Help your fellow IT pals spruce up their virtual meetings: Design a winning background, win Register-branded gear

Assuming we ever get into the office again and into the merch cupboard

20 Reg comments Got Tips?

Contest We wanted paperless offices, and instead we got people-less – with in-person chats replaced with the warmth and nuance of video meetings featuring people wearing big ugly headphones while trying to get their children to stop building forts out of pizza boxes.

The very best video meetings, however, plaster over the pandemic gloom with virtual backdrops depicting attendees somewhere delightful. The beach, forests, or sitting beside a personal Indigo machine at SGI's height. But it's tricky creating or obtaining the right backdrop to use.

Seeing as our readers are a clever and creative bunch, though, we thought we'd invite y'all to produce suitable backdrops to share with your fellow IT colleagues.

The best efforts will be featured on this site, and we’ll pick a winner. If we ever get back to the office, we’ll raid the Register merchandise closet, and send featured artists some branded gear.

What are we after? On the creative side, something you feel would be appreciated by our audience of millions of IT pros, software developers, sysamins, security staff, decision makers, and C-suite types. Feel free to work in some recognizable Reg motifs – some of the usual slang, some BOFH action, our logo or some actual vultures, and so on.

On the technical side, without in any way endorsing Zoom, the vid-chat upstart offers a background-making guide we’ll take inspiration from: images should be 16:9 and between 1280 x 720 and 1920 x 1080. .JPG or .PNG is preferred. Animated backdrops should be .MP4 or .MPV files at between 480 x 360 and 1920 x 1080, and run about three to five seconds.

Rules? Yeah we gotta have ‘em, so here they are:

  • The competition is open to individuals and companies.
  • The closing time and date for entries is 1700 GMT on Friday, June 12, 2020.
  • The background must be your original work, and not infringe anyone else's copyright or trademark.
  • The background should incorporate a Register logo, or feature vultures, or some of our regular stuff and reoccurring jokes as mentioned above.
  • The background must not contain images or audio that are hateful, or in any way not safe for work.
  • The editor's decision is final.

To enter, use the Google form we’ve created right here.

To help you along, we’ve shared some Reg logos here.

What’s that? You want inspiration? OK. The fine folks behind Dungeons and Dragons offer this cracker as a freebie, and plenty more fun here.

Tourism Australia has a collection of backgrounds. Sadly the nation is closed to non-citizens at present, and even citizens get a free 14-day stay in a quarantine hotel when they land.

Even Fox is offering freebies, like this one of Moe’s Tavern from The Simpsons.

You have almost three weeks to do better with a Reg tinge: get to it. ®

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