Gradients

Gradients: Bad and Boring Are Not the Only Choices!

The mosaic tile industry has gradually gotten to the point where all of the serious players offer some sort of gradients. Usually a straight vertical gradient with a few, or as many as 10 or 12 colors included. Some pretty large retailers give you a gradient which is really just a series of one square foot blends.  The overall effect is that of a gradient, sort of, but your eyes and brain are very well trained to pick out abrupt changes in visual color ratios, so you can easily see the stepped changes. It’s amazing the number of these that are purchased and installed.
Eight consecutive blends, kind of stepped
Eight consecutive blends, kind of stepped
The better offerings let you pick the percentage of each tile you include, but no control of exactly where each color starts and ends, or how they fade in or out. You probably get a moderate overlap with colors ranging over most of the gradient. Not necessarily a bad thing if that is what you are happy with, but not a lot of choice or control.
Moderate overlap, OK but not a lot of choice
Moderate overlap, OK but not a lot of choice
An ideal tool for designing vertical gradients would allow you to control for each color where it starts and ends, and what the starting, peak and ending percentages are. Here’s an example where a slight overlap where a ‘stagey’ color change is desired.
‘Stagey’ color changes, slightly overlapped
‘Stagey’ color changes, slightly overlapped
This would allow you to control the amount of overlap of colors, to have more than one zone for a color, to have a uniform “sprinkling” of a color (maybe a metallic tile) over the whole gradient, or almost anything else you could think of. Here’s an example with white sprinkled lightly over a slight overlap gradient.

Slight overlap with white ‘sprinkles’
Slight overlap with white ‘sprinkles’
And that’s not even touching the subject of shapes, patterns, and designs.