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What Should You Avoid in a Zoom Background?

Updated: Jan 8

Zoom backgrounds may be even more important in the digital age than physical office space. Similar to a neat physical office, a clean and professional background for video calls sets the tone for all your virtual communication with colleagues and clients.

Different organizations have varying standards of what constitutes a good background. In general, however, it's best to err on the side of a streamlined background with no distractions. This emphasizes your image, improving focus and making the call more productive.

Avoid Cluttered Spaces

Clutter can be charming on shelves in a family living room, but it's not great for a background on a professional video call. A cluttered background can be a typical home scene with laundry and pet toys in the backdrop, but it can also be an especially busy office with papers and folders out in the open. Even if the space is organized and you can locate your important documents, the visually stimulating clutter will distract your audience.

The blurred background tool can mitigate a cluttered backdrop but won't solve the issue. Bright bits of color or large shapes can still be distracting forces behind you. Instead, try a blank stretch of wall or a sparse corner of a room for your professional Zoom calls.

Stay Away From Busy or Irrelevant Backgrounds

Zoom, Teams, and other meeting tools offer a virtual background feature. This feature automatically detects the outline of your face and shoulders and separates it from the objects behind you. The call platform can fill the space around your form with images like a green screen. You can even load in custom images for a unique call background.

This may seem like an easy solution to the issue of cluttered backgrounds, but virtual backgrounds also have drawbacks. Many are designed to be fun and eye-catching rather than neat and professional. Even in casual office environments, themed backgrounds such as a beach scene or Minecraft world are an irrelevant and distracting choice for work meetings.

What should you use instead? A neutral office scene is an acceptable choice. Rows of virtual bookshelves are also popular, and some people believe it makes them appear more knowledgeable. The best option is to create custom Zoom backgrounds free with a tasteful integration of your company name and logo.

Avoid Dark or Busy Colors

Light sources are your friends on any professional video call. A well-lit image is more welcoming and trustworthy than a shadowy one. Dark or loud colors in your background cast noticeable reflections onto your face that detract from your image on a call.

In addition, science has shown that some colors cause restless energy when painted on walls, used in logos, or worn as clothing. Avoid these high-energy colors in your Zoom background images:

  • Yellow

  • Bright orange

  • Intense red

  • Electric blue

Instead, try softer and more emotionally calming colors such as light blue, calm green, or light grey with flattering undertones.

Steer Clear of Too Much Text in Your Brand Logo

Text and faces naturally draw the human eye. If too much text is in your Zoom background, you will constantly have to split your audience's attention with the words on your screen.

Many brand logos contain multiple lines of text or an anxiety-inducing color. If your logo is potentially distracting, try to streamline the logo or place it as a watermark in the background to make it more subtle.

Remember that the background of a professional Zoom call should be just that: A background. Don't let a loud, irrelevant, cluttered, or text-heavy background draw your audience's attention on work calls.



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