I enjoy the subtle impact that textures make on a design. From a felt finished stock for an invitation to a printed visual texture, they add something special to a design.
I think this love stemmed from a happy accident in a design studio course in college. We were working on group projects that included packaging design. My group’s product was tattoo ink, and we brought in a printed draft of our ink packaging. The printer we used for our draft was running low on ink, and instead of printing a nice solid black background, it came out randomly striped. Our teacher loved the low ink accident, and then we had to try to recreate it. But, we all fell in love with it too. It added another layer of visual interest to the package design that wasn’t obvious or in your face.
I love using a great paper with a nice textured finish and perhaps even a color for invitations. It can set off a simple design and really elevate it to a more elegant, classy level. I know I’ve shown this invitation before, but the bold yellow, vellum-finished cover-weight stock really took what was a simple design concept and made it stand out. It’s not a paper choice you see everyday.
Another trick I love is to print a fake texture. When you can’t afford to use a fancy laid or linen finish paper, you can always scan it and print it in the background. While you don’t get the physical reaction to the texture, you still get the visual impact. Again, I’ve shown this invitation before, but here is an example where I scanned old book pages to get the visual texture of the paper. It’s not really something you notice on its own, but it certainly sets the stage for the concept that this invitation is a book. This is a great technique to make something look old or formal. I’ve scanned fabrics, textured papers, torn edges, natural objects and more. There are lots of possibilities!
Another idea for texture is a visual pattern. I love to do this for greeting cards I’m making. It can give you a background to make a focal point message pop.
My designer takeaway: Texture is a great subtle addition to create the true feeling you want for a piece. There are many ways to achieve this!