Belated Easter Eggs—Windows Design Style!

Last week I mentioned, after discussing the hidden interesting facts about the Windows Serial Number, I'll discuss another such interesting facts. It's amazing how within the complexity of a complete operating system, the Windows Developer team manages to fit in these amazing little fascinating bits. Personally, I find it really cool, it's one of the many things that makes me love the product more and more.
As a Beginner Developer and a huge love for Designing, I discovered a really amazing bunch of facts about Windows 8 a few days ago. But before I divulge this bit of info, let me ask you this, have you ever wondered how they selected the default images as a part of the Windows Systems? Remember the iconic Windows Meadows Wallpaper, part of Windows XP? It has an interesting story of its own.


The default Windows XP image showing a blissfully relaxing vista of green rolling hills and a bluer than blue sky. The wallpaper, probably one of the most viewed images of all time, is aptly named ‘Bliss.’ Do a Bing image search for just the word ‘bliss,’ and the first result is the Windows wallpaper.

Have you ever stopped to wonder where the image was taken, or who took it? In fact, the image is so crisp you might have assumed it wasn’t real at all. The man behind the camera  is American photographer Charles O’Rear. Don’t let his name fool you into thinking that the photo was in fact taken in Ireland. Bliss, as it turns out, is in California. In Sonoma County to be exact. The image was taken in 1996, before being used as the wallpaper, it was touched up in Photoshop by Greg Melander . He says, “This photo is a blast from my past. I came across this article I just so happened to be the designer who helped choose this image for XP in 2001 and contrary to what this article says, yes, I did end up making slight Photoshop modifications. I raised the saturation levels, adjusted a few flowers in the foreground, took out a few clouds in the sky and adjusted the mountain the far distance. At the time I would have never thought this image would become so prevalent around the world. I also ended up doing the silver and olive themes for XP back in the day. Later on I also did the black XP theme for media center. That was my favorite one.”

From that Blast from the Past, let's have a look at Windows 8. Have you ever given any attention to the default lock screen images as part of the Windows 8 System? Here lies the interesting tidbit. They are not just a random collection of fancy images.


The default lock-screen images that shipped in every copy of Windows 8 are actually Easter eggs carefully picked by the design team.

Jensen Harris, Director of Program Management for the Windows User Experience Team, explains, “every one of them was selected as an Easter egg to showcase one of the (design) principles. … Something no one’s going to notice, we’ve encoded the principles of our design language into Windows 8 itself.”

Clockwise from the top left…

  • Bee hive / Win as one (internal motto) – bees working together to do something greater than just the sum of the parts
  • Colored lines / Authentically digital – the idea of no ornamentation
  • Train / Fast and fluid – beautiful train zooming around the bend into the city
  • Shell / Do more with less – beauty of what you can do with basic shapes that are in nature
  • Piano / pride in craftsmanship – ivory keys of a piano that has been hand carved and polished

And now you know.


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Comments (1)

  1. R 1506 says:

    cool stuff!

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