From isometric styles to 3D patterns, cutting-edge cobalt blue to galactic graphics, there’s an on-trend background image for every type of industry.
If your backdrops are in need of a reboot, look no further. These ten trending backgrounds are a quick and simple way to update lackluster layouts in an instant. Whether you’re creating a mock-up of your branding concepts, looking for a cool backdrop for your print layouts, or searching for background ideas to use in your website designs, here you’ll find a selection of alternative images and textures to use in your designs.
The Importance of Backgrounds in Your Designs
Backgrounds are the unsung workhorse in a designer’s toolkit. Useful for adding color, graphic interest, and texture to a range of designs — from websites and apps to posters and flyers — background images have the most transformational potential of any element on your layout.
Different types of design require particular background styles, as do different industries and businesses. An expandable isometric backdrop might be a great choice for a startup’s responsive website design, while a metallic marbled background could be a beautiful choice for luxury packaging. A carefully-chosen background has the potential to entice clicks on social media, convert sales on websites, or attract more interest to a webinar event. So, it pays off to not leave your background choice as a neglected afterthought.
Don’t miss this comprehensive guide to using backgrounds in your designs, from how to adapt high-resolution photographs for social media posts to how to select the best background style for a range of industries, from retail to corporate services.
Scroll down to discover ten trending background styles that will give your designs a contemporary edge.
How to Use Backgrounds for Different Designs
Different media may require different backgrounds to suit the theme, sector, and final intention of the design (print or web).
Here, discover a quick-start guide to choosing suitable backgrounds for social media, YouTube, presentations, invitations, and websites. Then, scroll down to discover ten trending backgrounds that will give your layouts cutting-edge style.
Backgrounds for PowerPoint Presentations
Backgrounds can professionalize presentations and give slides a consistent look and style. However, avoid images that risk distracting from the text content or the spoken presentation.
Conceptual geometric shapes with monochrome color palettes make a simple and stylish backdrop to a range of presentations. You can make a subtle nod to the theme of the presentation, whether research, finances, or a client proposal, in the choice of background style.
For corporate or research-themed presentations, a futuristic-inspired design or 3D topography background (see below) will set the scene. Meanwhile, client proposals may suit more subtle textures or materials, such as linen, canvas, or concrete, in bleached-out colors to put the focus on the presentation content.
Backgrounds for Social Media Posts
The aim of social media posts is to capture and hold the attention of easily-distracted browsers. The style of the background will depend on the theme of the post and business sector, but aim to use colors and styles that are particularly eye-catching.
Neons, vivid gradients, and eye-popping 3D elements help to entice clicks. Meanwhile, while luxury textures, like agate, marble, and metallics, are on-trend materials to use on Pinterest and Instagram.
Backgrounds for Invitations and Event Materials
Invitations, e-vites, and menus will benefit from the mood-setting properties of a background image. For parties and weddings, look for Art Deco backgrounds or 1980s-inspired styles in rich colors and metallics to create a glamorous party atmosphere. Simple rustic textures, like canvas, powders, and florals, also help to add a romantic touch to invites for baby showers, receptions, and birthdays.
Floral backgrounds don’t have to be old-fashioned. The new wave of floral-themed images is distinctly more contemporary and edgy:
- Invitation Hacks: Find Ideas and Free Calligraphy Fonts Here
- In Full Bloom: How to Use 2020’s Floral Trend in Your Designs
Backgrounds for Websites
Digital screens emit color as light, meaning that the backgrounds you use for websites and apps will be more vivid and high-contrast than the same image in print.
To ensure your background will look as effective on small-screen mobile devices as it will on large desktops, it’s important that your background has the flexibility to adapt, expanding or contracting as part of a responsive design. As a result, look out for seamless backgrounds that allow the image to widen without impacting on the overall aesthetic. Uniform material backgrounds like concrete and wood, or repeating patterns, are good background choices for online. “Edgeless” images that can expand in width are also useful.
- How to Pick Background Images for Your Online Store
- Black Backgrounds on Websites: How to Do It Right
Backgrounds for Posters and Flyers
Designing for print requires a different approach to designing for web. Additive CMYK results in colors that appear duller or more muted than on light-emitting screens. With this in mind, avoid colors that are difficult to print without using spot colors or Pantone swatches — such as neons, metallics, and pastels.
Instead, look for backgrounds that have strong, graphic qualities, such as shapes and lines. Or, look to high-resolution photos to provide beautiful backdrops on banners or brochures.
Large-format posters are the perfect canvas for busier backgrounds, such as 3D patterns or collage designs. So, be brave and opt for a background with maximalist leanings.
2020’s Trending Backgrounds
This year, we’re seeing a continual move away from flat design to more dynamic 3D graphics in backgrounds. Ultra-bright neon colors, CAD-style 3D renders, and futuristic themes are emerging trends, and are particularly suited to brands in the tech, science, and travel sectors. Patterns are also moving into eye-popping multi-dimensions, with dramatic shadows and highlights transforming Memphis-style designs into immersive shape-scapes.
Read on to discover the ten key background trends every designer should know — from futuristic abstract to 3D topography.
1. Futuristic Abstract Backgrounds
We’re going back to the future with our first on-trend background style. 3D geometric shapes, sci-fi inspired colors and textures, and digital-inspired neon light make for images that have a futuristic flavor.
This background trend has emerged out of a huge expansion in the digital and technology industries. So, these types of images are a natural fit for tech businesses, digital services, and electronics companies. However, any business that wants to communicate a forward-thinking or innovative outlook will find that futuristic abstract backgrounds will lend a more avant-garde attitude to websites and promotional media.
2. Cobalt Blue Backgrounds
If you make your backgrounds only one color this year, make them blue. Its cool and collected nature ensures that blue works beautifully across a wide range of designs and business types.
Although Classic Blue was declared Pantone 2020’s Color of the Year, its more vivid relative, cobalt, is the blue to turn to for on-trend, soothing backgrounds with depth and beauty. Cobalt blue makes a fantastic pairing with juicy coral and neon orange. Or team a cobalt background with crisp, white text for a timeless, nautical-inspired palette.
Try a 3D set piece drenched in cobalt as a beautiful backdrop to product mock-ups. Or, bring an ethereal quality to your designs with an inky blue bokeh background.
3. Metallic Marble and Agate
Nothing looks quite as luxurious and elegant as marble, which is why so many designers are drawn to the stone texture when they’re creating advertising images and stationery designs for high-end brands. Agate and mineral stone textures also tap into the crystal and wellness trends, making these types of backgrounds well-suited to products and brands in this sector.
Avoid white marble saturation by choosing a more unique and glamorous incarnation. Marble or agate backgrounds streaked with gold, silver, or copper are luxurious and effortlessly beautiful, and suit a wide range of aspirational designs, from restaurant branding to high-end packaging.
Mix up your marbles for an eclectic look. Or, seek out images of marbles and stones with unusual colors, patterns, and metallic flecks for a distinctive style.
4. Geometric Gradient Backgrounds
The gradient macro-trend is still a popular style across web and print design. However, 3D renders, fluid geometric shapes, and a playful approach to light and shadow are giving the gradient style a new lease on life in 2020.
Look for 3D gradient shapes, papercut styles, and airbrushed, noisy textures for gradients that look contemporary.
Gradients are a versatile background style that suits a wide variety of designs. However, they look particularly effective on website and app designs, where neon HEX colors can really pop. Gradients have managed to shake off some of their original 80s-influenced party spirit, but they still make fitting companions for entertainment or hospitality-themed designs, such as drink menus, event flyers, and streaming services.
5. Isometric Backgrounds
Lifting influences from gaming and architecture, isometric backgrounds are a growing trend that’s particularly suited to tech startups, digital marketing, game designers, and web services.
Isometric designs can be abstract and conceptual, or picture a specific scenario, such as city planning, networking, or remote working. Look out for vivid color palettes, naive-style illustrated figures, and plenty of copy space to the side or top of the image.
You can download many isometric backgrounds as editable vector files, making it easy to incorporate your own brand colors into a design.
6. Multicolored Backgrounds
No design is too bright with these rainbow-tinted background styles. Surprisingly versatile, multicolored designs make the perfect backdrop to crisp white or black text, creating an overall balanced effect.
Once the reserve of printing businesses, a range of industries can now use multicolored backgrounds to communicate themes of creativity, thinking, technological innovation, or excitement. If you’re creating designs for the software sector or for service-based industries that rely on innovative thinking, such as consultancy businesses, design studios, or life coaches, multicolored backgrounds can help to convey a sense of originality and inventiveness.
Look out for cloud textures or papercut backgrounds to keep the style looking on-trend. Or, place multicolored gradients into the backdrop of logos or websites to inject instant zest and zeal into a design.
7. Interstellar Backgrounds
Space-themed imagery has become more popular in the last couple of years. This is due to renewed interest in space tourism and a recent flurry of galactic-themed movies, such as Ad Astra and Lucy in the Sky.
Space backgrounds carry much of the psychological association of space exploration, giving designs an ethereal and vast quality. The contrast between light and dark in images of starry skies is particularly suited to digital designs, with screens able to exaggerate further the highlights and shadows in high-resolution photographs of galaxies and particles.
Space backgrounds lend an air of beauty, mystery, and calmness to designs. This makes them a great fit for any business wanting to appear knowledgeable, ambitious, and forward-thinking.
8. 3D Topography Backgrounds
This emerging background trend sees line drawings of topography or sound waves transformed into beautiful 3D works of art. With lines highlighted in bold (often neon) colors and once-flat lines lifted into three-dimensional mountains and valleys, these images balance abstract beauty with scientific influence.
Able to give a sense of movement and fluidity to layouts, topographic-inspired backgrounds are a good companion for designs themed on networking, technology, or communication.
Sound wave imagery also gets the 3D treatment, with subtle shadows and gradients giving these backgrounds a sense of movement and an immersive quality that looks stunning paired with simple typography.
9. 3D Patterned Backgrounds
With graphic design increasingly moving towards 3D styles, the humble pattern is also receiving the same treatment. Vivid colors and 1980s-inspired pattern styles are the most current interpretation of the trend, which encourages a maximalist approach to design.
Perfect for adding an eye-catching element to print designs, such as posters and flyers, these 3D patterns also make unique and interesting backgrounds for packaging and product design.
10. Fresh Pastel Backgrounds
Building on the popularity of Millennial Pink, pastel backgrounds are having a moment in graphic design, right now. Summery and cheering, pastel tones are a fun and playful backdrop for product mockups and packaging design.
Because we often associate pastel colors with childhood, a pastel background feels youthful and fun. It’s a quick and simple way to make your brand designs appeal to a Millennial market, or simply play down the seriousness of a design.
Look for ice-cream tones of pistachio, mint, and lemon on papery textures, or opt for gradient pastels in warm corals and pinks for Gen-Y appeal.
Bonus: FREE Distressed Textures
Want more background ideas? Try adding a retro or grunge look to your designs with our pack of twenty-five handmade distressed textures. You can apply them to any background, image, or typography for a customized and professionally designed look. Download your free textures here.
Looking for more design inspiration? Don’t miss these articles for handy tips, tricks, and tutorials:
- 5 Text Layout Tips for Setting Headlines in Your Design
- Learn How to Make 3D Text in Illustrator With Simple Drop Shadows
- How to Use Illustrator to Create Isometric Typography
- Add Character to Your Text with Patterned Clipping Masks
- How to Use the Type Tool in Illustrator to Alter Sample Text
Cover image via CRVL.