Grunge is good
Grunge design has been on the rise: elements like “shiny” and “glossy” are now officially outdated. Grunge textures may be hard to define, but this doesn’t mean that grunge is only black and white and gray. Within natures’s harsh, beaten, scratched, ugly, or dirty surfaces, there is a surprising amount of bright color and bold optimism.
Grunge is the picked-at, peeled-apart, designer feel of real-world textures. Think abandoned buildings falling apart in the woods, crumbling industrial walls, broken brick, and stained and weathered hand-poured concrete. Think heavy, light, dirty, and urban. But grunge doesn’t mean that designs have a dirty look. Instead, the grunge look doesn’t feel dirty at all. The design comes out rather clean, polished, subtle, and elemental. There’s an elegance to it. Grunge looks smart. Grunge looks unique.
There is a sincerity in grunge. There is power in an organic element being nothing other than itself, so use this ultimate grunge texture collection for designs that call for a certain amount of both grit and grime, but still hold on to a real-world feel. These downloads can be used for navigation menus, photos, or overall layouts. The possibilities are endless.
These perfectly distressed and bespeckled textures will make the perfect backdrop to your down & dirty designs. Ranging from the true realism of scraped up metal to abstract clouds and specks, these textures will give you the perfect leaping off place from which to design all things grunge.
This is a listing of 15 fab textures, with a mixture of freebies and paid, super high-quality work.
For the perfect "from fancy to frayed" look, these 10 high resolution white metal textures were created by capturing various textures from old white rusted metal signs with frying amounts of grunge, rust and speckles. Whether they're from an old classic refrigerator door, a metal desk, or a junkyard paintjob, these textures all seem to say directly "I once had a purpose (and maintenance), but now I'm gross and disgusting." In other words, the perfect grunge statement. Each texture is big and easily used at larger scale, at 3872 × 2592 pixels.
Grunge doesn’t have to be black and white. Take for example the masking tape background or the quick splash of color. Grunge is everyday. Grunge is easy. Grunge is what you have where you are. These tailored designs are for projects that may be looking for a unique voice go along with it. They also fit excellently with the neon trend that's been growing recently, as the '80s experience their "day in the nostalgia sun" due.
These textures feature walls of buildings at various points of decay — photographed and edited to such detail that the walls can almost talk. The peeling paint and dings will add subtle layers of story and history to your design. Simple enough as a background, these varied levels of erosion and distress make a statement without saying too much. True-to-life colors make these even more understated, and the resources of course come in high-res dimensions.
Rust is when iron is exposed to oxygen and moisture. Element to element. This means that rust is a visible sign of capital-T time leaving its mark. Explore these backgrounds of grunge rust on metal. Colors, textures, and elemental designs work on atomic level so you don’t have to. Gradient, grit, and stamped metal offer an industrial feel with a loose, softer let-me-be silence.
For that subtle, seamless background of grit, here are 8 hand crafted, high resolution concrete textures. It's very clear that extra care and attention went into making each texture highly detailed, yet subtle enough not to distract from the main content. The images are 1024 x 1024 pixels and even at multiple tiles layered in a background, you'd be hard pressed to see any repetition in texture.
From the night sky to bird poop, this set of free vector grunge textures uses what nature has to offer. These are great options to add erosion to your current design or use them as an effortless, yet thoughtful graphic textures and patterns for your own artwork.
Design using slate harkens back to basic beginnings. Volcanoes. Lava. Hot rock that cools to stone. With its own beginning stemming from metamorphic rock, slate contains subtle undertones of history, a richer depth of story. In addition to the natural variegated patterns, colors, and layers, the dark ostrich gray of slate extends in a color palette that goes further than your originally thought.
Use these bolder grunge colors for brighter textures and patterns. This color palette stems from silvery black, sea blue, sand taupe, olive green, desert red, to the pale-and-pocked-gray surface of the moon. Who knew grunge could incorporate the hot pinks and the turquoises of the Caribbean? The 10 pack of textures is free for download. Each image comes in 3000 x 2250 px dimensions, so quite big enough to use for most background needs.
Grunge concrete means someone else did the work. Someone else mixed it, poured it, let it wait and dry. There’s a certain satisfaction in the work finally being dry enough to finish, but there’s also an endurance to concrete. From city sidewalks to streets and drywall, concrete gives the feeling of a solid ground to walk on or walls that will hold up in a storm. The artistic expression comes into play in the way that it breaks apart.
Grunge encompasses the organic, so these everyday textures and styles from night skies to brick walls and broken mirrors let your grunge designs live a little. These options include cracked, broken, burned, charred, scratched, splattered, painted, blurred, smoky scenes from the real world. They're free options, so some are a little hit or miss, but the list is long enough to really give you the breadth of natural textures. If you're looking for something specific in that category, you'll probably find it here!
Popcorn ceilings, fanned out finishes, and even the abstract options, these painter’s finished grunge textures make it so you want to reach out and touch it, run you hand over the textures or feel for the smoothness of the work. Three-dimensional work gives an impression of depth, and designs that appeal to a variety of senses are intriguing. People won’t want to look away. Abstract enough to keep the background quiet, these options speak of the perfection of imperfection.
What’s better grunge than the object itself as the subject? Sometimes you need to play directly to your strengths, and with grunge, the strength is metal nuts and bolts. These textures are plates, techno lights, floor metal, distressed walls, flower wallpapers for juxtaposition, old parchment, warning stripes, diamond plates, and a 100-year-old tugboat. Rusty. Dirty. Perfect.
Explore these grunge textures found within the Italian borders and with Moroccan influences. This stock pack is especially colorful, with options for your design projects that are looking for a more romantic vibrance that isn’t normally found within the confines of traditional grunge. The combination of foreign flair with neon lights and grunge make for a particularly lovely image.
From concrete walls to distressed wood, these natural options of disassemblement and distress showcase a brilliance of color, too. Some wood and some stone — all so grimy and distressed that you may not be able to tell which is which.
This pack features 10 subtle grunge textures, they are perfectly seamless and can be used to fill large areas without obvious signs of repeating. These soft grunge textures are ideal for use as backgrounds or for overlaying on photos for a vintage effect.
Now that you've got the perfectly distressed back street backdrop, here are all the tools you'll need to make the design on top of it fully grunge. This is a collection of effects you can apply in Photoshop or Illustrator. Some great brushes and textures that you can paint onto any psd, overlays you can apply to your design layers, and distressing tools that you can use to add a hint of grunge to pretty much any style.
Here are 7 great ways to grunge it up with the tools of the trade.
Go from drab to intentionally drab with this pack of elegant and tasteful ways to purposefully mess up your image. Use these effects on lettering, photos or logo designs — each one was carefully crafted by hand using ink and paper, so your authentic vintage look is guaranteed. These are Photoshop brushes and bitmap files for Adobe Illustrator; apply and then overlay a transparent PNG or add your artwork to the PSD file to add multiple noise layers.
This pack features 10 high resolution grungy paint stained concrete textures, and 10 subtle grunge brushes made specifically to complement the textures.
Use these alone or by in conjunction with other grunge textures. Spackled, swirled, streaked, scratched, bricked, broken, and abstract options are available here.
This rusted metal sign mockup will give your logos a retro faded effect with optional 3D effects and peeling paint. There are 5 different high resolution backgrounds to choose from and a variety of easy to use adjustments for background color and other enhancements.
Grunge doesn’t have to stand alone. By adding in options for overlays, tweaks, and formats, grunge textures morph into something more than itself. Reality can be at play, but realism doesn’t have to be the only key factor. See what happens when you make the most unsuspecting match-ups. People are looking for designs they’ve never seen before. Why don’t you introduce them to it?
This pack includes 10 extremely heavy scratch marks, perfect adding grunge effects to your digital artwork. They are supplied as high quality, detailed brushes for Photoshop and individual transparent .png files.
Add flecks and flakes to your art. This brush set for Adobe Illustrator is the most basic way to create your own grunge! Install the set from the Brushes Panel and you're done — just draw where you want the specks to appear.
You've got all the tools — now how to make the perfect grunge design? Or, you've seen all the tools, but you don't want to buy or download — you're more the hands-on type. Here are some great tutorials for making grunge textures come to life under your own steam.
Halftone textures are a great way to get grungey and vintage. Halftones use a series of solid colored dots or lines to create a tone or gradient. The solidity of colors in halftones make them great for screen printing, or to simulate the look of screen printing in your designs. They're super easy to create in Photoshop, and this tutorial will show you how!
Adding grunge specs and scratches in Adobe Illustrator is essential in creating a hand made or roughened look to your vector artwork. Using scatter brushes in your artflow makes this a snap. Learn how.
Now, it's time to get down and Grungey!