The Art of Layering Color and Images

by Jill Meyer | February 14, 2019

layering color and images - Sessions College

Credit: Oliver Latta

The art of layering color, texture, and images is making a presence in graphic design and marketing this year. Both business to business (B2B) and business to customer (B2C) e-commerce sites are creating visually layered displays for their products.

It’s reminiscent of the famous window displays of 5th Avenue, in which displays are created with layers of clothes, baubles, and mannequins.

Layers - Sessions College for Professional Design

Credit: Abraham Lule

We’re also noticing branding reminiscent of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, when lithograph work was at its peak. We see detail by artists creating depth with vignettes and layers of bands and decor. The old styles of cigarette and elixir labels are back. The history of the lithography was a breakthrough in printing technology invented in 1798 by Alois Senefelder. Its popularity soared in the United States in the early twentieth century. One hundred years later, we can’t get enough of it.

Limestone lithograph stones for Social Smoke date back to the early 1800’s. Compare them to these current lithograph style labels.

Litho-stone-and-label - Layering - Sessions College


lithocurrent - layers - Notes on Design

Credit: Yuni Nur Ikhwanto

litho - Sessions College for Professional Design

Credit: Barrett Biggers

Let’s look again at some contemporary photography and how establishing perspective, layers and depth can reach a viewer’s attention better than 2D images. Add some fun and whimsy when layering color and shapes. Imagination and breaking the rules will produce intrigue and digital wizardry.

Layers and color - photography- Sessions College

Credit: Hazel Ow

Photography color layering - Sessions College for Professional Design

Credit: Catherine Findley

Color layering photography - Sessions Colege

Credit: Manu Berlanga 


Jill Meyer is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. A Scottsdale, Arizona resident, Jill is an artist, decorative painter, interior designer, and writer.


Are you interested in stretching your photography skills? Sessions College offers a wide range of online photography courses as well as digital photography degree and certificate programs. Contact Admissions for more information.

If you are interested in developing your graphic design skills, Sessions College offers a range of graphic design courses for students at all levels. Contact Admissions for more information.

If you are interested in learning more about using color, Sessions College offers a Color Theory course and many other graphic design courses for students at all levels. Contact Admissions for more information.

This blog is powered by Sessions College, the leading online school of visual arts.

NoD Newsletter

Enhance your inbox with our weekly newsletter.