Nature has been a source of design inspiration since the beginning of time. Its beauty touches everything from the clothes we wear to the gadgets we use.
So, it’s not a big stretch to say that nature plays the role of the muse in web design. Colors and patterns can reflect those of a stunning plant or animal species. Sometimes the likeness is subtle, while other homages can be very recognizable.
Let’s take a look at some code snippets that, in one way or another, reference nature. They’re great examples of how the natural world makes its way into the digital.
Pure CSS Jellyfish
Jellyfish are among the most amazing sea creatures. Their long tentacles and semi-transparent bodies are fascinating. Watching one float along is a mesmerizing experience. Here we have a colorful representation of jelly using only HTML and CSS. You get all the beauty but without the risk of a nasty sting.
A Walk Through the Forest
Nothing is quite as awe-inspiring as a hike in the forest. Seeing the tall trees, hearing the sounds of animals in the brush – it brings us closer to nature. This snippet recreates the visual effect in a sort-of Super Mario kind of way. Your cursor controls the direction of your journey and some settings let you customize the scene.
Mountains Upon Mountains
Images of mountains and the freedom they represent are used to sell everything from outdoor gear to ice-cold beer. This is a bit of a different take. It’s an interactive line drawing that changes as you click. The images offer an artistic style somewhat reminiscent of the old a-ha music video.
The Real Thing
Looking for a more literal take on nature? This example of parallax mountains is quite realistic. Move your cursor and the perspective shifts. The use of particle animation to generate snow makes the scene all the more compelling.
Speed and Power
Cheetahs are the very definition of speed and power. They’re often used as a reference point for something that is beautiful, yet packs a punch. This animated nighttime scene offers a silhouette of the great cat streaking through the grasslands.
As mentioned earlier, implementing nature-inspired designs can be a bit subtler. That’s on display here with a beautifully done parrot-themed background for this quote generator. The hues of tropical birds are one of nature’s most eye-catching wonders. Thus, they make for excellent backgrounds.
This highly-detailed and subtly-animated leaf background really sets a mood. It’s reminiscent of being out in a tropical breeze on a warm night. The timing of the animation provides a realistic effect. So, who else needs a vacation?
Choose Your Season
And a Sloth
This example has no deep meaning. Sloths are just beautiful, gentle creatures and it’s hard not to smile when you see one. So, sit back and enjoy this blinking CSS sloth!
Adding a bit of the natural world to our web projects is a great way to gain user attention and evoke an emotional response. Whether it’s a happy sloth or a subtle background pattern, there any number of ways that nature can fit into our work.