Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Design Resource: Free Textures for Web

In order to create a truly memorable website design, one thing I try to focus on is including small, subtle design elements that indirectly contribute to a larger user experience. These style refinements, and graphic enhancements usually appear as the inclusion of drop shadows to create the illusion of depth and layers, or gradients to add a more robust color scheme and perspective, or the shiny reflective button glare effect that was so prevalent in 2006.

One particularly understated, yet sometimes over abused, styling element is the background texture. In cases where these graphics are abused with harsh contrasts, heavy saturation, patterns too complex to have legible text, and poor placement, this ultimately creates the sense of a 2003 myspace page instead of the intended professional web presence. Behold your solution, www.SubtlePatterns.com.



I have a few things I'd like to say about this site before going any further:

  1. I absolutely love the design, usability, and layout of this site. Not only is it intuitively styled for the modern web designer, but the core functionality of the site allows for users to preview the patterns available before downloading them. Perfect functionality for the "product" offered.
  2. It's free. I'm a firm advocate of offering good design for those who deserve and need a professional touch, without having the budget for it. The creator even goes into greater detail as to the rights he's allowing for the use and re-use for his work in the About section of the site.
This site lists dozens of artistically created, tile-able patterns for use in web (or print) design, at no cost to the user as a download with two size options. Each pattern is also classified within a few general categories to refine your search, as well as browse the options.

While sifting through the options lain before you, you're given a container displaying each pattern in question associated with a name/title, date it was added, short description of the design, author, and button to download  The best part is being able to see the pattern in a preview feature that applies that tile to the site itself so you can see it in action, in it's intended form.


The patterns are primarily monotone, so upon downloading them, if you so choose to include any color or tint to them, it's fairly adaptable to the change.

On several occasions I've used this site to browse the available patterns and get some form of inspiration for a general look and feel for a site that may work based on an idea or two. Seeing what's available, and comparing it to what can be adapted help the sparks fly.

I'm a huge fan of this site as a standard, and must-have design resource for designers and developers. Having these high-quality resources available free to the public is a great way to encourage a policy of "no bad design" in personal and professional industries. If you're interested in having your pattern listed on the site, submit your design for consideration and become a part of this great resource for designers.

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