Focus Collection IV

When I set out to design the first Focus Backgrounds collection, I wanted images that would free me from distractions. That’s why the wallpapers are mostly flat, blurry, frosted, and what you might call plain. I won’t even put my logo or watermark on them because that would defeat their purpose.

I want to have clarity on my screen at all times, so nothing in the background image should draw my attention. I align my focus on the apps I’m using and the files I’m managing. I think you want this level of focus too. So, without further ado, meet Focus Collection IV.

Design Notes

For this collection, I returned to my background wallpaper inspirations. The photos of John Carey, the photographer at Fifty Foot Shadows, suit the project perfectly. His photographs are scenes of the most ordinary things illustrated in the most charming ways. His photographs have a lively, natural color palette.

I collected about 30 of my favorite photos at Fifty Foot Shadows, then from those I stylized nine Focus Collection IV wallpapers. There’s something unique and different about every one in this set. They fuel my creativity and encourage me to zero in on whatever it is I want to accomplish today. In my everyday use over the last month, I’ve discovered that these are the most effective backgrounds I’ve designed, and I have John’s great photography to thank for his brilliant work.

Why More Backgrounds

I wouldn’t be satisfied with backgrounds that eventually become dull from familiarity. Imagine with me what it feels like to eat your first bowl of vanilla ice cream. The dessert seems delicious! But what if you were served vanilla ice cream all the time? The 100th time yoy might avoid the ice cream altogether because you’d rather have some variety. That’s how I feel towards wallpaper images. The first time I load one into the background, it’s appealing. The hundredth time I see it on my iPhone or Mac, it’s like the hundredth consecutive bowl of vanilla ice cream.

I enjoy monotony about as much as the next person—very little. Three or four background wallpapers are not enough because I use my devices every day of the year. I always knew that I wanted to create a large number of Focus Backgrounds so that I could swap them out from week to week and never grow tired of any one of them.

Not everyone agrees with me that soft-focus blurry pictures will achieve my goals. And even if I land on laser-focused, non-distracting backgrounds, how many people would want to use them? Some people have told me that I’m wasting my time.

I don’t think that I am. Even if I’m the only one using these background images, I’ve saved myself time and headaches managing the backgrounds I choose. And, as it turns out, other people like them.

Share Them

The trick here is that few people would ever think to look for wallpapers like these. When someone searches for “beautiful background wallpapers”, they’re usually looking for artsy illustrations with eye-popping splashes of color. Wallpaper websites have conditioned people to think distracting backgrounds are appropriate.

It took me many years to come to the conclusion that no matter how beautiful the stunning photography or illustration, I shouldn’t use distracting imagery for the background on my devices. Clarity fuels my productivity. The background should always be simple.

So, it’s for the crazy ones that I make Focus Backgrounds: the few people that want something beautiful and invisible. These wallpapers are intended to fade out of sight and mind so that you can do your best creative work.

If you like them, please share them with the people you know that want to add focus to their everyday lives. I believe that people will benefit from all the focus they can get.