Article : Just the Right Amount of Texture Can Make All the Difference

As a professional web site designer, you know the routine. Project after project is thrown across your desk. Each client wants something cool, new, fresh and unique. But after years of designing web sites for clients, it's easy to get burned out, and often projects end up looking a bit dull. Your work doesn't have the sparkle it had when you first started in the business. You need to find the enthusiasm you had long ago.

So, you're looking for something new. You want something to make your work stand out again. Have you ever thought of using high-quality background textures on your sites? I'm not talking about those 1990's tiled backgrounds that someone created in a free Window's image editor. I mean high-resolution photographic textures of real objects. I know. I know. You're saying that stock photography costs. Perhaps your budget is peanuts, or maybe you have no budget at all. That's okay. No need to worry.

I bet you have a digital camera... right? And if it's any newer than 5 or 6 years old, it probably takes fairly high-resolution photographs. If you have a nice digital SLR, that's just gravy, but any digital point-and-shoot will do just fine. Do you get where I'm going with this? Get off your lazy rear and take some photographs! It's easy to find great background textures all around you. Everything you see each day is made out of something, wood, plastic, metal, glass, concrete; your wood desk or hardwood floors, the tile of your kitchen back splash, the brick wall outside your office, the side walk in front of your house, the grayed wood of your fence. These are all excellent material for photo textures. Again, they are all free resources for you. Just make a mental list of all the types of textures that make good web site backgrounds, like brick, carpet, concrete, dirt, fabric, glass, grunge, liquids, metal, paint, paper, plants, plaster, plastic, rock, rubber, rust, sand, stone, tile, water, wood and more. Keep this list in your head and you'll start noticing those textures in the world around you. I promise!

If you want some really good material, visit an old warehouse district like I often do. In Fort Worth, TX, where I live, the south side of downtown is filled with old buildings and warehouses. It's easy to find pieces of rusted metal, or grunge covered concrete, not to mention beautiful, old, worn brick and water damaged or weathered wood. These every day images make some of the best background texture photos you could imagine. And again, in the age of digital photography, snapping a few hundred photos costs you virtually nothing!

If in the end, you are just too lazy and uninspired to get up and create your own background texture photos, you can find some quality resources on the web for free stock photo textures. But remember, if you take the photo, it makes your work that much more unique and original. If you always just use the work of someone else, you're bound to keep creating the same, dull, boring designs, time and time again.

Even if you wouldn't consider yourself a photographer, you can do this. It's simple to point and shoot your way out of your dull, design funk. So, take a field trip. Get some fresh air. Get some inspiration! It will be good for you in more ways than you know.

David T Welch is a photographer, web designer and .Net developer. If you'd like some inspiration for your own Texture Photo Field Trip, feel free to check out some of David's own Free Stock Photo Textures and Backgrounds. You may only use this article if it is kept fully intact, up to and including this sentence, and leaving all HTML and links in place.