Scenes for screens

Not your average video call backgrounds

Illustration by Joslyn Reid

At the core of our Adobe Design ethos is celebrating the incredible work of our team and giving back to the creative community (in ways big and small). As a globally distributed team, the video calls that became the new way of life while working from home in 2020 weren’t new to us, but the opportunity to express ourselves and share a bit more about our personal lives, with our settings and backgrounds, was. A new Slack channel was spawned for sharing our unique office and desk setups and people began experimenting with virtual backgrounds—bringing an even more vibrant, imaginative, and artistic flair to meetings.

As 2021 got closer and working from home continued, we realized that the video calls we'd gotten so used to weren’t going to end anytime soon. Instead, they become an opportunity to harness and showcase some of the talent our team. It didn’t take long for Khoi Vinh, senior director of design for Adobe XD, to come up with the idea for a year of virtual video call backgrounds.

We challenged members of the team to flex their creative muscles by bringing to life unique backgrounds that embody creativity for all.

Over this past year, Khoi challenged members of the team to flex their creative muscles by bringing to life unique backgrounds that embody creativity for all. The result? A unique and expressive collection that makes art references, celebrates nature, and offers new vantage points of the world around us (including one from space!).

Looking back on this project, I'm reminded how impressive, inspiring, and talented the people I work with are and how rewarding it is to be able to share their work with people outside (and inside) of Adobe Design. It wouldn’t have been possible without Khoi, senior designer Emma Zhang, who translated each background to a project on the Adobe Design Behance page, and the members of the design team, whose talents brought these projects to life each month of the past year.

Download a background (or two) and bring some new energy to your next video call.

Golden medallion in the middle of an abstract field of leaves and seeds in shades of yellow, tan, and gold with accents of bright blue.
Jinjin Sun’s gilded halo celebrated January and the shiny start of a new year. Read more about the background and download it here.
An illustration of a seated woman, drinking from a teacup and gazing out a cafe window, surrounded by four cats (one of them on her laptop screen).
In February, Ian Miller reflected on community, connection, and companionship with a cat café. Read more about the background and download it here.
Organic blobs of blue and teal are suspended in a field of navy with pink angular lines overlaid with a random pattern of teal and blue dots.
Process, pattern, and punches of color formed Brooke Hopper’s March abstraction. Read more about the background and download it here.
An astronautical view of space from a window. A large planet and starry sky are the backdrop to an astronaut standing on a pier emerging from a cloudscape.
In April, Kim Pimmel explored fantastical worlds, cosmic wonder, and infinite possibilities. Read more about the background and download it here.
Abstract shapes in shades of green, orange, and yellow, with accents of pink and purple comprise this stylized jungle-like setting.
Inspired by warm weather and Henri Rousseau, Isabelle Hamlin created May’s geometric jungle. Read more about the background and download it here.
Succulents in muted pinks, purples, blues, and greens form the map of the world against a striking black background.
For June, a map of the world composed of Prachi Ramchandra Chaudhari’s photographic collection of succulents. Read more about the background and download it here.
Circle quadrants in pink, purple, blue, green, yellow, and white form abstract parrots and leaves on a half white, half purple background.
Minimalism, repetition, and pattern exploration, for screens in dark mode (left) and light, by Lorenzo Buosi for July. Read more about the background and download it here.
A close-cropped image of a smiling woman looking out from a video call on an open laptop.
Formed from a surrealist dream... Emma Zhang’s ethereal August background. Read more about the background and download it here.
Golden hummingbirds with colorful necks drink from pink flowers growing on vines in various shades of green against a background of forest green.
For September, Pollyanna Fernandez Macchiano was inspired by the flight paths of hummingbirds. Read more about the background and download it here.
Lines of white, red, and teal spiral toward the center of the black background.
An imaginary gateway to a virtual dimension by Saagar Gavri for October. Read more about the background and download it here.
Whimsical tree stumps and bushes commune with stars, clouds, and birds in shades of watery blue, pink, yellow, and green against a  background of night.
A whimsical, enchanting, magical November night by Matthew Carlson. Read more about the background and download it here.
Charcoal and peach fingers pinch an eye with a tan iris and golden pupil surrounded by mod, petal-like ripples of red.
Last in the series, an eye-opening exploration of the senses by Joslyn Reid. Read more about the background and download it here.