How To Use Subtle Backgrounds To Enhance Your Design

· Building Your Site,Design Inspiration,Tips and Tricks
How To Use Subtle Backgrounds To Enhance Your Design


Subtle backgrounds are an important aspect of website design that can greatly enhance the user experience. Using subtle patterns, textures, and transparent layers in the background can make a website more visually appealing and engaging for visitors.

This article discusses subtle backgrounds and how they impact user experience. We'll also provide tips for designing with subtle backgrounds, including choosing the right subtle background and combining it with other design elements. Finally, we'll explore how to implement subtle backgrounds on Strikingly and discuss their advantages and potential disadvantages in web design.

Understanding Subtle Backgrounds

Subtle backgrounds are a popular design element used in website design. They are typically patterned or textured backgrounds that add depth and interest to a website without overwhelming the content.

Definition Of Subtle Backgrounds

Subtle backgrounds is defined as patterns or textures used as a background in website design that enhance the site's overall aesthetic without distracting from the content.

Different Types Of Subtle Backgrounds

There are several types of subtle backgrounds, including patterned backgrounds, transparent textures, and subtle textures. Patterned backgrounds use repeated designs to create interest on the page, while transparent textures add depth and dimension without overpowering the content. Subtle textures can be added to create visual interest while still maintaining a clean and simple look.

How They Impact The User Experience

Subtle backgrounds can greatly impact the user experience by enhancing the overall aesthetic of a website and creating an engaging environment for users to explore. Using subtle patterns and textures can also help guide users through a website by creating visual cues that lead them from one section to another.

Subtle backgrounds can also affect the loading time of a website. Using high-resolution images or videos as backgrounds could increase the loading time, negatively impacting the user experience. Therefore, it's important to balance aesthetics and functionality when designing a website. Choosing subtle patterns and textures that are easy on the eyes and optimized for web use can greatly enhance the user experience without sacrificing loading speed.

Examples Of Websites Using Subtle Backgrounds

One example of a website using subtle background patterns is Airbnb's homepage, which uses a soft gray pattern to add depth to its page while still allowing its content to stand out. Another example is Apple's product pages, which use transparent textures to create an elegant look that complements their sleek product designs.

Understanding how to effectively use subtle background patterns and textures can greatly enhance your website design and improve user engagement.

Strikingly user using Subtle Backgrounds - Julianne Feir

Image taken from a Strikingly user's website


Importance Of Subtle Backgrounds

Subtle backgrounds can create a cohesive and professional look for a website. They also help to draw attention to important content on the page by providing contrast and depth to the design. Additionally, subtle backgrounds can help to establish brand recognition by incorporating brand colors or logos into the design.

Benefits Of Using Them In Design

Using subtle patterns and textures in the background can add visual interest to a website without being too distracting or overwhelming for visitors. It can lead to increased user engagement and a better overall user experience. Subtle backgrounds also allow designers to create unique designs that stand out from competitors.

Adding subtle patterns and textures in the background enhances a website's aesthetic appeal and helps improve its functionality. It can help to guide the user's eye towards essential elements and create a sense of hierarchy on the page. Additionally, it can also help to improve the loading speed of a website as compared to using high-resolution images or videos as backgrounds. Incorporating subtle backgrounds is a simple yet effective way to make your website stand out and provide an enjoyable user experience.

Designing With Subtle Backgrounds

Subtle backgrounds are a great way to add depth and texture to your website design without overwhelming the user. When choosing the right background, consider the type of content you have and the message you want to convey. Subtle patterns, pattern backgrounds, subtle textures, and transparent textures are all excellent options for creating a visually appealing website background.

Choosing The Right Background

When selecting a subtle background, it's essential to consider how it will complement other design elements such as text, images, and graphics. Choose colors that align with your brand identity and create a cohesive look throughout your website.

For example, if you have a minimalist design with black and white colors, adding a simple, subtle pattern in gray can add interest without being too distracting. If you have a more vibrant brand with many colors, opt for more subdued background textures that won't compete with your other design elements.

Combining Subtle Backgrounds With Other Design Elements

Subtle backgrounds work best with other design elements, such as typography and images. Use contrasting fonts to make text stand out against the background while maintaining readability.

When using images on top of subtle backgrounds, be mindful of contrast so they don't blend in too much or become difficult to see. You can use overlays or shapes to separate the image and the background.

Tips For Creating Subtle Backgrounds

Creating subtle backgrounds is easier than you think! Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Use free resources. Many websites offer free subtle patterns and textures that you can use.
  • Experiment with opacity. Adjusting opacity can help create different effects on your website.
  • Keep it simple. Simple designs tend to work best when it comes to subtle backgrounds.
  • Test on different devices. Make sure your background looks good on various screen sizes.

Examples Of Effective Design Using Strikingly

Strikingly is a great tool for creating websites with subtle backgrounds. Here are some effective design ideas:

  • A photography portfolio with a subtle pattern background that complements the images without being too distracting.
  • A minimalist e-commerce site with a white background and subtle texture that adds depth to the design.
  • A personal blog with a transparent texture background that creates a subtle visual interest.
Strikingly user using Subtle Backgrounds - L'atelier

Image taken from a Strikingly user's website


Advantages Of Using Subtle Backgrounds

Subtle backgrounds can bring numerous benefits to a website, including enhancing its aesthetics, improving user engagement, increasing brand recognition, and boosting website performance.

Enhancing Website Aesthetics

One of the primary advantages of using subtle backgrounds is that they can enhance a website's overall look and feel. Subtle patterns, such as pattern backgrounds or subtle textures like transparent textures, can add depth and interest to a design without overwhelming it.

Incorporating background patterns into a design can help web designers create a cohesive visual theme that ties together various site elements. It helps create an aesthetically pleasing experience for users while making navigating the site easier.

In addition to improving the user experience, incorporating background patterns can positively impact SEO. Using patterns strategically, web designers can create a visual hierarchy that draws attention to essential elements on the page. It can help improve click-through rates, reduce bounce rates, and ultimately lead to higher search engine rankings. Additionally, patterns can be used to reinforce branding and create a unique identity for the website, which can also improve its visibility in search results.

Improving User Engagement

Another advantage of using subtle backgrounds is that they can improve user engagement on a website. When done correctly, subtle backgrounds can draw users' attention to important elements on the page and encourage them to interact with those elements.

For example, designers can make those elements stand out more prominently on the page by using contrasting colors or textures in the background behind a call-to-action button or form field. This makes it more likely that users will notice them and take action accordingly.

Increasing Brand Recognition

Subtle backgrounds can also be used effectively to increase brand recognition on a website. Designers can reinforce their clients' branding throughout their sites by incorporating brand colors or logos into background patterns or textures.

In addition to using subtle backgrounds, designers can incorporate brand messaging into their website's content. Designers can help increase brand recognition and customer loyalty by creating engaging and informative copy that aligns with their client's brand values and mission. Effective content writing can help businesses establish themselves as industry leaders and drive sales, from catchy headlines to compelling product descriptions.

It not only helps users remember the brand more easily but also creates a cohesive visual identity across all pages of the site. As users navigate through different sections of the site, they are continually reminded of who they are interacting with and what that company stands for.

Boosting Website Performance

Finally, subtle backgrounds can help improve website performance by reducing load times and improving accessibility. Users can load subtle backgrounds more quickly because they are typically smaller in file size than large image or video backgrounds.

It means that pages will load faster, and users will be able to interact with the site more quickly, leading to a better overall user experience. Additionally, because subtle backgrounds are often simpler in design than other types, they can be easier for users with visual impairments to navigate and understand.

Strikingly user using Subtle Backgrounds - Mindset Course

Image taken from a Strikingly user's website


Implementing Subtle Backgrounds On Strikingly

If you're using Strikingly, adding subtle backgrounds to your website is an easy and effective way to enhance your website's aesthetics and improve user engagement. Here's how you can do it:

How To Add Subtle Backgrounds On Strikingly?

  • Log in to your Strikingly account and select the website you want to edit.
  • Click on the Edit button at the top of the page.
  • Select the section where you want to add a subtle background.
  • Click on Background in the left-hand menu.
  • Choose an Image or Color for your background type.
  • If you choose an image, upload your desired image or choose one from the Strikingly library of free images.
  • Adjust the opacity of your image if necessary by moving the opacity slider.
  • Save your changes.

Benefits Of Using Strikingly For Creating Subtle Backgrounds

Using Strikingly to create subtle backgrounds has several benefits:

  • It's easy. Adding subtle backgrounds is simple and straightforward with Strikingly's user-friendly interface.
  • It's customizable. You can create exactly the look you want with options for different types of backgrounds and opacity adjustments.
  • It's affordable. You don't need design skills or expensive software to create professional-looking websites with subtle backgrounds on Strikingly.
  • It's effective. Subtle backgrounds can help improve user engagement and boost website performance, making your website more successful overall.
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Image taken from a Strikingly user's website


Potential Disadvantages Of Using Subtle Backgrounds

While subtle backgrounds can enhance a website's aesthetics and user experience, they also have potential drawbacks that should be considered before implementation.

Limiting The Accessibility Of The Website

Using patterned or textured backgrounds may make navigating a website difficult for visually impaired users. The contrast between text and background may not be strong enough, making reading the content challenging for some users. It is important to ensure that subtle backgrounds do not compromise the accessibility of the website.

Causing Distraction To The User

In some cases, subtle patterns or textures may take away from the focus of the website's content and distract users from important information. It is essential to balance enhancing aesthetics and ensuring that users can easily find what they are looking for.

Not Suitable For Certain Types Of Content

Subtle backgrounds may not be appropriate for all types of content, such as websites that require a more professional or serious tone. Using a plain background or a muted color scheme may be more appropriate in these cases.

Overuse Leads To A Cluttered Design

Using too many subtle patterns or textures can create a cluttered design that overwhelms users and detracts from the overall aesthetic appeal of the website. It is important to use subtle backgrounds sparingly and in moderation.

While there are potential drawbacks to using subtle backgrounds on a website, these can be mitigated by carefully considering their implementation and ensuring they do not compromise accessibility or distract from important information.


Subtle backgrounds are a great addition to any website design. They can enhance the aesthetics of a website, improve user engagement, increase brand recognition, and boost website performance. Best subtle backgrounds can be an effective tool for creating a visually appealing website. Following the tips and examples in this article, you can successfully implement subtle backgrounds into your web design. Alternatively, you may select a website template with a subtle background on Strikingly in just a few simple steps. All you have to do is sign up!