The way people use their devices is changing, and Microsoft is embracing that with a new look for its cadre of Windows apps.
Microsoft is in the midst of years-long redesign of its signature tools, and the icons that reflect them, to match an era where most people use multiple devices everyday and aren’t locked in to a single operating system. Microsoft unveiled the new set of app icons this week to help the products stand out within ecosystems outside of Windows.
“Our experience ecosystems are incredibly intricate and have started to spill out of Windows into third-party platforms like Android, iOS, and Mac,” Christina Koehn, a design leader for Microsoft’s Windows and Devices division, wrote in a Medium post. “We’re dedicated to making our icons familiar, beautiful, and inclusive within the modern phenomena of cross-platform, cross-device experiences.”
Under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has emphasized optimizing its signature apps and tools for Android and iOS. Recent examples include the new Office mobile app and the extension of Xbox Live to smartphones.
In late 2018, Microsoft updated the icons of its signature Office apps: Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It blended familiar logos with a 3D look and made the letters larger to emphasize the content made on those programs.
Microsoft carried these principles through to the new Windows icons. Smoothed edges, colorful icons and 3D depth are common features within this redesign.
The new icons will make their way onto devices via updates through the Microsoft Store. The first new icons, for Mail and Calendar, debuted yesterday for Windows Insiders.