Drop-shadows and gradients are two of the most common design elements on the web.
You’ll find them accompanying many different styles. They’re handy effects for web designers because they’re attractive, useful and easy to create with any graphics program. But they have a dark side: they’re frequently abused.
Using amateurish drop-shadows or gradients is almost as bad as affixing a scarlet letter to your shirt to let the world know you’re a beginner or a hack. Even subtle, barely noticeable mistakes can create tensions that undermine otherwise beautiful and effective designs.
In this article, we’ll look at what drop-shadows and gradients do, we’ll talk about how to use them effectively and we’ll look at some examples of mistakes and how to fix them.