UPDATED 05/14/13 9:50 AM PT: I have received word from a source that the reason these original totems were made were effectively replacements for the box imagery that Adobe will no longer be producing since... well... there are no more boxes. If you recall, CS6 had a lot of imagery surrounding faces (just look at the cover of Adobe Photoshop CS6). Moving to Adobe CC, the team wanted to try a different angle that was more expressive, abstract and fun. Apparently this was difficult to express as many were confused as to what the totems were and why they were created if they weren't going to be desktop icons. This was exacerbated by the fact that both the icons and the totems are two lettered squares.
Original Article Below:
Some of you may have been too distracted by the enormous hubbub surrounding the contentious direction Adobe is taking the Creative Cloud (loved by some, hated by others) to notice the icons/logos (also called totems) shown during Adobe MAX were a little extreme. I would go so far as to say they were ugly. When I first saw them, I was horrified. After more than a week of trying to get confirmation, I have good news: those ghastly icons won't live on your desktop. Whew.
A representative from Adobe let me know that "there will be two sets of totems." The ones that were sent out to press prior to MAX, the same ones shown at the keynote, "are an 'artistic' abstraction of the forthcoming totems, but will not be the actual desktop icons."
That's a relief. Because I can't imagine my desktop cluttered with one, let alone the five or so I usually have there, of these psychosis-inducing blocks of color madness:
I could not get official high resolution examples of the real desktop icons yet (they aren't being distributed) but I was able to grab them from the various Adobe Twitter accounts. They show minor changes from what we have all gotten used to from CS6, so crisis averted. I was seriously concerned that I was going to have to look at those fairyland totems every day for at least the next year. The below are much less eye numbing.