Teenage Skeuomorphic Desktop Designs

An archive of my high school desktop designs, circa 2009

It was 2009 and we were in the heydey of and bespoke wallpapers made in bootlegged versions of Photoshop. MacOS has just been released, featuring a glossy 3D dock stacked with richly detailed icons.

Meticulously detailed icons became the thing. were at the peak of their game making bespoke . Designers like , , and were part of the team who created the official , as well as plenty of pop-culture icon sets like the and series.

I followed this work obsessively. Every few weeks I would “redesign” my Macbook desktop with a newly found wallpaper, icon set, and layout. And then for posterity, screenshot it. This eventually led to creating my own wallpapers and icons, and heavily influenced my hyper-detailed later on.

I recently found that screenshot archive, and it is a treat! Teenage me left a series of scene-setting details in each shot – music tracks currently playing in iTunes, a CD being burned, a PDF with plane tickets, college course catalogues, a code editor featuring HTML tables (ugh), TV shows I was in the middle of binge-watching, CVs and applications for some New York Times internship I failed to land

It's the millennial equivalent of a physical scrapbook – but with digital detritus rather than ticket stubs, handwritten notes, and polaroids. Looking through these, I feel overwhelming nostalgia. But also loss. I took so few. I captured so little of my digital environment. The design aesthetics of this time are mostly gone, save for a few snapshots on .

I'm still thankful for these scraps.

You can still download many of the gorgeous wallpapers and icons shown here. My favourites are from , , and the Icon Factory . I'm sure Pinterest is also full of assets for this kind of interior decoration.

Want to share?

Mentions around the web

Eco Web Hosting
Remember how great skeumorphic design was back in 2009? @Mappletons does, and shows off her desktops.
a bit of design nostalgia from @Mappletons
Luis Manuel
Imágenes nostálgicas de Mac. He tenido más de uno de esos wallpapers instalados 😝
Was only ever a fan of Skeuomorphic when it was done right. Some of these desktops qualify (circa 2009)