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Choosing the right abstract image

Abstract images capture subjects in new, imaginative ways. From illustrations to photographs, almost all abstract images feature the unexpected use of shapes and sweeping use of colors. It’s also common to see non-traditional compositions that bring unique movement and rhythm to each image. From textures and patterns for backgrounds to pre-made layouts for banners, flyers, and posters, the most popular abstract stock images are vectorized or digitally illustrated. Designers gravitate to these images because of their mesmerizing visuals and flexible meaning. With the focus on shapes, colors, and movement over specific subject matter, abstract images can be easily applied to any project. When it comes to abstract stock photography, photographers aim to present a subject in a different light. Often, the photo obscures the full shape of the subject. For example, in an image of a tree you might see only the veins of a leaf in extreme close-up without seeing the rest of the leaf or the tree it’s attached to. You might also see camera angles flipped and colors inverted. All of these approaches create specific and personal responses in each viewer. Our abstract image library comes from thousands of contributors who have spent years refining their own unique approach to abstract imagery. Explore their work here.

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Using abstract images as website backgrounds

  • Stick to a style: Try not to pick backgrounds that are truly random and completely disassociated from the content on your website. Instead, rely on attention-grabbing abstract images that you can align with the web experience you want your viewer to have. If you have a playful brand identity, try a high-profile background with saturated colors and big, bold shapes. If your brand is more professional and business-like, an understated black and white abstract photo might fit the bill.
  • Use color to guide you: Color is a big part of abstract imagery, and it’s also a big part of web design. When you select an abstract image to use as your website background, consider the color or colors that you want shaping the user experience. Earth-toned or pastel color palettes, paired with simple organic shapes are an excellent fall-back for a clean, polished website. If you want a more energized, active experience, there are tons of abstract images featuring neon colors and smart geometric shapes.
  • Save room for text: If you’re selecting abstract images to use as banner backgrounds, it’s important to find images that leave room for text. Since abstract images usually come packed with visual elements and strong color palettes, you want to make sure the image won’t distract from whatever message you want to send. Pick abstract backgrounds so that the most interesting elements are in the areas to which you'd like to direct attention, like a call to action, or the navigation bar.
Using abstract images as website backgrounds