Progression of the Iconic Background

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You probably know this image as the default Windows 7 background, to Denise Trabona it is the Windows 7 Iconic Background. She joins us to walk us through the progression from concept to finished product. See what might have been a very different looking background and get a feel for what designers consider when looking for a graphical representation of Windows 7.

Don't miss our previous chat with Denise on the other backgrounds that helped define the personality of Windows 7.


Design, Windows 7



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The Discussion

  • User profile image
    Rodney McKay

    After watching this video i feel a little bit guilty. I have changed the background image within the first 30 seconds after the install ;)Anyway, thank you for all the effort you put in to this.

  • User profile image

    I like the way that the windows logo looks like a "7" if you let the blue pane blend into the background in your mind. was that intentional?

  • User profile image

    Why is there a bird and a butterfly in the default background?


    I find it VERY annoying that there's an animal and an insect on my screen. It makes it feel cluttered and wierd...Windows XP had a great landscape but I love that there were no animals, and it didn't feel felt surreal.


    Is there any way to the same desktop without those?



    Also why do the light ribbons start again in the upper right hand corner?

  • User profile image

    Yep, within 5 mins changed to a solid background as well. Yes, the new background is cool, but the only usable background is a relatively dark solid one, e.g., 13/104/107 (RGB)




  • User profile image

    I think it's a good background for displaying it on shop computer screens. And would think that may've played a role in design (haven't watch video yet so just a guess). But it's not laidback enough to keep when actually using. I like the Architecture and some of the Landscape background shots that come with Win7, so I picked the best of those for rotation.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    It's a nice image (and I don't have issues with animals unlike Zeo), but it's too bright. Especially since the taskbar and window frames stay transparent when windows are maximized (which I still think was the wrong decision), nothing but really dark backgrounds work for me. I use a picture of Saturn taken by Cassini, which is not only beautiful but also mostly black around the edges. Smiley


    EDIT: I use this image.

  • User profile image

    I guess I don't have an issue with animals or insects....instead I wish I knew why a bird and why a butterfly.


    What does a bird or butterfly have to do with Windows? The video talks about the image being airy...but I thought this was Windows.

    Birds and Butterflys aren't supposed to fly through my Windows are they?


    It just seems like they were added with no rymth or reason. I have to stare at this logo for the next 3'll be the standard background image at most Best Buys and at many companies....


    Plus I work on my computer 12-18 hours a day so EVERY pixel counts.

  • User profile image

    I actually really like the bird and butterfly.  It complements the tree and grass, and adds this nice sense of natural beauty to background.  


    For the first time, I have actually kept the default Windows background in Win7 for several months now, with no urge to change it. Smiley

  • User profile image

    If I tell you the butterfly is for MSN, will that help? Smiley  I don't know but I'm asking for you. Wouldn't take but a second of photoshopping to remove.

  • User profile image

    As to why:

    "The butterfly doesn’t stand for MSN. I’ve been surprised but you are the only second person to ask that! Figured we’d get that question more. Wink Both butterfly and bird and really all were meant to be globally acceptable. We played with following some of our earlier thinking about objects but from a geopol standpoint it’s impossible to find things that are meaningful on culturally on-point everywhere, and in some cases downright offensive. Not even a coffee cup or a car works. So we went with nature-oriented objects which feel open, atmospheric in the case of the bird and butterfly, and are more universal and inspiring." - Denise Trabona


  • User profile image

    The MSN butterfly....maybe I believe you....but the bird?


    Next question what species is the bird... a hawk? Is the hawk in some hidden reference to Midori or Red Hawk?


    The thing with the photoshopping is that I need to learn how to photoshop it in a way that scales across like 4 different screens. [I've tried and on my nebook I can see that I messed with it].



  • User profile image

    Maybe its because birds and butterflies often fly into windows? Perplexed

  • User profile image

    I prefer the one with the fish I saw in RC. However I actually use a custom ThinkPad-themed background:


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