First impressions count. Your Zoom background is part of the first interactions your colleagues or clients might have with you.

Selecting the right background image for your online meetings, like the Zoom app and Google Meet, could make all the difference in how meeting participants perceive you.

Zoom background study Durham University
Durham University Virtual First Impressions study. Image source: Plos One

From outer space sci-fi scenes and interior shots to blurred backgrounds and the actual view of the room behind you—there's a science emerging about how you portray yourself in meetings and video conferences.

Researchers at The University of Durham found that certain backgrounds, namely views of healthy plants and bookshelves, affect the perception of your trustworthiness and competence.

But this doesn't mean your Zoom background images need to be boring. If anything, you want to ensure that you and your organization stand out from the crowd and their green screens. So why not customize your own background?

Design is important in every aspect of digital communication.

This guide will walk you through creating an engaging and professional zoom background design using Linearity Curve, with straightforward steps and practical advice. 

Ready to create your own custom backgrounds for Zoom? Follow our easy steps below.

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Step 1

Create a new document in Linearity Curve

Creating your custom Zoom background begins with creating a new Linearity Curve document. There are only a few technical guidelines to doing this so that your background is compatible with Zoom's platform. Here’s how:

Open the Linearity Curve platform on your device. We're using a Mac for this tutorial, but you can also use Curve on your iPad or iPhone.

Click on the New Document button in the Gallery, either as a + icon in your document thumbnails or within the File Menu in the top navigation menu. Clicking this button will bring up a new window where you can specify the details of your new project.

New document Linearity Curve

For the best visual fidelity, set your document’s aspect ratio to 1920 x 1080px. This full HD resolution guarantees that your background will look sharp and clear, even on larger screens or when using high-quality video settings in Zoom.

Conveniently, this is all done for you in the document presets, which you will find under the Resolutions section of the new document templates named 1080p (Full HD).

Full HD template size Linearity Curve

Now, you’re ready to begin the design process with a perfectly configured canvas to bring your Zoom background to life.

Step 2

Select and import images

Choosing the right theme for your Zoom background is more than just a matter of aesthetic preference. It's about leveraging design to influence perception positively.

Based on this understanding, decide whether you want your Zoom background to convey a sense of tranquility and growth (perhaps featuring a calming color palette and plants) or if you want to showcase a scholarly, organized vibe with bookshelves.

To get this aesthetic going, you can use four different approaches:

1. Quick image addition

This method is perfect for when you want to add images swiftly into your design:

  • Open the Library: Click the Library icon at the far end of the Inspector to access the Library Tab. Here, you can choose between your own photos or the Unsplash tabs (more about this option below), depending on your image source preference.
  • Select and import: If you opt for Photos, browse your collection. For Unsplash images, you can search for themes like "healthy plants" or "bookshelves." Selecting an image will automatically place it onto your canvas in an open document or create a new document tailored to the image's size.
  • Adjust your image: Once imported, you can begin making any necessary adjustments to ensure the image fits perfectly with your Zoom background vision.

You can also open any Linearity design templates in your new Document to start creating a new Zoom background.

2. Import images via the Actions bar

  • Navigate to file: Access the Actions bar at the top, choose File, or use the shortcut ⌘ + I to open the Gallery.
  • Choose your image: In the Gallery sidebar, click on the Images tab to upload from your computer or directly import Figma files and photos.
  • Edit with ease: Linearity Curve will organize imported frames as separate Artboards, simplifying the process of editing your documents.

3. Import Unsplash images

Leverage the built-in Unsplash library for high-quality, theme-appropriate images:

Access Unsplash: From the Library Tab, switch to the Unsplash tab to tap into the Unsplash Library of professional images.

Import images in Linearity Curve

Search and select: Use keywords relevant to your chosen theme, like “greenery” or “library.” Then browse the results by scrolling down, and either click or drag and drop your chosen image onto your canvas.

Imported image for Zoom background Linearity Curve

4. Generate a background with AI

You can create a completely unique background using Linearity Curve's AI Backgrounds feature.

This feature is also great for enhancing existing photos, like product shots or profile pictures. This means you can take a photo of your real meeting background and make it more creative and interesting.

Linearity Curve AI Backgrounds
  • Select an image: begin with an image more-or-less containing the details of the background you want. This could be a stock image or a photo of your own office that you wish to enhance.
  • Choose a theme or add a prompt: navigate to the AI Backgrounds feature under the Image section in the Style Tab on the right. Select a theme from the options or add a text prompt containing keywords to generate the AI-enhanced background. You can also upload a reference image.
  • Generate background options: Click Generate to create four background options.
  • Select your new background: once you've selected your favorite generated background, click Done to apply it to your base image.
AI Background generated with Linearity

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Step 3

Incorporate brand elements

Once you've placed your image in the desired position, you can incorporate brand elements and other graphics into your Zoom background design.

Select the option to import an image or drag and drop your logo file directly onto the canvas.

Create a custom Zoom background in Linearity Curve

Another option to import an image is to use the Actions bar.

Go to File or press ⌘ + I on your keyboard, and the Gallery will open automatically. Then, select your file from the Images tab in the Gallery sidebar.

Using this technique, you can also import your Figma files and the images on your Photos App.

Linearity Curve will import all the Frames as separated Artboards, making it easier to edit your documents offline.

Pro tip: If you don't have a logo, why not explore Linearity Curve's integrated Iconator Library to find something that represents what you stand for? Iconator is a gallery inside Curve with over 80,000 royalty-free icons that can be used for free in all your projects.

Once imported, drag your logo to a corner or a less intrusive part of the screen. To make your logo more prominent, you may need to place a shape over an element on your photo, like we did using the Shape Tool.

You can also use the Background Removal tool to create a transparent background for your logo image. 

Custom Zoom background with Linearity Curve

We recommend always previewing your background with a silhouette or an outline where the user (you or someone else) would typically be positioned in a Zoom call. This helps ensure the main brand elements are visible and not obscured during actual use.

You can do this by placing an image of yourself onto the Artboard, removing the background, and adjusting the portrait size using the same steps we used above.

Test Zoom background Linearity Curve
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Step 4

Export, upload, and adjust

After fine-tuning your design, the next steps involve exporting your work from Linearity Curve and uploading it to Zoom.

For Zoom backgrounds, the JPEG format is ideal. The .jpeg image format balances quality and file size well, ensuring your background looks sharp without unnecessarily burdening your computer's resources during video calls.

Navigate to the Export option on the far right in the Action bar at the top of your Linearity Curve interface. Click on it to open the export settings. Here, select .jpeg as your format.

You’ll also have options to adjust the quality and resolution. As we've mentioned above, a 1920 x 1080px resolution works best for virtual backgrounds.

After adjusting your settings, click on the Export button. 

Export Zoom background Linearity Curve

Uploading your background to Zoom

The final step is to upload your background photo to the Zoom desktop app and adjust it to fit your virtual space.

Launch the Zoom application on your computer and navigate to the Settings menu, often found under your profile picture or in the main menu. Within Settings, find the Background & Filters section. This area allows you to manage and add new virtual backgrounds.

Click the plus sign (+) or the Add button to upload a new background. Navigate to the location where you saved your exported .jpeg file from Linearity Curve and select it to upload.

Once uploaded, Zoom will automatically apply your new background to your video feed. Take a moment to adjust your camera and your position to ensure the background fits well.

This might involve moving slightly to the left or right or adjusting your camera angle to achieve the best framing with your new background.

Zoom custom background

Zoom meetings on another level

If the science is to be believed, you now look more professional, competent, and trustworthy on Zoom. And now that you know how to make your own custom virtual background, there's so much more to explore.

Why not try different backgrounds in different meetings? A bookshelf next time you're meeting your accounts team, a more plant-focused background when meeting your CEO, and maybe a more fun version when you're at your next family Zoom meeting.

With Linearity Curve, you have all the tools to personalize your virtual meetings and do so much more.

Linearity Curve helps you take your designs to the next level with the most intuitive design platform you’ll ever use.

Think: multi-device team collaboration. Various easy gestures for a smooth design workflow. Image tracing in 2 clicks. And more AI-powered tools in the pipeline.

Ready to try new and innovative design software?

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Frequently asked questions

What resolution should I use for my Zoom background?

For the best results, use a resolution of 1920 x 1080px. This full HD resolution ensures that your background looks sharp and clear on most screens, providing a professional appearance in your Zoom meetings.

Can I use animated backgrounds in Zoom?

Yes, Zoom now supports video backgrounds, allowing you to use animated visuals. However, for static backgrounds, it's recommended to stick with .png or .jpeg files for ease of use and compatibility.

How can I ensure my design isn't too distracting for meetings?

Opt for simple designs or muted colors to create a background that's engaging without being distracting. Avoid using overly complex images or animations. Subtle gradients, abstract patterns, or soft-focus landscapes can add depth without drawing attention away from the speaker.

Where can I find inspiration for my Zoom background designs?

Inspiration can be found in various places, such as design platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, or professional design blogs. Linearity Curve’s Template Library and the Unsplash integration offer a wealth of images, virtual background templates, and design ideas to spark your creativity.

How do I ensure my brand elements are visible and not covered during Zoom calls?

You can place brand elements such as logos in the lower third of your design or in the bottom-left corner, bottom-right corner, or top-right corner that are less likely to be covered by the speaker's video box. It's a good practice to test your background in Zoom to see how it looks with a video feed, allowing you to adjust the placement of logos and other brand elements accordingly.

Can I change my Zoom background during a meeting?

Yes, you can change your Zoom background during a meeting. Click on the arrow next to the video icon and select "Choose Virtual Background." From there, you can switch between previously uploaded backgrounds or add a new one on the fly.

Are there any best practices for incorporating text into my Zoom background?

When adding text to your Zoom background, ensure it's large enough to be easily readable and positioned in a way that it's unlikely to be obscured by the video window. Avoid placing important text near the bottom or sides of the design where it might be cut off or covered by the user's silhouette or Zoom's user interface elements.

How to make a Zoom background for your team calls | Linearity
How to make a Zoom background for your team calls | Linearity