Words by Erin, Digital Design Media Manager.
Want a quick and easy way to elevate your design? Add a texture! Textures can add interest and authenticity to even the most basic print.
Textures come in all shapes and sizes and are used in print in multiple ways. In this post we discuss the impact of an ‘all over’ texture. That is, a texture that will be used across an entire textile design. In our upcoming Photoshop course (launching June 22) we use ‘all over’ texture in many chapters, so we thought we would help you prep for that whilst helping you build a texture tool box (or texture library as we call it here) for long-term use.
In the Longina Phillips Designs studio we have an enormous digital library of pre-made textures. It contains all kinds of textures we have collected ‘just in case’ they should come in handy. And we dip into it daily. It’s an essential resource for every designer on our team, and once you have created yours, you’ll know what we mean!
We recommend you begin with these five must-haves and build from there. Senior Designer Lyndsay helps get you started.
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1. Fabric Texture
First up, Lyndsay’s personal fave: fabric textures. “This might sound too subtle or even counterintuitive if you will be printing your designs on fabric, but trust me on this one – it will instantly glow up your print.” There are lots of different types of fabric textures you can add to achieve different finishes. For example, “a loose, open-weave faded fabric is good for adding a vintage feel to your prints, whereas a tighter woven fabric texture looks great on homewares designs,” Lyndsay says.
“You can make these textures yourself by scanning plain, non-printed fabric and creating a repeat from this so you can fit it seamlessly over your whole design. Play around with filter modes to integrate your texture into your design.”
2. Wax Resist
First up, if you’re creating a design which is inspired by a traditional technique of any culture, it goes without saying, we do not appropriate. “We love to look at lots of original works in reference books when drawing for this type of design to be inspired by the shapes and subject matter of the art while putting our own twist on it,” Lyndsay explains.
A great way to emulate the detail often associated with this kind of print is with a batik or wax resist texture. ” It nods to authentic batik designs,” Lyndsay says. You can source textures like these from online stock libraries. Just be sure to check – and abide by – the licensing rights for the image. Whenever your budget doesn’t stretch that far, we recommend creating the texture yourself.
Whilst these make stunning designs on their own, you can use natural, mineral-like prints to elevate other designs. The organic shapes and textures add depth and tonality and are a particularly fantastic texture for digital activewear designs. They pair particularly well with foliage and tropical flower motifs. “Use the texture as a flat layer on top, or use your eraser tool to rub sections of it out to create areas interest within the flow of your design” says Lyndsay.
Adding a stippled texture layer to your design is a great way to create really beautiful soft prints. It works particularly well with tropical elements, adding a different, 80’s-inspired finish to your average classic Hawaiian print. Experiment with different brushes, or try filter layers on photoshop to achieve a full stipple layer texture.
5. Pattern as Texture
“This is where you can let loose!” Lyndsay exclaims. Almost any pattern can be used as a ‘texture’ if you find the right way to apply it to your design. Tie dye, animal skin, floral – there are no limits. Overlay it with a photoshop filter, or use sections to add interest to areas of your design or individual elements. Have fun with it and give your design a unique update today.