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A History of InDesign Splash Screens


In our recent redesign of InDesign Magazine, we did something radical: we dropped the butterfly from the logo.

OldVSnew IDMagLogos

But I bet many (perhaps most!) InDesign users today don’t even know why we had a butterfly in there at all… or why until recently our product reviews rated with a “numbers of butterflies” rather than “number of stars.” The reason is that the symbol of InDesign was a butterfly, from version 1.0 in 1999 until the release of version CS3 in 2007.

Back in 2009, Bob Levine wrote up a short history of InDesign naming here. Then Keith Gilbert provided a good history of InDesign releases here. And don’t forget James Wamser’s comprehensive list of versions and what features they brought us here.

Here, then, is a little roundup of InDesign splash screens — those graphics that pop up when you first launch the program. I wasn’t prescient enough to capture most of these myself, so friends supplied some, and others I cribbed from various sites around the internet (often sites that were providing pirated versions of the product, sadly).

Splash 1 0

Splash 1 5

Splash 2 0 J

Splash 2 0

Splash 3 cs

Splash 4 cs2

In version CS3, Adobe dropped the butterfly identity, but they snuck in a secret easter egg “catch the butterfly” game.

Splash 5 cs3

Splash 6 cs4

Splash 7 cs5

Splash 8 cs6

This next image is a bit naughty… After CS6, Adobe was still trying to decide what the call the next version. Early in the beta cycle, everyone assumed it would be called CS7, including the InDesign team… so that’s what they listed in their “About” screen (below).

Splash 9 cs7

Later, of course, Adobe decided on the “Creative Cloud” (CC) naming, and a whole new era of splash screens and naming was born. Here’s version CC (a.k.a., CC 2013, or InDesign version 9):

Splash 9 cc2013

The splash screens also started getting much more interesting, with artwork from designers all over the world!

CC 2014 (version 10):

CC 2015 (version 11):

CC 2017 (version 12):

CC 2018 (version 13):

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, CreativePro Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at LinkedIn Learning ( are among the most watched InDesign training in the world.
You can find more about David at

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  • xordinary says:

    The crazy thing is, that I know ALL of them by personal experience (except the CS7 version)! I’m really getting old … :-)

  • Gert Verrept says:

    Well, I WORKED with all of these versions! This means that I’M OLD :-)

  • That CS7 is a good one! Now if only Adobe would be more creative with their application icons of InDesign…

  • Jamie McKee says:

    I remember working with all of these too…and that when I fired up the CS6 beta, I thought there was something wrong with my graphics card because of the splash screen.

  • Yep, a trip down memory lane. Raises my old opinion though, that we shouldn’t have splash screens in the first place! Just load the damn app, and if necessary, load components or functions behind-the-scenes. We should at least get access to the File > Open dialog and get things moving.

    • Mike Rankin says:

      I agree. I’d rather see a tip or something useful. Or just nothing, so at least I know Adobe isn’t putting any resources into things that have little/no value while there are plenty of important things to fix/improve/add to InDesign. The CS7 one is the best ;)

  • JB Grunberg says:

    Frankly, I find the most recent versions of splashscreens (including Photoshop) — at least I now know what they are called! totally uninspiring. I’d rather see nothing than these banal images. I prefer #3 & #7 or almost any of the past ones, the simpler & most minimal the better. Seems that each upgrade treats us as if we’re young students in constant need of education on every detail.

    (I.e. those silly pop-up graphics when you make a tool selection.) Sometimes I long for the good old days of Pagemaker. ANYONE REMEMBER PAGEMAKER?

  • Alexey says:

    I started with InDesign K2 version in 1999 :)

  • Gert Verrept says:

    PageMaker :-). I started with version 3 and a “runtime”version of windows on a pc.

  • David Whitmyre says:

    I, too, have seen them all. Actually, I think I started using ID at 1.5. Before that, it was Framemaker, Pagemaker and Ventura Publisher. All of them from ver. 1.0. Yes, I am old! I prefer to say Old Enough!

  • Beautiful!!! I‘ve been working with InDesign since 1.0. Brings back great memories … thank you

  • M’n says:

    the easter egg butterfly also disappeared from the about indesign menu sad

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