Tips for Using Background Textures in Web Design

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There are many ways to use background textures in web design. It is one of the best ways to add depth to your design. To be able to make use of the power of textures and to make your designs effective, it is important to pay attention to the quality of the textural background. As it can help guide and emphasize important elements in a design. Textures have been misused for a long time. Due to this reason, its benefits have been most frequently overlooked.

Textures shouldn’t be confused with patterns. Patterns are small, repeating tiles/elements while textures tend to be larger in size don’t repeat. Textures in design should serve a purpose. Each design decision should be well thought out and must be done after weighing the pros and cons. Let us look at some of their important benefits and look at the industry’s best practices and standards of using a textural background in web design.

Texture and visual hierarchy

Textures can be used in a way to guide the user’s eye. Using them in conjunction with other methods can help structure the content more effectively. Textures can be the most effective when it is applied to web design without violating the best practices. If you take a look at the example below, you will see texture has been applied to the boxes in a way to help process information more accurately. You will also see that the texture fits with the overall theme of the website.

Texture and call to action

Textures can be used in a way to highlight certain elements in your design. It can be used to grab attention to call to action buttons and areas where you would want your user to pay attention to. When used minimally, it can separate the content from the rest of the website. If you look at the example below, you would be able to see how ‘Free People’ incorporated a textural background for one of their ads and the letters along with the textural tear away sheet helps separate the content from the rest of the website.

Textures and Identity

For users to be able to identify with the brand, the website has to be able to showcase the company’s identity. It helps create an atmosphere for the identity to live in and adds to the many intangibles of web design. If you take a look at the example below you will how the textural background pushes the text forward and creates a unique environment for the content.

Tips for using textural backgrounds

1. Use simple Textures

Simple and understated textures can help make your content stand out. A great texture might not even be visible to the users. This way you are able to focus more on the overall legibility and readability of the site while still adding an interesting overlay to the overall design. It is easy to make sense of the logo and the light colored text on a simple tightly knit background like the one below.

2. Big and Bold Textures

Sometimes larger than life textural styles work better for certain designs. This is especially true if the UI is made up of simple but repeating elements. There are a lot of factors to consider if you are going with this style, the tiles have to be seamless and the patterns should be able to tie in all the other elements of the UI together. It is advisable to keep an eye on user analytics and their behavior when tracking your site. This will ensure that the texture is not in conflict with the overall design. If there is a sharp decrease in traffic or conversion, this means that you would have to rethink the style of your pattern.

3. Image textures

Background texture can also be an image. Images can help convey the message of a business or a service usually better than normal background textures can. When used correctly it can help users relate to the brand and add a level of visual interest that sometimes may not be possible with textural illustrations. If you take a look at the image below, you’ll see how this site has beautifully recreated the movement effect by fading and blurring the background image.

4. Gradient textures

Gradients can add depth and style to your design. When paired with a textural background, it can enhance the overall effectiveness of the website. You can also create a  gradient combination with its own depth and patterns. Here is an interesting example of a multi-layered gradient.  The background pushes the animations and other elements of the design forward and the call to action is easily noticeable.

5. Trends and textures

Incorporating a design trend into your texture can help change the overall look and feel of the design. The brightly colored geometric shapes, when paired with a faded background, seem to lift the lightly colored buttons right off the screen. These floating shapes help draw the users attention to the main content of the website and can easily create a sense of curiosity to further explore the content.

6. Color Variations

Mixing colors and pairing them with bold textural patterns can help create interesting layouts. Here is an example of a fun textural background that mixes two colors and large lettered textural elements. This combination helps draw the users eye to the main text and keep the overall visual engaging and balanced.


Textures are an easy way to make your designs stand out. Some designers still prefer to stick to simple solid backgrounds while others like to experiment with textural elements. Either way, the goal of a designer is to create visually engaging designs and the use of textural background can help you achieve just that. You have to understand their delicate balance and subtlety when using textures on your designs. We hope that these tips have helped you better understand textures and their use in Web design. To maximize the overall impact, remember to customize them to fit your project.

Iggy is a designer who loves experimenting with new web design techniques, collating creative website designs, and writing about the latest design trends, inspiration, design freebies, and more. You can follow him on Twitter

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