An issue of texture ( a request for help)

nicolemarie's picture

Hi Everyone,

I'm a really newbie when it comes to design processes and I have yet to figure out the trick to make amazing textures in graphic and illustrative pieces. Pieces like these from Mikey Burton and Dan Cassaro with this gritty, xerox type texture are amazing and something I am trying mimic in a piece I'm working on.

Does anyone have any tips, suggestion or can point me in the right direction of a tutorial of how to accomplish this? Is it all photoshop or is there some sort of special transparency trick in illustrator I am missing?


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hrant's picture

Where's the type?


Joshua Langman's picture

Well, there's a bit of lettering in one of the images … maybe that counts …

Is it Illustrator or Photoshop? I wouldn't know, but if I were going to do it, I wouldn't use either. Make the texture using real-world materials and photograph it. I recently did a grunge logo, not by messing with the vectors in Illustrator, but by printing the clean logo, crumpling it, dampening it, stomping on it, rubbing pencil shavings all over it, etc. It looks great. The best way to do this kind of thing is to actually do it.

The texture in the first image looks like a letterpressed plate. So maybe you should design your image, have it made into plates, print it letterpress on rough paper, and photograph it. Or, better yet, if you're designing for print, let the letterpress piece be your final product.

vilbel's picture

Such textures are widely available on stock photography sites, and can be overlayed in photoshop via blend modes.

JamesM's picture

The blue one looks like it might be a photo of a dirty wall surface that was combined in Photoshop with the illustration (each put on a different Photoshop layer and then combined using blend modes). As vilbel said, textures are widely available. Many sites offer free textures, and commercial sites like iStockPhoto have tons of them for a few bucks apiece (one nice thing about a commercial site like iStockPhoto is their search engine that lets you find textures by description, colors, etc.). And a Google search will turn up many sites devoted to textures techniques.

The other graphic looks to me that the texture was drawn as part of the illustration, rather than being an unrelated texture that was overlaid.

nicolemarie's picture

Thanks everyone

@hrant I apologize if this is not a purely type specific question. I thought posting in the general design board would be a safe bet and in any regard I have always received great help and tips from the forums on typophile, thanks for your input.

@Joshua Langman thats a great idea, ill try that out

@vilbel and Jame M I have tried stock textures already but it still does not provide the result I'm looking for, which is why I assumed I must be missing a big step that everyone else knows but me. But thank you for the suggestions!

aluminum's picture

The best way is to grab your camera/scanner and start collecting textures you like.

You then typically apply them by making them monotone (grayscale) masks and using various layer blending options to achieve the particular look you want.

JamesM's picture

> I have tried stock textures already but it still
> does not provide the result I'm looking for

Maybe the problem is not with the textures but with the way you're applying them. Can you post an example of a graphic where you applied a texture and didn't like the result?

(My guess is that you're just using the textures in a subtractive way as a mask to delete or obscure portions of your graphic, but in the examples you posted that you liked they were using textures in both an additive and subtractive way.)

Steven Acres's picture

As the others have mentioned, actually distressing it is the best. That being said, it CAN be done within photoshop, if you give it some time (having a pen tablet is also VERY handy): distress type by hand.

hrant's picture

Nicole, I just worry about losing focus, in this place I hold dear (partly because as you say it's so helpful). Not to sound melodramatic, but the broader world of graphic design is the behemoth that can swallow up this haven of type.


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