Design Trend: Watercolours In Graphic Design

Taking inspiration from watercolour painting techniques has really caught on in the last couple of years, and is still increasing in popularity. Here are a few tips on incorporating this trend into your print and online designs.

Virtual or real?

Firstly, you’ll need to decide whether you want to work with real-life brushes and paint to create your watercolour design, or use software to digitally create a similar effect. If you have the required skills, Photoshop is a great platform to experiment with a wide range of different brushes and styles.

Choice of colours

The final effect of your design can vary significantly depending on your choice of colours, so don’t randomly cycle through bright primary colours while you’re working. Instead, think carefully about what has worked well for you in the past and try to be original at the same time. If you’re promoting a brand, you need to consider the existing colours in their logo and corporate design scheme to ensure consistency whilst not blending into the background too much.

Creating texture

If you use real paint and scan or photograph your work to use in digital form, you should be able to capture a rich and attractive texture. This isn’t automatically present when you use virtual paints, so you’ll need to add a pattern or texture mask to bring your design to life. Try to vary the hue you use so the finished effect is more realistic and vibrant.

Adding typography

Ensure you choose a font that isn’t too fussy if you’re overlaying text on your watercolour. The background is the focus here, so the text needs to be very clear. In most cases, matching the text colour to your background will have the best results in terms of emphasising the colours in your paintwork.

Keep it simple

Overall, the best examples of watercolours being incorporated into web and print design have one thing in common: they only use exactly as much of this effect as required. Going too far with this technique will make your work look messy. You need to maintain a balance with clear and sharp lines to keep everything structured and in order. Small bursts of watercolour effect, however, can draw attention to the most important points.