I have, at one stage, been called The Queen of Patterns by my clients, to my somewhat obsessive use of patterns and textures in my website designs. I love them. Any excuse to use a pattern, I will. A well-placed pattern, subtle or loud, can not only give the design depth and dimension, it also evokes tactility. A website, to simplify it right down, is just colours and shapes on a screen. To have the ability to make a screen appear soft, fluffy, sharp, metallic, crunchy, hot, cold, wet etc with patterns and textures is irresistible to me as a designer.
Now, I’m certainly a fan of the flat design trend that’s currently sweeping the design world; a sharp, corporate website begs for it. But if I’m designing a site that sells cupcake ingredients, children’s toys or beautiful fabrics, I run straight to my trusty patterns. Here are three of my favourite free pattern and texture resources:
My absolute favourite and my main go-to website for seamless patterns. As the name suggests, the vast collection of patterns are brilliantly subtle and are perfect for a hint of texture in website backgrounds or as an overlay on coloured elements and images. Wood, concrete, paper, fabric; Subtle Patterns is a treasure trove of tasteful patterns and are all seamless, ready for instant use in your design. You can preview a tiled version of your chosen pattern with a click of a button and you can also download a .pat file for quick use within Photoshop.
The Pattern Library
We’ve had subtle, now for the LOUD; these patterns will blow your socks off. From waffles and chicken legs to bicycles and lighthouses, The Pattern Library is perfect for a bold and tongue-in cheek design statement. These delightful patterns are also seamless and ready to add straight to your design. I’m dying to use some of these in good kids website.
While the previous examples are great for illustrative patterns, Texture Lovers is perfect for photographic textures. If you’re looking for a cloudy sky, rusty metal or weathered concrete to boost your design, this site is for you. While most of the textures aren’t seamless, a quick edit in Photoshop can give you the perfect textured website background.
So next time you’d like to add some depth and tactility to your design, give these great resources a go and be your own King or Queen of Patterns!