As the world becomes increasingly mobile, video conferences, meetings, and calls are the new norm. Along with our new virtual environments, video conference technology has rapidly evolved. We’ve seen a clear surge in customizable video conference backdrop options (such as meme backgrounds), fun settings, and more.

In April 2020 alone, data market intelligence provider Sensor Tower reported that one of the top applications in the video conferencing space, Zoom, achieved a total downloaded record of 134 million. The most downloaded: ZOOM Cloud Meetings.

As we shift away from the traditional meeting, how do we adapt while maintaining professionalism? Well, from the confines of your laptop screen, the options are limited. But we have a solution: Customized printed backdrops.

Printed backdrops are a professional, multi-purpose solution available in a wide range of styles, home office size setups, and endless options to repurpose in the future. This solution can take your video conferences and calls from frumpy and awkward to stream-lined, disaster-free, and incredibly professional.

We found out why you should invest in this best-kept secret of the most eye-catching visual content, plus uncovered 9 surefire printed backdrop ideas for your next video conference background. Whether you want to communicate effectively with your co-workers, showcase a brand, or simply want a professional custom backdrop we’re sure one of these will resonate with you.

In Defense of Backdrops for Leveling Up Your Video Conference Background

Individual brands and businesses invest a lot of time strategizing their business goals. Often, when it comes to visual strategy, they focus on things like the color scheme, logo, office aesthetics, and website design. They overlook that online presence and visual presentation are both parts of visual strategy.

More importantly, we must consider that there are some new technologies that are useful and some that are not. Certain technology might actually make us appear unprofessional, especially if it isn’t used in the proper context. While a virtual background of a meme or pop-culture reference is hilarious, it’s better suited for a call with family and friends.

When you go to work, you think about what you wear to the office. From your head to your toes, the full picture matters. When it comes to your video conference, it operates more or less the same way.

For the full picture, you have to consider everything that is displayed on the monitor screen. That means what is behind you matters. The background of your call will convey a message about who you are and what you represent. It’s a great opportunity to capitalize on that impression. That’s why backdrops are a great solution. Plus, you don’t have to fold the laundry or tidy up, you can simply set up the backdrop and get straight to business.

The Backdrop: A Brand Marketing Tool for Multiple Applications

video conference backdrop set up

While backdrops typically shine at tradeshows and other marketing events, their ease of use and versatility means they make excellent backdrops for anyone who operates online. Photographers and YouTubers alike have taken advantage of their incredible versatility and ease of use. Portable, easy to set up and breakdown, and able to be printed with almost any image, branded backdrops can give your online presence a more fine-tuned, professional air than your typical virtual zoom background.

Last, but quite the opposite of least, perhaps the best part about investing in a backdrop is it is something you can use for years to come. The durability of the product and the opportunity to use it for a range of events gives you a marketing tool you’ll be forever thankful for. With easy to set up and takedown options like collapsible and retractable, it’s both portable and useful. Imagine in the future: you will be able to quickly set up the backdrop at events, pop up shows, conferences, and other marketing or promotional occasions.

Knowing how to set up your backdrop for optimal professionalism will make a huge difference. Keep in mind spacing, light, and sound. Of course, don’t forget to bring yourself dressed properly and be ready to give your full attention to the call.

How Can a Backdrop Make a Difference in a Video Conference?

Consider these short, fast reasons for using a backdrop in your next call whether it’s with a potential client, business partner, colleagues, or employees:

  • Stand out
  • Create interest
  • Convey personality and character
  • Establish and communicate your brand authority

There’s no question that the future norm will include video consultations and interactions using remote video chat, conferences, and calls. That’s why incorporating a branded backdrop that reinforces your business goals will only help move you towards them.

So what kind of backdrop should you get?

Playing with Creativity and Design Ideas

1. Minimalist, Abstract Visuals

minimalist backdrop

To ensure that your unique character shines through in your video presentation, having a subtle and smart background to support you goes a long way. Think in either contrasting black and white, monochrome, or a basic two-color system.

Perhaps you could start with a white, blank slate that subtly highlights your logo in gray shades. Or simply include a horizontal line of text across the backdrop with your company motto or slogan in an unusual font.

2. Meaningful Photo-Visual

photo backdrop

If your brand stands for something that communicates best through imagery or you want to make a specific visual statement, you can use a professional photograph associated with your brand in your backdrop. Who hasn’t heard the expression “a picture is worth a thousand words?”

The key is that the image directly connects with a message you want to share. It will add a richness and personalization that can profoundly connect with others. For example, consider a company offering personalized care services (whether it be medical, home care, child care, etc.). This type of service provider could consider employing a photo-rich printed background communicating their ability to provide for others and their care in the work they do. Using a semi-translucent photo of a caretaker wheeling out a disabled child or a home-care provider enjoying having coffee with their patient would be powerful.

For something with a more subtle message, you could use an organic, photo-rich background calling to mind your brand (like a view of the tops of trees for an environmental brand)—all the while keeping a monochrome color scheme.

3. Printed Texture

faux brick backdrop

For an organic, textured background feature that will invite a natural richness to your video, consider this option. It’s a transformative printed background that’s perfect for live streaming or even merely to add some character to your living room without having to build a brick wall.

Whether you want a stone wall, marble wall, textured tapestry, or rustic barn backdrop look (really the options are limitless), the printed texture is a uniform yet interesting background to add character to your video conference. Often used in interior design for low-cost, high-impact design upgrades, it’s also a great way to quickly transform your video conference calls.

4. Illuminating Your Brand with Imagery

illustrated images backdrop

Depending on your industry, certain types of imagery may dominate your work. For example, try to think of all the images or more simple objects you associate with vegetable farming. What about sports? Or perhaps furniture sales? You can use illustrations of those objects or things to emphasize what your company does and even how it does it. The overall design should wordlessly communicate what your company or brand does.

For example, a natural beauty brand executive could create a backdrop decorated with illustrations of the natural ingredients they use in their products alongside bottles and brushes (or whatever types of products they create).

Regardless, we do advise still making sure you include a logo and/or slogan. Surrounding the logo and slogan text with related imagery will highlight the type of work the company does.

5. Communicate a Message Through Illustrations

message illustrated backdrop

Often brands are on a mission to tell their own story or communicate a message. Using illustrations in your backdrop can easily circulate that message. Whether you are interacting with fellow employees or participating in a virtual networking event, this type of wordless communication is powerful.

One of the brands that we find does this well is the meditation app Headspace. Their fun and eye-catching illustrations make you stop and think about what’s happening in the visual. Engaging the onlooker is key in communicating that message. Another example we saw was a YouTuber whose backdrop showed silhouettes of the evolution of a product over time printed on solid color background.

Step and Repeat Inspiration for Printed Backdrop Ideas

You see them all the time whenever you’re gawking at celebrity photos on the red carpet. They’re at events large and small from your local charity fundraiser to the Oscars, but do you know what they are called?

Well, those logo-laden walls are called step and repeat banners. The most popular origin story suggests that the name is from the red carpet ritual where celebrities step in front of a backdrop to have their photo taken. Then that process simply repeats as each celebrity takes his or her turn. So, the world of language has deemed these logo patterns step and repeat in honor of that coveted ritual.

At their most basic, step and repeat banners are large banners or wall murals displaying a single image (typically including one or more logos) printed multiple times in a repeated pattern. They are prominently displayed at luxe events and sponsored pop-ups alike, and often are a perfect photo-op to spread brand awareness. However, brands have found their use to be ten-fold and you can see them standing in the background of a trade show booth, of a school photo awarding students, or of interviews with athletes after a competition.

In video format, we’ve also seen step and repeat often used for high-quality video recorded podcasts, youtube, Skype meetings, or e-conferences.

6. Eye-Catching Step and Repeat Patterns

pattern step and repeat

Taking the stylistic repetitive and familiar pattern of the step and repeat, you can use your imagination to develop and enhance the standard style with a complementary background. This simple but powerful upgrade will add visual interest to an otherwise “vanilla” banner.

For example, you could use a black and white checkered-diamond background and place your company logo or associated graphic in the middle of an individual diamond. Just remember to emphasize elegance and clarity. You don’t want to have bizarrely sized logos that don’t jive with your background. Ideally, the logos are large enough to be visible from a medium distance but small enough to fit in behind the people at close range (like in your video call).

In turn, your video backdrop would have staying power. Reflecting your own brand aesthetic and colors could give your next zoom call or meeting an extra layer of style and sophistication.

7. Bright and Pop-Art Step and Repeat Background

pop art backdrop

Step and repeat is typically a pretty basic style, with a repetitive pattern. If you want to add some pizazz and it fits with your style, think about adding in some more chunky fonts and culturally relevant elements. You could use your logo + an emoji, for example.

When it comes to media, consumers are already paying more attention to the content displayed than anything else, so including an emphasis on a particular and culturally relevant visual will have staying power. Plus, bright colors and bubbly shapes will completely transform the limitations of this simple design structure.

Plus, should any clips or video screenshots get shared elsewhere, viewers will always be able to figure out who you are with the help of your logo in the backdrop. And, as long as they are relevant, often emojis can be a powerful, shareable marketing tool. If you have a virtual networking event or digital workshop coming up, this is a great time to employ this strategy.

8. Red Carpet Quality Sponsorship Step and Repeat

step and repeat

Are you sponsoring something? Taking a cue from those who work step and repeat backgrounds best and keep it classic by offering a simple backdrop to causes, projects, or initiatives you support.

The idea is that if you are sponsoring an event, project, or team, you can provide them with a backdrop that they can use for their video conferences and calls with your logo and theirs featuring on the backdrop. Since they are already going to be seen when they host or attend conference calls or online events, sharing your logo can emphasize that you support the project and what your brand stands for. It will leave a visual impression about who you are and who you are affiliated with.

Added bonus if you are co-sponsoring with another company, you can offer to use the same backdrop and split the costs!

For the Do-it-yourselfer

9. DIY Printed backdrop

diy backdrop

You’ll also need material and ink (and maybe some artistic skills).

While not for the weary hearted, this creative leeway lets you design and create your own backdrop. Plan for the full backdrop to be at least 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide, and you can use the material of your choosing.

Even more creatively, you can hang the backdrop on pipes or some other material that fits your space.

Other key considerations include the printing quality. If you get creative with materials, make sure that the logos are still easy to recognize from far away. If possible, opt for matte materials instead of glossy ones to avoid bothersome glare in any photographs.

In and Out of the Office Video Conference Backdrop Ideas

Bonus: Happy Birthday, Anniversary, Monday, or Whatever You Wish Banner Backdrop

This option could technically be an in or out of the office backdrop idea. If your company is notorious for holding monthly birthday celebrations or for always honoring newlyweds or having epic baby showers, you should really find a new way to keep the party alive.

Get a handful of custom-designed backdrops to bring some life to the virtual event. You can send out party packages to attendees and make sure they all call in with the proper setup.

Which Printed Video Conference Backdrop Idea Is Best for You?

Keep in mind who your audience is and what you want your brand to represent. Remember, backdrops aren’t just great for your video calls, they can also be used in a multitude of other ways. So, if you want to upgrade your video call and use your backdrop for a future pop-up event, for example, be sure to design it accordingly.

Visual communication is powerful in this day and age. So, implementing the use of a high-quality backdrop will certainly be a way to level up your next call. Plus, it will also wordlessly instill your brand’s message, harness the power of our visual cortex, and speak in the universal language of images.

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