Are Gradients Great?

The wonder of the gradient - one colour blending into another colour. I'm sure we have all used them and we are all totally familiar with them. The reason for bringing the use of the gradient to your attention is to see if we can get your current views on this fad.

About 10 years ago gradients were nearly never used. They didn't work in print, they didn't work on the web. However since the technology in both print and web has become more advanced and now we can happily use them to our hearts content in nearly any medium.

There was a time about 5 years ago when I abandoned the use of gradients. It was frowned upon in the print world as it used to cause printers massive headaches. However with the web 2.0 boom we started to use them again. The key word was subtlety at the beginning but in recent years however, some harsher uses of the gradient have manifested themselves.

It occurred to me whilst designing a website recently that I had made a conscious decision not to use gradients. This little thought seemed to pop up from nowhere. It was only a small thought but I wandered if it had big consequences. It seemed to suggest to me that I was maybe trying to get back to basics. I frowned at the time, a little unsure why I had had this thought – was it because I was sick of relying on a nice subtle gradient to soften my designs. Was this the end of my web 2.0 looking designs? Was I bored with the gradient? Or was it simply that the gradient didn’t seem to fit with the logo and ethics of the site?

I still don’t really know.

However it prompted me to write these few words – and I just wanted to ask you, dear reader, this question:

What does a gradient give you that a block colour can’t?

Also think about these follow on questions:
Are we using them because we can and not necessarily because they give us something better?
Will we continue to use them or will we eventually rebel against this fad and go back to the basics?
Are gradients great?

This article has been posted on Fadtastic - maybe pop down there and check out the comments or add your own below...


Many of my clients think it looks more ... sophisticated, valuable etc. Therefore I use it in my design work. Even in my blog. But for my private design I use a lot of 'white space' and now and then block color.

Gradients still are a problem in print. It all depends on the size. I had to learn the hard way. There are limits to what the printers can do.

It's rather well explained here: