New Backgrounds!

Once again, we have to thank the amazing community and the talented photographers on our platform, for our most recent collection of backgrounds just today available in the Gallery.

Thanks to the following for their contributions:
Geoffrey Orthwein
Yadunandan Pujara
Simon Fenton
Larry VanHowe
Ekin Caglar
Jacqueline Allott
Philip Dygéus
Knut Storvestre
Yoann Grange
DeAnna Watters
Danny Anderson
Antoine Mollion
Kevin Currie
Steven Polunsky
Amr J. Miqdadi
Hansel Dobbs
Jean-Jacques Halans
Trevor Brown
Arthur Arnesen
Tom Denning

We shared a few of the new backgrounds here, but head to your Background tab and check the Gallery to see them all!

Thank you once more to our departing group of photographers who shared their talent with the users.

If you’d like to have a photo you’ve taken considered as a background, please email one or two images to (they should be 1680×1050 px 72 dpi).

Easy and creative photo editing

Your background image is a representation of who you are and should be reserved for photos that make you look awesome. This blog post is for those of us who want to edit photos without spending money or dealing with any complex photo editing suites. I went in search of some solutions to make my photos look awesome and creative with doing as minimum amount of work as possible. 😛

MakeRetro is super easy to use. It lets you upload any image and add a filter to it. Think Instagram for the web and you have MakeRetro.

Pixlr is a little more advanced. Pixlr has the Retro vintage effects like MakeRetro, but also lets you use a browser-based photo editor where you can do just about anything to any of your photos.

JpgFUN is exactly what the title promises. The website has many pre-set images that you can plug any image into. Above you can see that I added my photo to a Ugly Betty image.  I had a lot of fun with this one, check out the medallion fifty has on below (all I had to do is click one button and people probably think I’m creative and awesome now). 🙂


Justified updates

We’re excited to offer a few updates to your Background positions. In addition to Scale, Center and Tile, you can now set your Background to Left or Right align.

Head to your Edit Your Page view to try out the different position options at the Backgrounds tab.

So if you have an amazing picture running a half marathon in Walt Disney World with your best friend, or really, any cool picture – you can add it and align it to the left or right side of the screen.

As an added bonus, we’ve made the entire bio box draggable, so placing your text is even easier. Add your page URL to the comments here if you’ve Right or Left aligned your image!

Pick a palette

The combinations of colors you can use on your page are nearly endless.  So which should you choose to represent yourself? There are a number of tools online to help find and match colors.  A longtime favorite is Kuler.

Kuler has thousands of color combinations generated by its community. It’s easy to get lost in all the cool combinations. You can create your own palettes based on your favorites or from scratch. Put them to the test by letting the community rate them.

Colourlovers provides inspirations and adds some context to the palette you pick.  A blog and community based on colors, patterns and trends in the space, Colourlovers has its own Tools section in addition to category specific Channels.

Need some extra help picking out the shade you see online?  Colorzilla can help. Coordinate with your background using Pictaculous. It creates a palette in Kuler or Colourlovers based on an image you upload.

Once you have the right mix of colors, add each 6 digit hex code in your Colors tab.

Updating your palette is a quick and easy way to refresh the look of your page. Are there any color tools we missed?

New Navigation

A new navigation

A few weeks back we were having a discussion about product scalability and how to retain simplicity and clarity while our community expands and product features are added. The first thing we noticed was that during the evolution of the site we inadvertently started to bury some of our profile functionality like Favoriting, Search, and Sharing. After this realization we decided it was time to take a step back from the weekly sprints and start exploring a new design that would serve as a solid foundation for what we have planned for the future.

Find People and Random Profile Button

Find People, Custom Directory, and Random

Providing the tools to allow you to effortlessly design a beautiful profile page is still a priority but we also want to start putting emphasis on building personal directories and providing tools that will allow our community to make more meaninful connections. With this context in mind, we decided to replace the Directory link with a more robust Find People button that expands to a dropdown containing a search field and link to our curated directory. We also felt that the current Random button iconography wasn’t totally clear so we explored a few different variations and decided to go with the more familiar shuffle arrows that are used in iTunes and similar interfaces.  

Repositioning of Edit Profile and Dashboard

Edit Profile

Another major change is the repositioning of the Edit Profile and Dashboard links to the right side of the navigation. The placement is different for “dashboard” and “edit profile” but we believe that unifying these two links with Account creates a clear and logical place to accomplish ALL actions and tasks related to your profile. In addition, we added a dropdown navigation under Dashboard that makes it easier to navigate directly to the various dashboard sections.

Adding Favoriting, Sharing, and Flagging Actions to the Bio Box

Share Profile

This was the idea that needed the most iterations. We wanted to increase the visibility of Favoriting while simplifying the top navigation, so we decided that the Favoriting, Sharing, and Flagging actions should be moved from the top navigation to the user’s bio box. The primary concern was that these actions would compete with the services and URL links but after playing around with multiple profiles we were pleased with how well all these profile specific links and actions complimented eachother.

So there you have it… Our new navigation system. We are excited about the refined look and feel (under the hood as well) but more importantly we hope that you all find it friendly and intutive to use. Stay tuned for some more exciting product revisions and definitely let us know what you think.

Typeface winners

And the results are in – you can now choose from Lobster, Good Times, Aviano Flare, Swingdancer, Felt Tip Roman and English Small Caps for your name, headline and biography texts.  We also added Futura PT, a favorite internally.

Thanks for voting!

Backgrounds brought to you by AOL Artists

As you may have seen, we stocked up some new default backgrounds for you to choose from, if your personal background image isn’t quite ready.  These backgrounds are part of a larger collection by AOL Artists.

According to Nikki Macaluso, Manager of the AOL Artists program:

AOL is dedicated to creativity and supporting the artistic community by actively commissioning artists from around the world. We are showcasing their work globally and our artist community is growing daily as we continue to discover talented individuals to work with. was launched in May 2010 to showcase this incredible talent. We have worked with 83 artists and commissioned 219 pieces of art as canvases to be featured attached to our brand identity. With the AOL Artists program, we are empowering artists, creativity and innovation.

To learn more about the backgrounds and the artists who created them, head to

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