I never have any icons on my desktop, and I change the backgrounds on varied frequencies, when I feel like it. Never do they have any text on them and very rarely are they photographs. Most of the time it is something surreal, fantastic and/or dark. It has to fit the desktop nicely, at least the width, and I have to enjoy staring at my desktop.
It all depends on how I am currently feeling or what I am thinking about when I'm choosing a desktop, then later I can use it as a tool to get back into that mood.
But a few weeks ago, I got all organised and now it looks like this:
The pic is Nick Cave. I used to have this really cool digital artwork of an exploding planet/sun as my desktop background but lost it in a particularly bad screwup when I played with the settings once. I've never been able to find it again (only ever saved it as wallpaper, not in a folder) so I went with Nick Cave instead.
My work desktop has a great timelapse photo of a rockpool at sunset. It's half-covered with icons. I can never be bothered to clean it up as I usually just save stuff there temporarily before either emailing the file to someone or saving on the shared drive.
evil picasa won't let me link full size image (1600x1200)
my 'shellreplacement' is the almighty powerpro tool. I have configured it to create the top-left bar, which shows time and date and countdown timer and two virtual desktops (blue) and volume bar (orange) and taskbar. powerpro is also the command line in the middle of the screen (I toggle it's visibility literally with my little finger, right hand, 'tab shift'). the system-tray is created by litestep. obviously there are no desktop icons. that's because my desk has no top, and so all the icons fall down to hell. my firefox is not 'themed', it's tweaked with my own CSS via stylish extension. the Aries image is the default background for empty tabs. the vertical tab bar is created by the 'tab kit' addon.
here is the wallpaper (PunchBowlFallsEagleCreekWildernessA)
Interesting computers. So here you can see a few of the apps I use currently (uh oh, you weren't supposed to see that). I like to use some of the basic mac apps. I've gotten a lot of software over the years, but I don't use a lot of them all that much. A shame actually. As you can see I also run windows XP for various use. I do not run vista and probably never will. I have some of apps and games on there as well.
The image is of where I have decided to build my kingdom. Decent water supply to the east and naval capabilities hither. It is hidden on the other edge of the mountainside, and the north road heads into the valley of where neighboring Malice, one of my allegiances, makes similar accommodations.