Textures and Patterns

One of the first areas we branched out into after starting out exclusively with fonts, was an early package of interesting textures and background patterns. These were graphic resources we originally designed for use in various print projects – some of them pretty peculiar – which we thought were potentially useful to other designers for their projects. The problem we ran into almost immediatly was that very few designers realized how valuable and flexible texture designs can be outside of a few very limited and familiar applications, like wallpapers. As a result our texture collections have never really been hot sellers and we’ve let them languish in obscurity. We hope this new page will help educate and inform to bring about a full realization of the extraordinary value of textures in all areas of design.

What on earth is a texture? Basically, a texture is a graphic which doesn’t necessarily represent a particular scene or object, but rather preserves the specific look of an area of surface on an object, or a particular space within an image which has an identifiable distinct appearance, such as a group of clouds, the bark of a tree, the surface of a stone, etc. Textures can be very complex or very simple, and you can find them all over virtually any image, but you rarely notice them because you see the compisite image, not the variety of textures and texture variations which make up the image, in combination with other elements such as outlines and shading. You can see a wide variety of our textures sampled on this page, both presented flat and demonstrated as textures on curved surfaces with lighting effects.

For the designer and artist there are many uses for textures. Digital animators use textures all the time in helping to make their spaces and objects look more real. If you look at any environmental game or animated movie you will notice how textures have been used to give walls and floors, objects and backgrounds a feeling of reality. The thing which makes a door look like wood and not metal, or makes a ball look like leather and not plastic is probably a texture. What many designers seem not to realize is that with the internet and printing technology available today textures can be valuable in many areas of design where you might not expect them. Textures have great potential in web design and in areas of print design which are traditionally fairly static. Many of the best designers already realize the value of the subtle use of texture. Look closely at the areas of color you see in print ads or on the web. Sometimes those aren’t colors, but are actually subtle textures used in place of a flat color to engage the eye and make a page look more interesting.

On the web the most common use of textures is in providing backgrounds or wallpapers for a web page. While many design guides recommend against doing this, out of concern for inexperienced users, they rob you of one of the most powerful tools for giving your web page a distinctive appearance. While it’s true that overly complex and colorful backgrounds can distract and confuse readers, subtle use of appropriate textures which are designed to work well with text will help keep readers attention and make the theme of your page more pervasive. Try to avoid textures which have dark shades (unless you use light colored text) and lots of contrast. Textures like our paper textures work particularly well. You may also want to fade the texture you use for your background by using a 20-60% white or light colored fill, keeping in mind the threshold at which the fill overwhelmes the texture and creates an ugly white blur.

There are basically two important types of textures. A ‘spot’ texture is one which has a unique and distinctive pattern, but is not intended to be used as wallpaper and is not designed to form a continuous uninterrupted pattern when used as a tile. A ‘pattern’ texture is one which is designed to be used as a style and is made in such a way that when multiple blocks of the texture are laid out next to each other they form a a continuous, non-interrupted pattern so that you cannot tell where one tile ends and the next begins. Pattern textures are not necessarily the same as traditional pattern tiles, since they are designed to look like a continuous texture when tiled, not like a series of more complicated interconnected forms. Spot textures are usually used in artistic design to add depth and complexity to elements of an image. Pattern textures are mostly used in graphic design for forming backgrounds and wallpaper type effects, either in print or on the web. All of our texture packages include a mix of both kinds of textures, and in many cases both spot and pattern versions of the same texture design. We’ve used pattern textures extensively for the backgrounds on our web pages, particularly textures from our paper and fabrics collections.

The Scriptorium Texture Collection contains hundreds of original texture and pattern designs organized thematically. It is an enormously valuable resource for any digital artist or graphic designer. Many of the textures in the collection were developed in the course of projects on which we were working, from game designs to book covers, to original art projects, to web pages. The thematic sub-collections can be purchased individually, or they can all be purchased together as a group on a single complete textures CD. The sub-collections include wood textures, stone and mineral textures, fabric textures, paper textures, metallic textures, animal skin textures, sky and sea textures, artistic textures and more. The complete collection is $89 and you can order directly from our ONLINE ORDERING SITE Or you can call us at 1-512-656-8011.

The texture packages shown in the samples on this page are (from top to bottom) – Skin Textures, Stone Textures, Wood Grain Textures, Artistic Textures, Paper Textures, Fabric Textures.

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