Wallpapers Designed to Get You Off Your Phone

Wallpapers Designed to Get You Off Your Phone

Designer Molly McLeod created wallpapers that combat our habit of constantly looking at our devices

Daniela Walker
  • 16 march 2015

There is a definite irony in using your phone’s wallpaper as a reminder to get off your phone. But designer Molly McLeod, who is currently a fellow at Code for America, decided that a certain irony was needed, and was an effective way for her to combat her own phone-use habits. So, she created five playful smartphone wallpapers that use the available real estate on a smartphone’s screen to remind people that there is more to life than their phones.


McLeod created the project as a response to articles she had read about digital detoxing.

“Our phones are taking over all our idle moments so we have little time to enjoy the moment we’re in or process the information we’re absorbing,” she tells PSFK. “I wanted to change some of my digital behaviors, but I knew to motivate myself I needed a reminder in the context of my phone itself.”


McLeod appreciates the irony of the approach but she is a realist. She didn’t want to go completely off-grid, nor does she expect others to. “I still use Twitter, and Instagram, and the many useful tools and functions of my phone,” she says. “But whenever I have a few idle minutes while waiting for a train, waiting in line, or waiting for a friend, these wallpapers remind me not [to] default to seeking instant gratification on my phone.”


Of course, when anyone has a picture on their wallpaper for too long, we tend to stop processing it as keenly. So does McLeod worry that she will adapt to the messages and go back to her always-on ways? The short answer is no, or at least, hopefully not. She says:

In the few weeks I’ve been using them, they’ve already made a difference for me. My goal is only to help shift small behaviors and change unconscious habits. Changing your environment (in this case, the first thing you see when you look at your phone’s lock screen) is key to changing habits. Once I’ve cycled through each of them a few times, maybe I’ll go back to using a picture of my puppy.

Molly McLeod

+Code for America
+digital detoxing
+Molly McLeod

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