Tips for having an interesting background

Feb 23, 2015

Hello, folks

I created a story using a clean Polished template. Our new company "look" is simple and clean, without shading or shadows.

I don't like opening on blank slides, so in a couple of places I used a diamond as a background element before building a picture or menu on top of it. Problem is, the boss doesn't like the diamond look. She can give me no clues about what she doesn't like, except it doesn't look "professional". 

Is there some resource for finding interesting backgrounds or background elements that I can use as a unifying element for otherwise dull slides? I have no background in design; I'm happy to be clear. I've looked at other Storyline demos for ideas, but nothing is grabbing me. I don't need a whole interaction, just an interesting "look." 

Comments are appreciated! 

15 Replies
Veronica Budnikas

Hi Marie,

I recently started using Niice: when I need inspiration for a project from a visual design angle. You can type in any search term you want and it will collate images related to that search term. For example, you can type in a colour, or a particular artist, or a particular style, or a combination of words like "corporate blue". You can then, if you want, create a moodboard.

Hope this helps, and I am sure other heroes will have awesome tips as well.



Marie DesJardin

Thanks, folks!

Veronica, thanks for the Niice tip. It doesn't seem to have much in the way of telephony/server image ideas, but I'll keep trying.

Nicola, I loved the links you shared and the article references. This is definitely something I'm playing with. Loved the article with the smartphone snapshot trick.

Steve, a gradient was my first attempt at a background, but I thought it looked messy with our "clean" look. I'll attach a sample slide with our color palette (logos obscurred). The green diamond is the issue here; a similar unifying element appears on several slides. We have a pale blue checkmark that is part of the marketing team's "look", but I don't want to use that on every page.

Thanks again for your comments. Any additional ideas, now that you see where I'm starting from?

Deanna Brigman

From a design perspective, the green is quite intense. Generally, the eye wants to look at the most interesting colors. So on this slide it is hard to tell what to focus on, as all I want to do is look at the green diamond.

I would suggest a much lighter tint of green, or even perhaps a light gray. In thinking about what to put in the background, remember it should be something subtle, and it should never be the focus of the slide, so it shouldn't have words or really interesting shapes. 

A gradient can look clean if you pick some subtle colors. Perhaps even a slight texture. That is they key to a clean look, something low key and elegant. Grays are good for that, or light blues.

The gradient behind this cone could work:

Calvin Lo

i agree with deanna. the diamond kinda distracted me in that slide. if you think there's too much blank white space, go with a solid light gray background. if it still looks empty, a subtle (less light gray, or one of the logo's color) header bar can also be used.  

If the issue is having to open on a blank slide, maybe a short description on what the slide is all about can be placed under the header?

Bruce Graham

I have nothing to add here in terms of suggestions (sorry!), however...I am wondering how many people in design jobs are required to have something "professional" when in fact the requester actually means "...dull and traditional", (but is wordsmithing with themselves and justifying their own position of safety...).

For example, Bokeh lighting effects can look very "professional" but are not traditional or dull (IMHO). Combined with minimal words in the right positions they can look great.




Marie DesJardin

Thanks, Bruce. I think words are definitely at the root of the problem here. It's very difficult to explain a visual concept in words, either to express how something doesn't work, or to share your vision. I found that my new development team didn't "get it" even with a storyboard; it was only after I put together the working prototype that they had that "Ah hah!" moment.

Thanks for sharing these examples. Cheers.

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