Textures separate the men from the boys. The sheep from the goats. The beautiful from the passable. Chapter Three of The Principles of Beautiful Web Design.
Until I read this chapter, I could not put my finger on why some sites had that "finished" look, while others just did not. The question I still have is can someone - who does not consider himself terribly artistic - apply this knowledge to create a beautiful design? Regardless, at least I will know why the great designs from our graphic designers immediately click.
Art Building Blocks
- Point (grouped together leads to...)
- Line (grouped together leads to...)
Computers like boxes. Humans like freedom. The web is blocky and geometric. Photoshop and HTML lend themselves to geometric shapes and clean lines. When you fight against that and use freeform shapes, unique lines, and organic textures it shows care in design.
Quick Techniques to Escape the Box
- Rounded corners
- Light and Shadow
Common pattern goals:
- Aged, Weathered, Worn, and Nostalgic Style
- Clean and Grainy - subtle, but professional
- Handcrafted Scrapbook
- Whimsical Cartoon Style
- Minimal Texture
I would strongly recommend taking a look through the book itself to see some of the examples in each pattern category.