The Gradients In and By Nature
The word 'gradient' means a gradual increase or decrease in measurement. This gradual progression and decline is present everywhere in nature. Stages and steps. Phases and periods. They are at the center of the harmony that runs this universe.
And nowhere is it more pronounced than in colors. Everywhere you look, nature is playing with color gradients. Color gradients in nature are always smooth, harmonious, and well, natural. For example purple, pink, and magenta. Or blue, pink, and green. Even the most hated color combination – red and blue – can show you its beauty when handled in gradient.
Let's see the different ways nature can guide us in our quest to find unique color blends for our gradient logo designs.
The sky is perhaps the best source of inspiration for gradients because its colors are never the same two days in a row. Even when it is its most usual self of white and gray, the spread and merge of both the colors can inspire you to blend your own gradients in a different way that day.
And when the sky is being dramatic – green, blue-green, pink, white, purple, mustard, yellow, orange, brown – it's insane.
Here are a few favorites from the sky, along with their color palettes for your inspiration plus application.
Photos by Aldain Austria and Martin Sattler | Unsplash
Mountains, sand, soil, rocks, and stone. The ruggedness of earth provides another great vista of color gradients inspiration. Additionally, it also guides you on how to add textures into colors. The sand when wet and dry has distinct shades, for example. Similarly, the dried soil, the desert sand, and the dusty road, all have similar hues on the whole but are different from each other.
Studying elements like that, in different settings and interacting with other elements, can expand your design horizons and ultimately gives you more to work with.
Here are a few gradients provided by the earth.
Photos by Dan Gold and Anchor Lee | Unsplash
The forest has some highly characteristic features due to which it needs a mention here. Its colors offer a deeper variance in gradients. They are also cooler than the colors of Earth – meaning it addresses a whole other spectrum of the color wheel.
Plus forests handle green much more differently than other elements of the earth such as hills and fields do. The green of the forest is more wet, cold, and sharp. It is also wilder, more mysterious, and more present. The addition of mulch, streams, waterfalls, and dry leaves adds a whole other area of gradients to explore with.
Some of my favorite color gradients from forests:
Photos by Heather Shevlin and Derek Story | Unsplash
The blue of the ocean is a color loved by everyone. But working with blue as much as we do as logo designers, you can hit a saturation point. This is when oceans prove to be a great source of inspiration. With oceans, you get blue in as many shades as you can handle. Not only that, you get various blends of it too when it mixes with green, white, gray, and black – all the other colors of the ocean. Not to mention the bleed of the sun into it when it sets every day.
Add to it, the shades of deeper depths of the ocean – the coral reefs, or the way waves change colors in proportion to other elements such as the sun or how you look at it from different perspectives, the eagle-eye position, for example, can be inspiring. The ocean truly holds many secrets.
Photos by Jeremy Bishop and Janis Karkossa | Unsplash
With gradients, we always have a limited number of colors to work with. Therefore, by studying the way fire burns, we get to see how differently it integrates similar colors again and again - red, blue, orange, white - repeatedly. It also helps you learn the principles of color blending to create in-depth effects. For example, the effect of heat in fire images doesn't always come from red or orange, mostly it’s white dominating the red that gives off such intense heat.
To see how absolutely scorching some of its gradients are, have a look below.
Photos by Cristofer Jeschke and Benjamin DeYoung | Unsplash
In short, there isn't a color gradient you won't find in nature. Plus choosing gradients from nature has its practical purposes too. Natural color combinations look pleasant to us because we are familiar with them. Therefore, even when they are striking and loud, they are never hurting or unpleasant to look at. Whereas color combinations that we don’t usually find in nature may look unpleasant. Look for natural color merges to make sure your customers have positive feelings associated with them that extend to your brand logo.