About Gracious Gradients

A picture of me, Jörn!

How Gracious Gradients started

The Gracious Gradients project started with a very simple realization: everytime I immerse myself in a new project — be it in web development, like this site, or in drawing — I always arrive at a point where I fall in love with color all over again.

Maybe it's just the design geek in me speaking, but there is a very special feeling when you find exactly the right color to make your image or your design pop; the final cherry on top of your beautiful cake.
It's a little pang I feel in my heart — like a puzzle part clicking into place, like finally being able to cross your eyes the right way and seeing the image.

This love is intensified when I look at gradients. In the majority of my website projects, they play a role — be it as a background color for the page, the fill for a call-to-action button or as subtle way to make a whitespace more interesting.

I know, I know: Current design trends are evolving towards Flat Design, shying away from smooth gradients in favor of flat, single colors. But on the one hand, Flat Design could potentially hurt your site's usability, and on the other hand that trend just increases the importance of using gradients deliberately and making sure they are well-designed.

How I make each gradient

Each creative endeavour must start at the beginning: with the spark of inspiration. Color is all around us, the whole world is soaked in it. When we encounter a beautiful combination of those colors, we feel happy, content, sometimes even elated.

It's this elation that I look for when I create a new gradient for this site. To create a graceful gradient, you must start with graceful inspiration, and — lucky for me — I haven't run out of those yet.

The first step is finding a good source picture. I work from photographs I find on the amazing site Unsplash. Unsplash provides free (and yes — that means totally free, no strings attached) photographs created by professional photographers all around the world.
It usually doesn't take long for me to be inspired by a certain photograph — one that features rich, vibrant, interesting or just plain beautiful colors.

The next step is opening the image in Photoshop and carefully picking just the right colors out of it. Then comes the fun part! I upload the newest member of the gradient family to my site, give it a suiting name and write a little description text explaining why I chose those colors and which emotions it elicits in me.

Now the new gradient is ready for you to download and to use it in your designs, your CSS, or your art.

A photo of a forest at dusk
The source image I used for the gradient "Chilly Morning Dew"...

"Chilly Morning Dew", a gradient I made
...and the resulting gradient!