The Rise of Marble Design

Michelangelo created the Statue of David with it. Now I rest my coffee mug on it.

Michelangelo created the Statue of David with it. They lined the Taj Mahal with it. Now we cover our coffee tables with it.

Background: Water Marbling Painting Backgrounds by Themefire

Marble patterns have evolved far beyond where they began. Today, you’re just as likely to see combinations of purple and red as you are stoney white or Swedish green. It’s part of a brutalist trend that continues to jolt the internet.

Along with the new color palette comes different methods of manufacturing the effect for digital consumption. “I use three main parts: milk, oil and acrylic paint,” says Envato Elements author, Digital_Infusion. The artist mixes the liquids “in various ways to achieve the results.” Once done, he lays his creation out on a white rectangular surface with studio lighting. He then uses a DSLR to photograph it from above.

Liquid Marble by Digital_Infusion

For another Envato Elements author, Themefire, the process is all digital. “I create mine via Cinema 4D,” he says. “I take one of my personal pictures, and [apply] several [effects]…It’s a 3D render.”







The trend is a symptom of a bigger shift in digital design: an emphasis on color and depth.

Today, Spotify, The Outline, and MTV, among others, apply bold color schemes to their looks.

Marble patterns, or marble looking patterns, compliment this trend. “It is a mixture of the coolest colors and the human imagination,” says Themefire.

And the timing of its arrival couldn’t be better.

Years of minimalism have left the internet up to its neck in flat, black and white design. Now, as its color palette has broadened, so too has its appetite for complex, at times eccentric, design.

The endless possibility of variation is the style’s most exciting trait.

While people may use a marble pattern again and again, each one released will be unique. The different methods Digital_Infusion and Themefire employ ensure this.

Yet, as romantic as this thought is, the fact is that marble design is a trend. And trends don’t live forever.

“…it’s considered overrated by some,” says Digital_Infusion. “But, given that you can achieve infinite designs that will be different every time you mix the paint, I think that’s just awesome.”

And, the tell tale sign of a design style graduating into a trend is, of course, people misusing it.

From couches to activewear, examples of marble design gone wrong are accumulating.

“Sometimes doing something amazing is not so easy,” says Themefire. “[But] There is no limit for creative people.”

In an era of streamlined design, seeing confines broken is refreshing. Yet, as the trend’s journey into the mainstream progresses, misguided attempts will continue to populate the web. Some will be amusing. Some, I’m sure, will be disgusting. But, if nothing else, we can all take it as a sign: the shackles of restraint in digital design are coming off. And, the internet’s color palette is bright again.

Dom Hennequin

About the Author Dom Hennequin

Dom is Envato's Video & Content Marketing Specialist. He previously worked as the company's Community Content Coordinator, and as the founder and host of the Envato Famous 5.