From pushing paint around in the background of a masterpiece one color to another, a screened-image print of tiny dots to create the illusion of blended color, to the innovation of digital desktop publishing, gradients have been around for longer than you might think. However, it is a design trend that is making a strong comeback in 2018. Don’t mistake this for a new trend. In both digital and print, gradients have been around for some time. With the strong, flat color being a design mainstay for a while now, some designers are switching back to incorporating gradients in new and exciting ways.
Simple can make a big statement–using colors that compliment a brand or image, using a flat color can add a bold look, using two-tones is popular too. You can even set a mood with the colors you choose. This is great when overlaid on a photo (seen a lot these days), or used to fill typography to make it be noticed on a dark background. While I am a big proponent (and fan) of clean, open design, gradient color can take a design to the next level.
Too much or just enough? Just like candy, gradients can be sweet. Too much and both your stomach and eyes are going to ache. Is one gradient not enough? Two can work together great! Three, four or more…be careful overdoing it. This color effect can work against itself when too many gradients are all used together.
Look for designs around you that utilize gradients. It can be a really great effect, just look and you will find many examples on the internet–in apps and all over social media. Many icons are being gradated from their once flat color designs. Often times in several different color variations. Once you recognize it, you will see gradients used everywhere.
Take a risk and go bold! Sometimes you must throw the can of paint at the wall and watch it spatter all over. While it may be messy, the end result may be amazing. If you want a design to get noticed, imitating what you have seen will point you in a direction, however, until you pop out and break that boundary you will remain part of the crowd.
I have to admit that gradients are by no means my favorite. I have seen many examples where it was a poor choice. However, I don’t count it out in my design toolbox and have made some designs shine when I figure out just the right colors and how to disperse them with precision. Many amazing things can be achieved with color, so give gradients a go.