Design Trend

Gritty gradients make great graphics

Gradients are a super useful asset in your graphic design toolbox, especially when texturised with grain for a lo-fi look.

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June 1, 2020

Gradients – the seamless transition of two or more colors – are incredibly useful assets in your graphic design toolbox. Perfectly blended pastel gradients have been hugely popular over the last few years, evolving from simple two-tone transitions to abstract swirls of fluid hues.

Blended pixel by pixel, the digital gradient aesthetic is an expression of technology – more perfect than the human hand could achieve. As such, it tends to be used with a very clean, modern, and even futuristic aesthetic.

But the analogue revolution has infiltrated the graphic design world, and we’re seeing a big swing away from digital precision. Rough texture and imperfection take the bright shine off a design, creating an impression of retro realness – which explains why gritty gradients are huge right now.

Lightly speckled with grain, these gradients look more like spray paint than a seamless digital effect. Your graphic design takes on a physical dimension, as though it could be touched. This textural intrigue draws the eye in instinctively.

At the simplest level, gritty gradients make brilliant backgrounds for bold text and simple graphics. When a solid color background feels a bit basic and boring, using a gradient instead will immediately add visual interest and depth to your design. Something as simple as a business card really pops to life with this on-trend graphic element.

If you’ve ever tried using the cut-out effect,  gradients work beautifully here – filling up text or shapes with subtle blends of color. It works really well with big bold text, since every letter will have its own unique fill, and your design will appear more dynamic.

Gradients don’t have to always be in the  background. They make really interesting photo filters for image editing too. Use the Blend tool to superimpose the gradient into your photo, and you’ll transform a regular old picture into a graphic work of art. Gritty gradient will add that extra dimension of texture, transforming the digital into analogue.

We’ve recently added some super cool ‘Gritty Gradients’ graphics into our library, so search for these in the app.

We have dozens of other gradients to choose from, so when it comes to graphic design including image editing, any of these can be made gritty by adding a layer of dust or grain on top. Look at the difference it makes to the overall feeling of the design when you apply some texture to your gradient.

Pick a 'noisy texture' graphic, and blend it over your gradient to add some grit.

Try this graphic design technique out for yourself in Over today, and see how much fun it can be when it’s this simple.

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