Hail to the Gradient

Gradients, or swatches that consist of specific colors that change gradually, are omnipresent in the world of art. Personally, I love a nice gradient–they’re inexplicably pleasing to the eye, with fluid changes of hue that similarly appears to occur in the seamless blending of a sunset.

In visual arts, a gradient refers to a directional change in color/dimension. For example, there are axial (one side to another) and radial gradients (circular). They’re everywhere: in app userfaces, in advertisements, in posters. Gradients are commonly associated with digital art, where they are easier to produce and more conducive to modern design trends. However, they have been seen in fine arts around the 20th century in painting and photography.

Walker Art Center explains that gradients are “edgeless and ever-shifting,” transitioning across an undefinable spectrum.  Light is a spectrum, gender is a spectrum, identity is a never-ending spectrum of possibility. They remind us that nothing is ever definite.

Check out these awesome gradient-related things below:


Bryce Wilner’s Gradient Puzzles









RGB Colorspace Atlas
Robert Canali’s In Dust photo series



Student at the University of Michigan studying Art & Design and Communication & Media, hoping to create meaningful design for social impact. Every week I highlight an intriguing artist (or group of artists)!

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