In modern web design backgrounds are big (both literally and figuratively). With the advent of HD (and now 4K) displays, designers are creating backgrounds that take up loads of screen real estate. Why? Because they make for an incredible visual impact and help to tell a story.
Let’s explore some of the unique ways in which designers are spicing up backgrounds. We’ll also include a pen for each technique so that you can see exactly how they work.
CSS Blend Mode Color Change
What makes this background effect so cool is that the fixed element on top appears to change color as the user scrolls. The use of CSS
mix-blend-mode property allows for the change in hue, which is dependent upon the contents of the background.
Reminiscent of side-scroll video games of the past, this technique features two distinct images – each scrolling in the opposite direction. It’s done with the help of CSS
transform and some JS.
Skewed backgrounds are one of the hottest trends in web design. It’s an effect that was incredibly easy to implement in print design and a pain to do on the web – until now. This pure HTML/CSS solution makes it a cinch.
Blur on Scroll
This technique could be quite useful for times when you really want visitors to focus on the background image (like the header of a news article) and then allow for the easy reading of text over top. A little bit of jQuery changes the
background-size property upon scroll to create the effect.
Fade-in Hero Image with Overlay
There are a few things going on with this example. First, a full-width hero image has a color overlay added on top to create a different hue. Then a fade animation is implemented to introduce the image in a visually smooth manner. Lastly, a parallax-style scrolling effect is added to the mix. The result is a very modern look that uses relatively little code (and no JS).
Background Zoom and Pan
Here’s an effect we’re seeing quite a bit lately. As the user hovers over a panel, the background image zooms in and pans along with any movements of the cursor. It’s an easy way to add some interactivity and maintain user interest.
Reveal on Hover
This example shows a split screen where the background is revealed based upon the position of the user’s mouse. Great for comparisons, like ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots.
Color Change on Scroll
Sometimes we forget how powerful the use of simple solid colors can be. Here, we see the impact it can make as background colors change based upon scroll position. This lightweight solution can be just as visually effective as heavy imagery.
Backgrounds at the Forefront
Backgrounds are no longer just a means to frame content – they’re now often part of the content itself. With so many interesting ways to utilize them, it’s worthwhile to experiment with various background techniques and see how they can enhance the user experience of your next project.