After reworking its Office icons earlier this year, Microsoft is overhauling the Windows logo and over 100 icons across the operating system.
The push to redesign icons is part of a larger movement to modernize Microsoft’s software offerings and bring them under its Fluent Design framework. In a blog post, the company’s corporate vice president of design and research, Jon Friedman, explained the new icons.
“With the newest wave of icon redesigns, we faced two major creative challenges. We needed to signal innovation and change while maintaining familiarity for customers. We also had to develop a flexible and open design system to span a range of contexts while still being true to Microsoft,” Friedman wrote.
So, instead of several major overhauls, many of the new icons consist of subtle tweaks. Across the board, icons look more consistent — a major advancement for Windows, which has had conflicting icon styles for a while now. If you dig far enough into the OS, you’re bound to find old legacy icons dating back decades.
The company teased several of its new icons in Friedman’s blog post, but not all of them. However, the icons shown look excellent and fall in line with the Office icons launched earlier this year, as well as the new Edge icon.
Friedman also wrote that the company learned things like depth, gradations, vibrant colours and motion resonated with people, while flat designs and muted colours didn’t. Many of the new icons display the features that resonated with people.
The Verge pointed out that Windows 10X, a version of Windows designed for dual-screen devices and destined for the Surface Neo, seems to be part of the solution. When Microsoft unveiled Windows 10X earlier this year, it included a slightly tweaked version of the current Windows logo sporting a slightly different shade of blue in each of its four quadrants.
Friedman acknowledged that there was still lots of work to be done, but wrote that “nothing worth accomplishing is ever easy.”