A gradient is the outcome of blending multiple colors or channels gradually together. A rainbow is an example of a gradient.
The most common types of gradients are linear, radial, angle, reflected and diamond:
Web 2.0 gradients
"Web 2.0" gradients are usually described as either:
- Sharp gradients, ie. gradients that have a color stop between two colors without any blending (see e.g. the angle gradient at 12 o'clock under "Common types").
⇒ To make the object look glossy.
- Subtle gradients, where colors either blend very slowly or where the blended colors are close together.
⇒ To give the object texture.
Some examples of gradients that could be described as "web 2.0 gradients":
Using transparency instead of a color gives the image/object a fading effect:
(Image by @Johannes)