turns to particles when the mouse goes through it.
The header of 96Elephants uses a dark textured background. On the right side of the site (not visible in the screenshot below) there is a form that also uses a texture background, this one being a light color.
This design uses some texture on the background photo and also a splattered texture incorporated with text. You can’t have a zombie-related website without some texture.
Postable uses a subtle gray pattern on the background of its design. Although it is subtle it does add a nice touch to the design. A similar texture could be easily created with the help of a repeating fabric pattern applied in Photoshop.
La Maquina Kryptos uses some subtle texture applied to the background illustration, as well as texture applied to the text in the header of the site. Adding texture to text can be done in Photoshop with the help of either a brush or a textured photo.
The full-screen background photo used by Blackhouse adds a strong and dark texture to the site.
Union Room is an example that is unique from the others showcased here. The site uses a large background video, and a simple pixel pattern texture sits on top of the video and the header.
SocialEngine uses a dark textured background that is somewhere between subtle and strong. It’s not a major focal point of the design, but it is something that you notice immediately when visiting the site.
(UPDATE: This site is no longer online.) The background photo of a wooden table adds plenty of texture to Fitbay’s website.
While most of the elements in the Solo Pine design include no texture, there is a large photo of some trees in fog that has a gritty feel.
Revelation Concept uses a subtle background pattern to add texture to the design. This pattern is an important part of the design and the look can be replicated with the right Photoshop pattern.
Jarritos uses a heavy concrete or wall texture as the background of the site. This type of texture could be replicated in Photoshop pretty easily with the help of a nice concrete texture photo.
CIRQ uses a texture on the background of its website. Although it is a fairly subtle texture it still adds a nice touch to the design. Texture is also used on text in the graphics on the site.
Musician’s Corner uses texture on the background of its site, as well as on the text and logo. The header uses a soft, but very noticeable gray texture.
The background of the Creative Arts Initiative site uses a strong texture, which is one of the distinguishing features of the design. Other elements throughout the design also have texture applied.
Cure.org uses a few different textures on the site. The header uses a subtle gray texture. The main area of the homepage uses a darker background with a halftone pattern and some other texture.
XGO uses a nice gray textured header. Other areas of the design also use a matching texture.
Which of these websites are your favorite examples? How do you use texture in your own designs? Feel free to leave your thoughts and feedback in the comments section.