One of our most popular blog posts to date is, “How to Create a Custom Theme in Google Classroom,” and it’s no secret why, especially now with all of the virtual learning happening. Teachers work tirelessly to create engaging and unique content online for their students. And Google Classroom is the hub and jump-off point that students visit over and over, so this space should be engaging and unique. And what better way to do this than creating a custom theme? It’s so quick and easy, yet impactful. Please be sure to visit our original post to learn how to create a custom theme if you’re not sure how. And please note, when I say “theme,” I’m referring to the banner at the top of the Stream.
To follow up on our ever popular post comes the prevalent question: Why does Google dim my custom banner? It can be infuriating to spend so much time creating something just the way you want it, only to upload it to Google Classroom and have it darkened. I really wish this was a post to tell you how to permanently lighten your dimmed banner, but unfortunately, it’s not. At this moment, there is no way to get around the dreaded dimmed banner.
Since teachers are constantly coming to us asking about this, we thought it’d be helpful to discuss a few things:
- Why Google dims custom themes (banners)
- How to request Google to change this feature
- BONUS – link to an updated custom theme/banner template (Google changed the size since our original post)
WHY THE DIM:
Let’s take a minute to understand why Google dims the banner for us. Google dims custom banners to increase readability. If you have a banner that’s super light, or even white, in certain areas, you may unknowingly hide information that’s super important for you and your students. Please see the images below for reference:
Google’s dimming of the custom image provides readability for the important class information located in the upper, left corner and the edit options in the lower, right corner of the banner.
When I manually remove Google’s readability features (this is just a temporary fix), then the important class information becomes completely hidden:
White is in. We love our clean designs these days – myself included. Maybe Google feels as if many of us would unintentionally hide these important links? I’m not exactly sure if that’s the reason, but it’s definitely an educated guess! This hypothesis leads me perfectly into part 2…
HOW TO REQUEST A CHANGE:
Shouldn’t we be trusted to make our own design decisions? I believe teachers can handle the responsibility of custom design in Google Classroom and that Google should give teachers the responsibility to remove the dimming feature, if they choose. This would require a change, but luckily, Google is always changing. And they make changes based on user feedback – it’s one of my favorite things about Google. They truly want your input, and they listen to it. It’s how they’ve become so awesome and just keep getting better.
Here’s how you can provide Google Classroom feedback (i.e. Beg that they make the dimmed banner optional!). These steps are copied from Google’s Support Page (visit to learn more about optional features such as submitting screenshots with feedback):
- Go to classroom.google.com.
- Click the class.
- At the bottom left, click Help Report issue or request feature.
- Enter your comment.
- Click Done.
- Click Send.
It’s worth taking the few minutes it takes to send this feedback – the more of us that ask for the change, the more likely we will see it!
But for now, at least we have the option to upload a custom theme into Google Classroom at all. I guess we have to be thankful for what we do have.
We have one more treat for you to make your custom theme journey just a bit easier.
UPDATED GOOGLE CLASSROOM CUSTOM TEMPLATE
As stated many times in this post already, Google loves change, and while this is a positive trait, it also keeps us users on our toes. Since we last posted about creating a custom theme in Classroom, they have changed the size of the Classroom banner. I have created an updated, Google Drawing template that has the correct dimensions as of February, 2021. Click here to access this template. Be sure to make a copy of this template versus requesting edit access. Making a copy allows you to make your very own Drawing while preserving the original template for others to copy as well.
So there you have it, folks. I know it’s not the answer you were looking for – I wish I had a better one. But if we all take action, I bet we will see a change soon. What do you do to help you deal with the dim? Please comment below!