Well-used textures can transform a design concept into a functional and beautiful website, writes Rachel Alexander. Textures can attract attention, create a unique ambiance for a site, or trigger a strong emotional response -- as long as they are used in a restrained way that doesn't affect the site's legibility. "Texture is not just a passing trend in web design. It's an essential tool for adding depth and dimension to an otherwise flat page," Alexander writes.

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