Whether you’re designing a website, a package label, or a social media banner, backgrounds and textures will be your best friend—but they can also be daunting to work with. It’s hard to know when a pattern goes from “awesome” to “too much,” so it can be easy to shy away from intricate designs.
Luckily, we have a few tricks up our sleeves. We’ve created the Classic Backgrounds and Textures Collection to highlight our favorite stock vector patterns, and we’ll show you how to pick killer designs for your next branding project. Just follow our lead and you’ll be making awesome design mockups in no time.
What Makes a Design “Classic?”
Both minimalist and bold backgrounds are all the rage right now, but is there a middle ground? Absolutely! Intricate lines, soft watercolors, and subtle 3D designs all fall into that middle category—and that’s where “classic” emerges. These backgrounds are often monochrome or feature softer colors, giving them a more minimalist look but maintaining elaborate features.
Take the design below: the background is almost completely covered in lines and dots, but the lines are so thin and the dots are so small that the pattern still has a “classic” feel. The single-color design also helps the background avoid becoming too busy.
But once you add text, even classic backgrounds and textures can overwhelm a mockup. So how do you make these design elements coexist?
It’s rare that backgrounds get to exist all on their own—more often than not there is some text involved. The problem is that even backgrounds and textures with muted colors can overpower text. In those cases, you need to make space for the words to shine.
In the paper bag example above, we put our text in a semi-transparent white box that sits in the middle of the design. The transparency of the box allows the background to show through, creating consistency throughout the entire design. We want to make the text easy to read, but we don’t want to make it stand out too much from the background.
We used a similar technique in the example below. Again, the box around the text is semi-transparent, making the text easier to read while maintaining the continuity of the design.
Cropping Backgrounds and Textures
When working with classic backgrounds and textures, one of our favorite “hacks” is to simply use the crop tool! Some patterns are so intricate that you only need a small portion of the design to make a huge impact on your product.
Take the wine bottle example below. We only used part of this ombre grunge texture because we didn’t want to overwhelm the bottle with a giant label. The cropped texture makes the design interesting without being too large for the bottle.
You can also see that we highlighted the text again. This time we varied the shape of the frame and didn’t use any borders to show how you can make this technique all your own.
Simple, straight-forward, but still visually striking—what’s not to love?
Classic backgrounds and textures are your allies—not your enemy. Armed with these tips and tricks you’ll be ready to embark on your next branding adventure—so put your knowledge to use and check out the entire collection.