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.