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Bring In The Traditional

Today we rely heavily on technology for almost every aspect of design. We use it to create patterns, textures, representations of sea, sky, and more. But what happens when that perfect texture just can’t be recreated, or better yet, it’s just not so easy to recreate?

When Technology Isn’t The Best Option

When technology isn’t the best option, (Yes…even for a Graphic Artist), consider bringing in the traditional, or original pattern or texture. Instead of spending your precious time recreating the feeling of something by illustrating, applying effects, or downloading brushes or patterns, go straight to the source and use an image of that!

torn brown paper - "What's your story?" written under tear


collage of torn paper and torn photos


For Example

For example, instead of looking for images of crumpled paper online, or attempting to design a pattern that mimics the look of crumpled paper; my professor at the Art Institute of California – Inland Empire, Dorreen Petersen Davis, would tell me to go find some paper, ball it up or crumple it to your liking, then photograph or scan that bad boy in for use in your artwork. This is bringing in the traditional – placing an actual wrinkled paper, which can be easier to create and actually give you a much more authentic feeling result.

This can work with torn paper, foliage, sewing stitches, and more. The point is that including the actual thing you’re trying to portray can work better, and save you more time than recreating it in many cases. Graphic-design.com has a short tip about exactly this subject.

Other Ways to Apply Traditional

Recently my coworker, Erica, suggested that we paint the corners/edges of a printed piece of art on the wall in our design studio to give it the appearance that the art was painted on the wall. This was brilliant! Don’t spend time color sampling and matching to illustrate and then print this appearance… Just print the artwork, then paint the corners with the actual wall paint to give it this appearance. Again, bring in the traditional!

This can be applied to more than just graphic design. A great, bringing in the traditional idea for your home or for interior designers is to create a wall paper or wall covering from the design and pattern of your favorite textile. This can be a patterned blanket, jeans, a shirt or dress, or anything that speaks to your design sensibilities. A design company in Los Angeles, Aztek Wallcovering Inc., has shown this process of simply scanning in a client’s textile, and printing it on wall covering. It seems like a cool idea, and shows how versatile the idea of bringing in traditional can be.