Even your folder icons can be used as a Rorschach test

Raymond Chen

Jenny Lam (now at Jackson Fish Market) forwarded me this picture of a USB thumb drive. She also reminded me of another one of those Windows as Rorschach test incidents that surrounded the Windows Vista folder icons. It was reported during one of the betas that the 16×16 folder icon looked like someone flipping the bird. Sure, this interpretation required some creativity, and it perhaps reflects more on the person making the observation than on the folder icon itself, but the report still had to be taken seriously, because one thing you don’t want is a newspaper headline saying that your product uses crudely offensive imagery. And yes, we went back and changed the icon to avoid the problem. Now, if you take that Folderix flash drive and tilt your head to the right about 60°, you can turn it into somebody giving you the finger with their right hand: The folder tab is the thumb, the folder body is the back of the hand, and the USB connector is the extended middle finger.

Who knows, maybe that was intentional after all.


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