Distressed Design Part 4
4th edition — by Patrick McNeil — Jan. 8, 2008
The Design Element
For this edition of distressed design I tried to include some more subtle usages of the style. Often times this worn and battered look is taken to an extreme (and there are some examples here of course), but other times it is used in a less over the top way. As with many design elements they can either be the focus of the design, or simply play a supporting role. I am very intrigued at how something like the distressed look can be used to support other more dominate elements of a design. Lets look at some samples and see how it works.
The first sample that jumps out at me is the Lanikai Properties site. I can't say that the first idea that comes to mind when thinking about a real estate site is a worn and battered look. And yet, this is just what we find here. Typically we want to connect homes with shiny and new things, fresh, clean, and pristine. Instead, this site connects with it's beach front aesthetic by reflecting the distressed look of drift wood, or old signs worn down by years of blowing sand. Interestingly this style connects with the viewer in a positive way and reminds us of the experiences we have had on the beach. As much as the distressed style plays into this feel, something else gives it away first, and the distressed style is actually secondary. The colors and imagery create the get away feeling more then anything. The flower icons, the letter with a stamp, even the beach like colors. These elements whisk us away first and foremost. The distressed style merely supports this excursion.
Another very subtle usage, yet not nearly as meaningful, can be found on native.com. This beautifully simple site has just enough of a worn look to it to create a nice style, and yet, the overall clean and very minimal aesthetic is the primary design approach. This stands in stark contrast to a site like sourhaze.com where the distressed design is pretty much the entire style. They are both beautiful and they are both effective, it is really just a matter of finding the balance and message your looking for.
Finally lets take a look at treehouse.com.tr. This beautiful site has used a style which borders on simple texture, though I see it as giving it a worn and aged look. But the technique is far different. It doesn't have that rubbed off look, instead it looks slightly dirty and faded. And in the theme of this article the distressed look is not the primary style, this one could easily be found in an article on illustration in design, or maybe collage.
So, the real point here is to consider the degree to which we use styles, and in this case the distressed style. All approach's can be used to varying degrees and the end results are infinite.
Connotations of texture: Worn, used, free, expressive,
physical, tangible, artistic, creative, raw, hip, aged, historic, rough,
grass roots, urban, and rebellious.
Massive Texture Collections
Mayang Textures (1000's
of free high res textures)
Textures (registration and contribution required)
Small Texture Collections
The House Painter (free)
of what you should learn to do yourself, but very nice indeed)
That Wicked Worn
Look (tutorial series)
Mister Retro (Photoshop filters)
CSS based worn type tutorial
rubber stamp tutorial (Photoshop)