There are thousands of free high quality textures available online that can allow you to achieve realistic feeling and depth in a design. You can incorporate textures into your design composition in all sorts of graphic designs, such as website design, digital scrapbooking, textures for 3D artwork, print marketing, and altered art. A realistic texture adds a unique base to build upon in your graphic design project.
You can layer textures on top of one another or use them individually. Textures are great for any kind of background image for use on social networks for example. Thanks to AmericanSignLetters for suggesting some additional resources to help keep this updated.
This page provides links to hi-res texture freebies because I’m always looking for great design resources. You save the images and use them in your work freely.
Vintage Paper Textures
20 colors available
One of my favorite design blogs Design Instruct has a great set of 20 colors vintage paper textures to download. All of these are in hi-res jpg files of 3600×3600 pixels perfect size for digital scrapbooking papers. Click on the image to visit the website to download the free images.
Large set of 20 images!
I recently discovered a wonderful freebie site called The CoffeeShop Blog that has photoshop actions, free high resolution textures and other graphic editing tools. This wonderful set of 20 images are great for layering over photographs to produce a color tone and vignette around the edge of pictures. Browse around this site for other nice downloads. All items are free for commercial and personal usage.
Free Canvas Textures
Very big images
One of the nicest textures to overlay in my opinion is a simple canvas, it will give your work more of a realistic “artwork” look since art is typically painted on canvas. There is an amazing selection of HUGE images (some are 5500x4000px!) and they can be used as seamless tiles and include a variety of textures including burlap and fabrics. All from the amazing freebie site: Fuzzimo.
Public Domain Photos
Various abstract textures and background
There are several free public domain or open source image libraries on the web, one that has large file downloads available and some high quality images is pixabay.com. You can use the images for commercial purposes under the public domain license so you don’t have to worry about usage. Above are several of my favorite texture and background photos from the site. If you have problems saving their large size files, try copy and pasting it into a photo program and saving that way, it works for me.
Grass and Ground Textures
Click on image to visit website to download the full sized photos.
Natural high resolution photos of clouds, grass, rocks, and other things from nature are used in 3D designs to create realistic looking background and to tile on objects. You can find many grass photos at large sizes, in the public domain so they are free to use anyway you like.
Free Photoshop Textures
Available at Brusheezy
Brusheezy has a unique selection of Photoshop Textures you can download for free. There are several grunge paper packs for digital scrapbooking. The textures are distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. This website also has tons of other Photoshop freebies including brushes, patterns, shapes, actions and styles. If you are an Adobe Photoshop user, I would definitely check them out.
Free Space Images
Click on images to visit download pages
Out of this world space photots look like nothing on earth! Any photos created by NASA are in the public domain in accordance with NASA’s contract with the US government. That means you can use space imagery taken by the Hubble Telescope as backgrounds. Here is a great gallery of high res photos: Hubblesite.org – Wallpaper Gallery
Urban Dirty Textures
Over 800 Photo Images
Library of over 800 textured photos featuring dark, dirty, gritty and grunge for use in your design work or art. You can view textures in three different sizes, small, medium or hi-res. Photos are free for commercial and non-commercial use with credit to urbandirty.com
You can use the photo for free without any restrictions. I’d love to see what you do with it if you use it! Post a comment letting me know.