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Tantalizing Textures

Posted on November 25, 2011 and read 3,715 times

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This article was originally featured on, IHAVEANIDEA’s partner in all things related to stock imagery.

We talk about the feel of websites all the time. We might say a site has a classic feel or a grunge feel or a professional feel.

When users come to your website, they’re getting a feel for your brand or idea. Obviously they can’t actually reach out and touch it (though I’m sure Hollywood is working on this plotline right now), but they can come close with the help of rich textures.

Since humans perceive the world through the five senses – sight, sound, touch, smell and taste – the more senses you can appeal to, the more impact you can have on the user.

Taste and smell are tough ones, and I wouldn’t expect scratch ‘n’ sniff sites to pop up any time soon. But designers are playing with texture now more than ever to help tell a more sensory-complete story.

Some textures give a gritty feel, some a pretty feel. Some are super subtle, while others are in your face. However it’s used, texture can be a great tool for adding another dimension to your site.

Check out some of the awesome textures in the iStock collection and get more inspiration from the 25 textured websites below.

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Grooveshark recently refreshed its homepage with this simple chalkboard-textured design. It’s clean and a little bit retro at the same time.

Broken Social Scene

This Canadian indie rock band uses blocks of noisy texture for its background to depict, well, a broken social scene.

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The Blizzards

The Blizzards, an Irish rock band, utilize a more playful approach with taped-up headers and a cobweb effect in the background.

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Tiny Furniture

In the three times I visited this film site, each time it featured a new textured background. One was carpet-like, another was turquoise bathroom tile. All of them leave you with an every-day, every-person feel, which is perfect for this movie. Also, go see the film. Seriously.

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Free People

This soft, pretty background and neutral, textured navigation lend nicely to the bohemian free-love theme of the site and the product.

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Like the Anthropologie retail stores, this site makes you feel at once hip and original, fresh and retro – just like the products it sells.

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Starbucks Coffee at Home

This site is definitely a sensory experience. The chalkboard and chalk texture and accompanying sound work together to teach visitors about each roast and where it comes from in the world.

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Seven Trees Clothing

This rough and bold textured design reflects the ruggedness of the clothing and the artistry behind it.

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Design Sponge

A home design blog that incorporates texture all over, from navigation to headers to background, and a little lace border to boot. It’s as pretty and inspiring as the designs it blogs about.

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This is Naive

This is a blog about “inspirations, obsessions and things that make me smile” and that’s exactly what the gorgeously textured header and background allude to.

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Istok Pavlovic

This blog uses texture for everything except the fonts. It has a sort of paper-mâché art project feel to it, but in a good way.

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Not For Sale

This not-for-profit site uses bold textures to give it a feel of a pin-up board. This could be considered too cheesy for the seriousness of the content, but who says charity sites need to be depressing? Many charities are lightening the mood and focusing on the positives, like what we can do to create change.

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blood:water mission

The subtly textured background and header offer a nice contrast to the bold, all-caps text for a clean look and feel.

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The stitched-canvas background texture and faded-edge borders on this site give it a youthful and trendy feel that should appeal to its intended audience – young people looking to get involved, who also happen to love Bob Marley. Yeah, mon, I like it.

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Voices of Haiti

This subtle textured background gives the site an interesting, gritty feel that complements the content while not distracting from it.

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Maggie Taylor

Maggie Taylor’s Alice-in-Wonderland-style artwork is quirky and a little bit dark. The pretty, antique paper header and calm blue background offer a nice contrast to the darkness and complement the texture in the art itself.

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Crush Lovely

The background texture is fun and noisy, but its muted grey color gives the main image area appropriate prominence. It’s nice complementary contrast, if that’s a thing.

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This is an awesome site with great texture used throughout. Even if you can’t read the Spanish text, the texture helps tell the story. It’s what you expect from a design studio website, but don’t always get.

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feed stitch

This site could use better text hierarchy to make it’s goal clearer, but the use of texture and color are so great I almost don’t care that it took me a full minute to figure out what the purpose of the site was. Almost.

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Fundo Los Paltos

The textured background on this organic foods website lends nicely to the overall earthy and pure feel. It makes you want to run out and buy an organic avocado – and that’s the point, so well done.

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The Farmer & The Chef

The wood-plank background on this event site actually looks like it could give you a sliver, and it blends beautifully into the paint-textured imagery. What’s not to love?

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The New York Moon

The subtle textured background with roughed edges gives this quirky site a nice a retro feel, like radio and moon landings.

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Creative Spaces

The myriad of rich textures employed here pull you deep into this crazy-cool site with an enthusiasm reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. It kind of makes me want to find a creative space, just with the hopes it might look like this – complete with the deer-headed man, of course.

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A design portfolio that stands out with its simple grunge background and a bold textured header that makes you remember who you’re looking at.

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Edge Point Church

This is not your grandparent’s church website. The rich textured background and header, the use of sticky-note social media links and a logo that looks like it could belong to a record label make this church website decidedly youthful and trendy.

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