When I first saw the implementation of start screen backgrounds on Windows Phone 8.1 I really didn’t see any point in it. The backgrounds I tried there made it harder for me to see my icons and notifications and looked too “busy”. After thinking about it a bit thought and discussing with some other devs I saw an opportunity. One of the issues I had with Windows Phone 7 and 8.0 was that in order to make the accent color bright enough to see easily when it was rendering text, it then made the start screen too bright. What I really wanted was a darker start screen, and a lighter accent color.
With start screen backgrounds you can now do this pretty easily, just create a solid color image for whatever you want your start screen to be. I tried this and felt it didn’t have enough “character” though, so I created a few backgrounds with a bit of noise and some burnishing on the edges to make it more interesting. Here are a few I came up with, feel free to use any way you want or modify. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
Cabernet (I’m a wine fan):