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How many times have you focused on the layered background textures or the background image of a website instead of its overall appearance? Background Patterns are like the watchdogs for a website that watches her back without even disturbing its existence. Background patterns (when used smartly) add to the website’s overall appeal. Sometimes they might look overdone but design is very subjective and sometimes new designers go a bit overboard. This discussion is part of our ongoing series of Design Trends in the design industry. Stick with us and rest assured that some astonishing designs are coming your way.
Background Patterns are a set of cells, templates or tiles arranged together to form a visible background for a website’s design. Most of the time these backgrounds are designed so that when repeating the image it doesn’t actually look like the image is repeating . Rather, it would look like one large image covering the background of the very website.
The image below is obviously a single image tiled five times to form one large image. You can see the borders because I used a paint brush. You don’t even see those when used wisely.
These days background patterns are being used (over and over) but with a touch of innovation. Instead of flowers, blocks or circles (like in the image above) design patterns have come a long way (and we will see that in the rest of this discussion.)
Okay! Why hurry? We are discussing an important part of a website’s design. Background patterns (as I said before) have come a long way. The trends have changed and the change (in this case) was for the better. Let us analyze the trends (before you close this browser window) that have given design patterns a lot more importance than usual.
That doesn’t change, ever! Designers create websites for visitors. What is the meaning of a religion without followers? Similarly, what is the meaning of a website without any visitors? For example the background pattern of The Boring Machine compliments its audience which will be the ones looking for shirts.
So, next time you opt for a background pattern for your next website design remember to ask yourself the following questions:
It is disappointing to see a background design pattern killing the content’s aesthetics. No matter how much we experiment in our designs, we must keep in mind that content was (and will always be) the king. If our background outshines our content then we might attract visitors in the short term, but the design is bound to fail in the long run. Remember, background design patterns are made to watch the website’s back. They must add to the visuals of the website and not overpower or distract from the content.
The example of Dribble’s Error Page seconds my thoughts.
Using a background pattern for a website does not mean that we are planning a colorful website. Design patterns with minimal usage of colors exist and they add to look of the minimal design. Henceforth, if you get to designing a minimal website and if you feel the twitch to use a background pattern then do not hesitate. There are loads of minimal background design patterns and they are very appealing. A quick example is Icon Moon.
I have been putting emphasis on patterns-not-popping-out as that might kill a visitor’s experience. It is important to design a background pattern keeping in mind the website’s requirements. The background design pattern must gel effortlessly with the rest of the design instead of outshining it. I really don’t think that I will stress this anymore because the message should be clear. They must be fully integrated with the website’s design. The effortlessly designed background pattern of Amazee Labs is a great example of this.
An agile notion that comes with background design patterns is that they cover the complete background of a website. If they are small then they are used as tiles and the large image covers the website’s background. Times have changed and so have the trends. Background design patterns can be used for the entire background of the website or just a section of the website. It really depends on the requirements and making a decision against the complete background filled with design patterns must not be that difficult. See WoWo Designs for inspiration.
Enough with words. I think it is time to pump you up with some very exciting background design patterns. Let me know your experiences in the comments below.
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Salman Siddiqui is an alpha geek, design guru and seasoned WordPress critic. Writing, for him, started out of ego but it has become the most luring and enlightening career option of his life. He is walking that extra mile for his freelancing dream.