35+ Simple Background Images, Templates & Design Tips

By Ryan McCready, Sep 05, 2018

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Background images are the first building block you can use to create a stunning visual.

Like the foundation of a mighty skyscraper, a simple background can make or break your visual content. A bad background image can cause your whole project to fall apart.

Too often people select the same boring stock image for their background…which is a travesty! Especially when there are other more engaging background images that they could be using–like a stunning gradient, an informative photo, or a textured image.

That’s why I have rounded up 35+ background images to inspire your designs. I’ve even included a bunch of background image templates you can use right now!

Let’s get started!

 

1. Monochrome Type Background Image

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A simple background image like this is extremely versatile, which is always good. It can be used in a school presentation, a business report or even a marketing poster! Because the colors are so muted, it won’t distract from your other content.

This black and white background was used on the title slide of this presentation:

 

2.  Colorful Flat Circles Background

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When you use a flat background like this example, it’s important to have some open space to include your written content. Otherwise, everything is going to blend together and make it hard for people to read.

As you can see in the presentation below, this background didn’t overlap or distract from the title. This circular background was actually used to begin and end this presentation as well: 

 

3. NYC Skyline Background Image

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There are few things that are as recognizable as the New York City skyline. Almost everyone in the world knows what they are looking at instantly. And if you want to associate your project with all that history and emotion, use this simple background.

Like with the monochrome background example, this background is also very flexible. It can make an interesting presentation background or poster background like below:

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4. Rustic Wood Panels Background

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I love designs that incorporate wood panels–just take a look at Venngage’s infographic gallery. That’s because although it’s a lot more interesting than a flat background color, it doesn’t dominate the graphic.

Wood panels can also be used to elicit a rustic or natural feeling, like in the wedding invitation template below:

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5. Simple Purple Checked Background 

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This simple background should be used to push the readers eye’s up toward something important. The movement of the squares will draw their attention to the center of the graphic, almost subconsciously.

You could then place an interesting fact or the title of your presentation in that spot, like below:  

Purple Checked Background

 

6. Simple White Grid Background

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Using a white background, like this example, can be helpful because it can then be used throughout your design project. There’s no need to find a few more simple backgrounds to use in text-filled slides.

This neutral background looks at home on every slide:

Simple White Grid Background Image

 

7. Minimalist Natural Presentation Background

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I love everything about this simple background, and I think other millennials will be drawn to it as well. From the simple white wall that dominates the image, to the trendy image of a plant. All of it is very on brand if you are trying to appeal to that generation.

As you can see, that theme is used throughout this presentation example. Also, the white sections make it very easy to add information or graphs:

 

8. Magenta Rising Bubbles Background

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This polka-dotted background adds some depth and texture to your designs.

When people are furiously scrolling on social media, this background will definitely catch their attention. That’s why it works well in the Instagram image below:

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9. Simple White Gradient Background

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Our last example of a simple background gradient was loud and boisterous. However, this example is a lot more muted and reserved. Actually, it’s the simplest gradient in this entire article, slowly fading from light gray to white.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a boring background! Take a look at how this understated gradient upgrades the social media graphic below.

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10. Simple Pineapple Background Image

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Pineapples are another item that is very trendy with the youngsters right now. So if you want to attract them with your graphics, I would recommend using this background.

The symmetry of the pineapples already make it an interesting image that will stand out on social media. And with the open section above the pineapples you can easily add some text like they did in this social media template:

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11. Green Outdoors Background

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As you can see, this presentation background image uses a color overlay very well. This simple color overlay, which you can change, allows the background to fit the color palette of the rest of the design project.

Check out how the title slide matches the rest of the presentation now. Without the color overlay, the image would look very out of place:

Green Outdoors Background

 

12. Modern Office Simple Background

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As with most stock images, this simple background is so vague it can be used in a variety of projects. From a social media post to an ebook cover, like in the example below.

But what I really like about this background image is that it feels so airy and inviting. It’s almost like an office that I would love to work in. I think you can use that in your design project to grab the tech and startup communities attention.

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13. Breathtaking Mountain Landscape Background Image

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In my opinion, landscape photos make incredible backgrounds. That’s because they all have a built-in section that you can add text or titles to.

It’s called the sky.

Also, you can use an imposing landscape to set the tone of your project from the beginning. I mean, just take a look how they use this simple background in the presentation example below:

 

14. Arrows Everywhere Background Image

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Here is another background image that uses a color overly exceptionally well. However, I think the collection of arrows on this image makes the purple really pop! And if you look at the example below, they look even better when paired with a yellow overlay.

Each arrow has a slightly different orientation and texture, which makes the graphics intriguing without being overwhelming. That’s why I think the simple background works well throughout this presentation:

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15. Blue Wired Transparent Background

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This simple background example features a ton of white space that you can use however you like. Go ahead and add a quote, a title or an important figure to that space.

Just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean this is a boring background image. In fact, the wire figure is interesting enough to make someone want to read or click on your content. Check out how it’s used it in the social media graphic below:

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16. Bright Orange Background

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I’m pretty sure that this simple background is one of my favorite examples in the whole article. The green and orange are very eye-catching because they are a part of a triad color palette. And the two distinct textures, the wall and plant, give the image some real depth.  

This background will definitely work on a stylish poster, presentation, or flyer like below:

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17. Bokeh Cityscape Background

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If you weren’t aware, “bokeh” is a design term for the blurry parts of a photo. In this simple background image, there’s a lot of it!

This background image allows you to include a lot of text in the foreground because it basically blurs out all the distracting elements of the background photo. Take a look at it in action in this social media template:

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18. Computer Desk Background

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There are a lot of office-centric stock photos out on the internet right now. Heck, there are even a few sites that are dedicated to only those types of photos.

So what I’m trying to say is most office background images are pretty interchangeable. However, what I really like about this one is that you can easily change what is on the computer screen.

You could show off your website or blog post in a realistic setting with this simple background. Check out how it’s being used as a presentation background below:

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19. Colorful Geometric Background

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I have a special place in my heart for geometric backgrounds, like this example. Actually, the logo of my first company used a geometric pattern just like this. So every time I see an example like this one I remember the good times!

Geometric backgrounds are very useful because you can use whatever colors you want. They are basically like a gradient’s retro cousin–and are guaranteed to upgrade any design you are working on.  

I mean, look at how unique the title and final slide of the example below are:

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20. Orange Landscape Background Image

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By combining a color filter with a beautiful landscape, this designer created a very impressive background. And best of all, almost anyone can follow their lead to create a simple background image.

All you need is a color filter of your choice, and a breathtaking stock photo. Then slap an interesting quote on that unique background, and you have a killer motivational poster:

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21. Diagonal-Split Simple Background 

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A simple background like this diagonal example is another type that is extremely versatile. Almost any brand can use this background in their design projects. Because with just a few clicks you can make it match your brand color palette.

Check out how it easily it fades into the background, but also gives the slides some depth in the presentation below:

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22. “Iconic” Orange Background

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Icons are essential to any interesting design project. There are millions of them, which means you can easily find a handful that will fit on your graphic.

For example, this icon-heavy background was used to add some context to this social media graphic:

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23. A Million Little Stars Landscape Background

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Like I stated above, landscape images are great because they usually have a large space to add text or information. This simple background example is no exception! Actually, most of the image is open, which gives you a large canvas to work with.

Additionally, most people stick to day landscapes but this one takes things a bit darker. If you want to stand out from that pack I would recommend using this in your social media graphics, like below:

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24. Fun Meeting Background Image

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If you want to show off how fun your company is, this simple background is perfect for you. Just look at how much fun those people are having! And there are Legos on the table, so you know it’s a cool place to work.

But in all seriousness, this stock photo is built for your pitch decks, social media graphics or posters. This meeting background will definitely put your readers in the right state of mind when they see your content. It was used flawlessly as a poster background in the example below:

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25. White Desk Background Image 

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There are three components that make this simple background image a winner. First, it has a huge open space for you to place content or text. Next, the yellow watch is very eye-catching and will stand out on social media. Finally, the typing hands help your readers place themselves in that situation and identify with the image.

This background image has been around for a long time, and that’s because it’s constructed well. I honestly remember using this example on a project almost five years ago. And it’s still useful all these years later:

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26. Perfect Sunset Background Image

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Who doesn’t love a great sunset? I know it’s one of my favorite parts of the day. The sky turns a unique color every day.

In this simple background image, the sunset dominates the image and adds a ton of interesting color to it. Additionally, the grass in front come together to make the image elicit a feeling of freedom. So I would advise using this background on an outdoor event poster or festival flyer, like so:

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27. Simple Restaurant Background Image

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This professionally shot background image is ideal for any food brand or restaurant. Especially because there isn’t any specific food that would make it only work for a burger joint or sushi place.

You can easily add a color overlay to make the simple background less impactful. Or use a transparent shape to let the full background image peak through, like they did for the presentation background below:

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28. Split Pool Simple Background Image

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When you can use parts of your background image as design elements, you really have a winning background. Not sure what I’m talking about? Well, in this simple background the pool and water naturally create two distinct sections. Because they’re complementary colors, it also looks incredible.

I would recommend splitting information between these two sections. This layout will make it easy for readers to efficiently move through the written information. Like in the example below, one section catches your eye and the other contains all the important information:

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29. Red Arrow Background Image

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In my opinion, this is a killer presentation background, especially for the title card. You can use it to imply movement or moving forward. Whether it be with a product you are selling or a process you want your employees to learn, it works!

Check out how they used this background in the example below:

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30. Wonders Of The Universe Background

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If you’re looking for an eye-catching background image that will make readers stop in their tracks, this is it. I’m guessing you stopped scrolling through this article when you saw it as well.

But the best part of this background is that there is a lot of open space for your to place content or information. In this flyer example they use that open space very effectively:

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31. Colorful Plants Simple Background

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On the surface any background with a large section of white space is useful. That white space allows you to add content with things getting too messy. And this example has a lot of it!

However, there also needs to be some interesting elements. Something that catches the eye of the reader as they are scrolling through a social media feed. Or sitting down for a presentation, like in the slide deck background below:

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32. Plant Collage Background 

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The deep color and texture that each plant has really made this a captivating background image. And with a bunch of leaf layers, the image has a lot of depth that will draw the reader towards it. On the whole, it’s a really well-crafted background image!

I would suggest using this as a background for an Instagram or Facebook post. As you can see in the example below, with just a few shapes and icons you can create a compelling graphic:

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33. Yellow Minimal Background

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I really think that this simple background is perfect for teachers or presenters. The pencils and the bold color palette will instantly excite their audience. And they can easily include a quote or fact in all of the open space beside it.

In this background example, they used that open space for the title of a blog post:

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34. Yellow Spotted Background

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This is a classic pattern before it was on your computer screen it was on your walls. Just like other classics, it’s been around that long because it still works!

In this presentation example, the spots are used to give the white space some extra texture. And when that background is combined with illustrated icons and a flat section, the slide comes to life:

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35. Crumpled Paper Simple Background

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This might be the ultimate simple background in this entire article. I mean what is more simple than a crumpled piece of paper?

Well, maybe a flat piece of paper.

But that would not be as interesting as this crumpled piece of paper! Also it’s basically all white space that you can create a masterpiece on. Or add a famous quote. The sky’s the limit with this extremely simple background. Check out how they use it as a presentation background below:

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36. Burlap Message Background Image

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In this final example, I think we have an image that was created solely to be a simple background. Most of the others were art pieces or photos that were turned into backgrounds as almost an afterthought.

But as you can see in this background, the burlap is intentionally left blank. It’s almost calling out for your content! Now you can use this as the background of a poster, or even an invitation:

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You made it to the end! I know that was a lot of simple backgrounds, but I wanted you to have a bunch of options to choose from.

Like I said gradients are my favorite but there were a ton of other great examples like:  

  1. Colorful Flat Circles Background
  2. Rustic Wood Panels Background
  3. Minimalist Natural Background
  4. Breathtaking Mountain Landscape Background
  5. Colorful Geometric Background

I could go on and on, but I think this is a perfect place to end!

 

About Ryan McCready

Ryan McCready went to the University of Arkansas and graduated with a degree in economics and international business. Now instead of studying the economy he writes about everything and enjoys stirring the pot.