Texture Adds More to Design Than Meets the Eye

Texture is a powerful force when incorporated into design, adding visual interest, depth and detail. It can make a two-dimensional piece seem more life-like, creating an emotional response that results in increased feedback and better message recollection. Furthermore, choosing textures that relate to the concept of a piece will not only add interest, but will also support the intended underlying message of design.

There are many different elements that enhance texture, whether it’s in the tactile sense or the visual nature. Paper selection is key when creating a printed design, as the texture and color both contribute greatly to design’s appeal. You can enhance or alter the mood of your design, subtly or dramatically, by using textured and colored papers. You also can enhance the visual texture of your design by choosing color relationships that both separate shapes and make attractive combinations. Incorporating lines, shapes and photographic images also augments visual texture.

Use the following suggestions to enhance the tactile feel of your printed design.



1. Using a coarse paper is a clear choice to enhance a design’s tactile texture, and also can be a great choice to change an image’s visual appearance. Not only does the feel of it draw attention, but the appearance of an uneven surface adds visual interest. Try using a ‘slick’ visual texture on rough paper to add more depth and appeal. Paper suggestion: Royal Resource® (Bark Finish)






2. The feel and look of canvas adds both visual and tactile interest to design. Just as paintings come to life on a canvas, printed graphics do the same. For added texture, try embossing or engraving areas of your printed design.

Paper suggestion: Royal Complements® (Canvas Finish)



3. We’ve all heard the saying “less is more,” and it holds true for design. Just as texture can enhance the concept of your design, it can also overwhelm the message if used inappropriately.  Sometimes all you need is a light, tactile texture to polish off your project. For a word-heavy design, try using a bold typeface printed on lightly-textured paper to add interest without overwhelming the message.

Paper suggestion: Astroparche® (Vellum Finish)

While texture is most commonly thought of as the way an object feels, visual textures can be just as provocative and full of meaning as textures we touch.  To heighten your design’s visual texture, try using the following suggestions.

1. Metallics are beautiful and sophisticated and can truly add a visual interest to design. Metallic paper enhances and highlights the glowing quality of art. With a visually-textured graphic, this smooth, shiny paper will enhance the details of your printed design. Try using bright, bold hues with shaded edges against a soft or neutral metallic paper with a tinted gloss varnish.

Paper suggestion: Royal Metallics® White GoldTM

2. A soft, simple paper is an excellent choice for a highly visual-textured graphic. This ‘au natural’ approach can define and complement a design, rather than overwhelm its message. You can add a glossy finish to a printed image to create a tactile differentiator. Try using spot coating over a colorful, visually-textured graphic printed on an earth-toned, smooth paper.

Paper suggestion: Royal Fiber® Stone



3. Marble is rich and elegant. It adds beauty and sophistication to design. With a versatile color palette featuring a subtle marble pattern, you can pair a simple image with a dynamic background. Try using a subdued graphic image printed in standard litho against a soft marble background to maintain consistency while enhancing textural appeal.

Paper suggestion: Royal Marble® Golden Travertine

There’s nothing like the right combination of color and texture to capture someone’s attention, create a mood, or leave a lasting impression.  As an innovative designer, don’t you think your projects should be as full of life as you?

Andrea Alstad is the manager of strategic markets, print & color for the paper segment of Wausau Paper, a leading manufacturer of colored uncoated printing and imaging papers. www.wausaupaper.com