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Element of Design: Texture

Texture refers to the surface quality in a work of art. We associate textures with the way that things look or feel. Everything has some type of texture. We describe things as being rough, smooth, silky, shiny, fuzzy and so on. Some things feel just as they appear; this is called real or actual texture. Some things look like they are rough but are actually smooth. Texture that is created to look like something it is not, is called visual or implied texture.

Texture may be used in a work of art to:

  • create visual interest or a focal point in a compostion
  • to create contrast within a design compostion
  • to help visually balance a design compostion

Real Texture

Picture of pebbles an example of real textureExample of real texture, wood.

Visual texture is the real thing. Real texture cannot be represented here because a computer screen, even with the highest quality photgraphs can only create simulate textures. However for the purpose of prviding examples assume that these images are real.

Visual or Implied Texture

Example of invented texture

Visual or implied texture can be simulated or invented. Simulated texture is the type that is created to look like something it is not. For example, in drawing or painting of a cat where its fur is made to look like real fur. Invertn texture, on the other hand may look rough, smooth or any other feel but is purely made up by the artist. It does look like "real" texture.

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