The background on Google Meet backgrounds

The team works with artists from all over the world to design the different filters. “I start by putting together a content strategy for everything that we want to do for the whole year: What permanent backgrounds and what permanent effects do we want? What older content do we want to replace? What seasonal events do we want to hit?” explains Lauren Morrison, lead designer for Meet’s video effects. “Then we collaborate with artists and agencies on nailing down the designs.”

For cultural moments, the team often turns to Google’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). “It’s so important to partner with people who really understand all of the symbolic imagery,” says Lauren. “For this year’s Ramadan effects, I was able to work with Muslims@Google, a chapter of our Inter Belief Network ERG — they talked about how important street markets are at night during Ramadan, when everybody goes out and breaks their fast together. It’s that kind of energy that we wanted to try to capture with this background.”

“Whatever country you call home, the marketplace represents the central location of community, commerce and culture,” says Malik Elarbi, who leads the Muslims@Google Product Inclusion team that helped design the background. “Every Ramadan, these places are beautifully decorated around the world as Muslims come together at sunset with friends, family and loved ones for iftar — the meal eaten after sunset to break fast.”

This kind of collaboration is part of what Lauren loves about her role. “I get to work with really fantastic artists all over the world on our Meet backgrounds and effects, and get to learn about the imagery from different regions and holidays around the world as we make Meet a more inclusive platform,” says Lauren. “It’s a joy to get to be inspired by all of these people.”