Web 2.0 design has more gradients than the Alps.

Why gradients are so useful

Areas, which would otherwise be flat color/tone, are softened by gradients.


They can create the illusion of a non-flat surface, used to good effect on Alex Dukal's portfolio.

Aurum homepage

You can use gradients to change a color into a lighter or darker tone, which can facilitate in creating mood.


In page backgrounds, they may also create an illusion of distance.

Blue-to-white is an ordinary gradient combo. It brings to mind the effect of aerial perspective thereby creating making people feel that the background fades away towards the horizon.


These are frequently utilized at the top of the page backgrounds, where they can assist in signifying the boundary of the viewable area.

Colorschemer Alex Dukal, illustrator

They're also an integral part of drop-shadows, and the inner-glows and specular highlights you see on glass- or plastic-style buttons.

Note that gradients usually work best when juxtaposed with areas of flat colour or tone.


On the Curve2 homepage, the gradients are more effective because each one is positioned adjacent to a flat white or grey section.

It's common to find gradients enhancing the base colour (using mix effects like color-burn or overlay in Photoshop), which create subtly different hues.

Here, the highlighted green colour is warmer and friendlier than the darker base colour. The general outcome is not only softer but also richer.


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