Textures and Patterns Design Showcase

In: Graphics|Photoshop|Site Feeds|Tutorial

20 Jul 2008

Textures and patterns are used more often than one may think. The reason why we don’t see them is because they usually remain in the background, supporting the overall design, replacing a standard background color and creating a more inviting atmosphere. But they almost never stand out. Used primarily for background images, they need to fit to the overall design making the content easier to perceive. In fact, wood textures seem to have become so popular that designers suggest that wood is the new glossy style and wood is the new white.

Well, we don’t think that wood is a new revolutionary trend — after all, it was used and explored for years. However, since wood isn’t used everywhere — in correct and wrong contexts — experimenting with it makes perfectly sense. Still, there are a number of options beyond wood: e.g. fabric patterns, tiles, ground, stone, walls, bricks, stiches, cardboard, ceramics, decay, rust, old tapes, illustrations, plastic and glass.

In this post we present a showcase of sites using textures and patterns— we want to focus designer’s attention on design options available beyond wood. Reason: we strongly believe that vibrant, realistic background images are becoming a new trend. If it sounds familiar to you, you are absolutely right: we’ve seen the same trend 8-10 years ago. The sources for the background images are usually either photos (e.g. you can download free textures in the Smashing Texture Library) or illustrations created with Photoshop, Illustration etc.

You may want to take a look at the related articles:

Tiles, Patterns

How do I create a tile or a pattern?

Actually, that’s easier than one might think. For instance, you can use BgPatterns, a free “tiled background designer” which is basically a pattern library where you can find, create, rate and share patterns. You can select one of 68 images (scrolls, stars, flowers, hearts, signs, trees etc.) as well as pick a color of your tile and the pattern will be generated automatically.

You can also apply some effects (dirty, rugged etc.) and rotate the pattern as you wish. The service has a nifty preview option which enables you to generate your background tiles on the fly, download them or store them.

Here is a compact overview of tiles which have been used on some sites presented below:


Showcase of tiles and patterns in modern web design

The Paisley Farmhouse uses nicely packaged retro wallpaper tiles as the background image.

Texture Background Screenshot

Renegade Latino uses dark tiles for the background image. The content should probably be larger.

Textures and Patterns Design - Renegade Latino » Pa' Que Sepan El Poder Latino

t!agOliveira uses a hardly recognizable, dark pattern as the background image. The image supports the content and fits to the overall site layout.

Textures and Patterns Design - t!agOliveira's | onePageFolio

Uniquexports uses patterns and tiles for the background image for an online-shop. The pattern resembles a usual (not desktop) wallpaper. The design looks unusual yet attractive and definitely distinctive.

Textures and Patterns Design - Uniquexport

Noblanco with a background patterns on the left side of the page. The layout is right-aligned for some reason.

Textures and Patterns Design

General Robots uses stars tiles on both the left and the right side of the centered layout. It is also an online-shop.

Textures and Patterns Design - General Robots

Booreiland: any friends of blue, pink and yellow out there?

Textures and Patterns Design - Booreiland - platform for creative productions

Warfield.net with a classic wallpaper patterns…

Texture Background Screenshot

…and so does Designbyfront: the same theme, a different color.

Texture Background Screenshot

Falko Seidel with some tiles which one can find in old sweaters or on indoor walls.

Textures and Patterns Design - ::::: FSEID PORTFOLIO ::::: Falko Seidel :::::

Latviešu Dziesmu svētki with traditional wallpaper tiles.

Textures and Patterns Design - Latviešu Dziesmu svētki

Evernote has a corporate design with quite strange background patterns.

Textures and Patterns Design - Remember everything. | Evernote Corporation

Anthony Clark uses a fading background pattern in the header of his portfolio.

Textures and Patterns Design - antclark.co.uk | Anthony Clark | Online Portfolio

Rob Morris with a classic pattern used as the background image.

Textures and Patterns Design - Rob Morris

Eden Organix is a wellness store with a classic wallpaper pattern.

Textures and Patterns Design - Welcome to Eden Organix - The Finest Organic Skin Care and Cosmetics Products

MiniIcon keeps it to minimal; tiny content area is surrounded by background tiles.

Texture Background Screenshot

Paul Burd uses the same concept.

Texture Background Screenshot

Images and Textures


Outdoor Italia uses crumbly pieces of the ground as the background image. Other illustrations on the site fit to the background. The ants on the right hand side of the layout are pretty cool.

Textures and Patterns Design - Outdoor Italia official site - Abbigliamento e accessori per l'outdoor, escursionismo, campeggio, trekking

Stone and walls

Soyrosa uses vibrant stone stripes as the background image.

Textures and Patterns Design - SOYROSA.nl / weblog

Pikaboo.be with hard, strong and dark stone and an unusual vertical scrolling.

Texture Background Screenshot

Elliot Jay Stocks uses stones as well and has even a tutorial which explains how to Create a textured background image

Texture Background Screenshot

Nolgraphic makes it differently: a photo of a wall is used.

Texture Background Screenshot

Corner Stone Americus is a church web-site with a grunge look.

Texture Background Screenshot


uturn with bricks used as the background image. Here the background fits to the theme of the site which aims to “work togther to uplift street people”.

Textures and Patterns Design - uturn - working togther to uplift street people - homeless.org.za

Hubltd.com with bricks painted in a white color.

Texture Background Screenshot


Tennessee Education uses a vibrant background image with lines from primary school writing books.

Textures and Patterns Design - Education – Main

Springtime in Tennessee is a section on the same site and uses the same approach.

Textures and Patterns Design - Springtime in Tennessee

Dara’s Garden with beautiful flowers which make the background more lively and lovely.

Textures and Patterns Design - Dara’s Garden · Weddings, Receptions and Events in Knoxville, TN

Dean Oakley’s design isn’t long but wide. Users need to scroll horizontally. The background image (illustration) always remains the same.

Textures and Patterns Design - Dean Oakley - I currently live on the Gold Coast, Australia

DivVoted fills the whole page with a vibrant background image.

Textures and Patterns Design - DivVoted - vote for your favourite designs - another YoDiv site

Stiches and Fabric

the brainwashfactory with stiches and fabric. Notice the sewed header at the top of the site.

Textures and Patterns Design - the brainwashfactory

Design Sponge is dedicated to home and product design which explains why its background image is a fabric.

Texture Background Screenshot

Scouting for Girls doesn’t only offer a “sewed” background image; it has a beautiful ladybug at the bottom as well.

Texture Background Screenshot

Paper and Cardboard

Raufaser with an old paper pattern used as the background image.

Texture Background Screenshot

A-Falange.net uses old-looking paper…

Texture Background Screenshot

RedBull with a huge ragged cardboard. Flash in use.

Texture Background Screenshot

The Brown Corporation uses a similar idea. The site name (Shitbox) is probably not the best title from the marketing perspective.

Texture Background Screenshot


The Letter with a ceramics theme.

Texture Background Screenshot

Decay, Dirt and Grunge

BrightCreative: ornaments and patterns in use.

Texture Background Screenshot

Decay of Intent: the title of the site defines the layout of Alessandro Cammarota’s portfolio. Apparently, the background image stands for decay, the main theme of the site.

Textures and Patterns Design - Decay of Intent :: Alessandro Cammarota Portfolio

Old movie-tape

0hara uses an old movie-tape for the background.

Texture Background Screenshot


Riders network: riders drive on the roads which is why this riders’ club uses rusty road as the background image.

Textures and Patterns Design - RIDERS NETWORK e.V. - The different lounge for your bike

Life Style Sports has a rusty background image with asymmetric points spread across the background image.

Texture Background Screenshot


ChamaDigital with a “wood”-theme. Clean and beautiful design.

Textures and Patterns Design - Home | ChamaDigital - Web Design Portfólio

Kyle Haskins uses subtle “woody” background image which doesn’t stand out yet manages to support the content effectively. The design itself is clean and attractive.

Textures and Patterns Design - Kyle Haskins

Robert Strickland uses wood as the background image; the colors in the design are chosen accordingly.

Textures and Patterns Design - happilycreate by Robert Strickland

Slabovia.tv combine a unique retro-design with grid-based approach and with wood. The result is impressive.

Textures and Patterns Design - Slabovia.tv - Unimpressed With The West

Highresolutiontextures with, well, high-resolution textures and the wood used as a background image.

Textures and Patterns Design - highresolutiontextures.com - the home of high quality textures and patterns

Built by Buffalo with a high-quality wood background.

Texture Background Screenshot

Oahu Hawaii real estate attempts to combine grunge with retro and wood. The result is definitely unusual, but in some sense quite appealing.

Textures and Patterns Design - Oahu Hawaii real estate - homes and condos in Honolulu Waikiki Kailua

Rafael van der Vaart: the site uses wood as the background image. Beware: on the site music automatically starts to play.

Textures and Patterns Design - Rafael van der Vaart official football website

Does.ch uses wood, stiches, old paper and grunge together. Well, that’s an unusual combination.

Textures and Patterns Design - Does.ch

WebRevolutionary with the black-white wood.

Texture Background Screenshot

soulBlog uses a wood theme for a 4-column-based design layout. The color of links and headings fits to the theme.

Textures and Patterns Design - soulBlog

Skitnice uses wood not as the background image for the layout, but only as the background for the main content area.

Textures and Patterns Design - Skitnice - bend za svadbe

Paul Wallas with a light falling on the wood.

Texture Background Screenshot

Perfect Order is a Japanese online store with a wooden background.

Texture Background Screenshot

Bfrancesi.com with a dark sprayed “woody” background image.

Texture Background Screenshot

Anthonyfairweather is a producer and designer and he seems to love black wood.

Texture Background Screenshot

Brianwebb.org: surprise, surprise! This design combines two popular background themes, wood in the header and tiles in the footer.

Texture Background Screenshot

Sources and Resources

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