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20 Examples of Subtle Texture Use in Web Design

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Textures are used in web design to avoid the cold/fake/digital appearance of flat solid colours, to instead add an element of realism and that sense of something real. You don’t have to go full-on with concrete, paper or wood textures to achieve this though, just adding a subtle overlay of dust or noise can really enhance your design to give that tactile appearance. This post showcases 20 inspiring examples of website designs that perfectly achieve that realistic feeling with the help of subtle textures.

Supercharged

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The Supercharged website is a perfect example of subtle texture use with a mix of a grungy style background texture with a delicate scattering of splatters.

Kyle Steed

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Kyle Steed’s website uses subtle textures in the header to frame the hand drawn illustration and lettering. Combined with the green-grey background it gives the feeling of a chalkboard, which fits in perfectly with the hand-drawn theme.

Resumebaking

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A grainy paper texture can be seen on the Resumebaking website, which is a great link to the website’s topic of resumes. Despite now being completely digital the texture helps relate to the old paper based resumes everyone knows.

iPhone Icon Design

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Even if it’s just for visual decoration a texture can really help transform a website design. Without the pattern/texture background file the iPhone Icon Design website would be sat on a plain background.

Jared Johnson

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Jared Johnson takes the texture use up a notch in the header of his website, but maintains enough subtly to avoid the texture overpowering the main content of the page. The stained grainy texture gives the impression of an old book cover.

Amazee Labs

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We’ve already seen how the hand-drawn illustrative style fits perfectly with a grainy paper effect background. The Amazee Labs is another great example, with almost every illustrated element having some kind of distressed treatment.

One Design Company

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A subtle texture should be like a Ninja; You know it’s there, but you can’t see it. One Design Company’s website is a fab example of this. The texture in the background is almost unnoticeable, but if it wasn’t present there would be something missing from the design.

Review App

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Just like the background here on Line25, the design used on the Review App includes both a cool grid pattern and a subtle texture. The use of just a pattern or just a texture would look pretty cool, but both together really looks great.

Marie Catribs

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Marie Catribs’ website is yet another example of the hand-drawn/paper theme, but this time with much more of a grainy texture from recycled paper or cardboard. Combined with the torn paper effect it gives the Marie Catribs site an awesome low-fi theme.

Cheese Survival Kit

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Even the smoothest of surfaces in real life have some kind of grain or texture, this is why adding a film of noise to your flat colours in your digital designs helps add that touch of realism. The Cheese Survival Kit website showcases this with subtle noise on both the black and white backgrounds.

FeedStitch

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Sometimes textures are used purely for visual decoration, but in the case of the FeedStitch website the texture helps continue the theme of the design. A fabric texture in the background relates perfectly to the thread/stitching theme used to describe their service.

Foundation Six

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The Foundation Six website is one of my all time favourites. The mix of subtle textures throughout the page, sexy serif typography, subtle highlights and clever shading effects all combine to produce a design you could reach out and touch.

Analog

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The paper grain and the American Typewriter font of the Analog website definitely relate to the analogue theme of the design. Without these features the design wouldn’t be quite as appealing to the eye.

TheWP.co

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The header design of TheWP.co would probably still work perfectly well without the subtle texture use, but its inclusion adds that extra touch of visual eye candy that makes the design much more pleasing.

Oink

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While some of the designs featured have used faux-textures from noise filters, the Oink website uses an actual paper scan in its background. Manufactured textures might be quick and easy, but they’ll never match the detail of a real life texture scan.

Cast Iron Design Company

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The whole design of the Cast Iron Design Company is based on the retro/vintage theme, which is one design style that just wouldn’t work without the help of some kind of aged texture effects.

GiveBeyond.me

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The GiveBeyond.me website includes all kinds of interesting textures, all of which are so subtle you have to lean close to your monitor to really appreciate the finest details. The mix of the background texture and all the texture overlays on the type and illustrations really enhances the design.

GiftRocket

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GiftRocket, like Amazee Labs is a website blessed with the textural/illustrative talent of Mike Kus. Check out Mike’s portfolio for more examples of his trademark style.

Moody International

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For business websites the use of textures can help develop a friendly and approachable character. Often accountancy websites are built with bland colours and strict lines, but the Moody International website breaks the mould with tangible textures and colourful illustrations.

Dan Ogborn

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The concrete stye background texture and the distress scratches across Dan Ogborn’s website help achieve that cool raw design theme, especially with the yellow focal points and burly slab-serif typography.

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Written by Chris Spooner

Chris Spooner is a designer who loves experimenting with new web design techniques collating creative website designs. Check out Chris' design tutorials and articles at Blog.SpoonGraphics or follow his daily findings on Twitter.

26 Comments

  1. Mohsin Nazir says:

    Iphone icon design is the best

  2. Todd says:

    Thanks for posting these. Really great sites to get some good inspiration from.

  3. Manuel Ricci says:

    good inspiration for my new project!

  4. Chris Walton says:

    Some great examples of websites with design detail which goes by almost unnoticed!

  5. The Kyle Steed and Moody Int's are pretty cool. Warm colors and well laid out.

  6. Andre Morris says:

    I appreciate this list! I'm actually working with a client right now who wants an opaque texture as part of the design, and you're helping to spark my creative juices!

  7. Janoo says:

    Really usefull

  8. Asmitha says:

    It's really very useful for my project.I am maintaining one web design site.Every thing is good.

  9. Austin Dillman says:

    Nice! A good example would even be line25.com You have a speckled texture on the grid :D

  10. ScottCorey says:

    really love ONIK's texture

  11. Love the feedstich one + the graphic concept !

  12. Great Post with all those websites designs.keep Sharing with us.

  13. soulmenj says:

    nice collection of website with a texture as part of the whole design

  14. Jesse says:

    Hey Chris!

    Excellent round up!
    How did you create that magnify effect? I love it. I know Corel Draw has a tool for this… What did you use?

    Thanks.

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  16. Ste Hughes says:

    I love these – I use textures far too much though sometimes!

    I need to get away from it but I can add so much to a website.

  17. Review App is my favorite! Very nice examples :)

  18. Matt Walker says:

    I realy like Amazee Labs and GiftRocket. Great stuff

  19. Great examples…

    tnks!

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