Microsoft recently surpassed Apple as the most valuable company in the United States, and that’s partly due to its PC sales, but also its cloud services. The company sees a bright future ahead of it, but it’s not forgetting about the apps that helped it get here over the years.
That includes the suite of Office apps that have been around for what feels like forever now. Back in 2003 Microsoft’s Word app had a very basic icon, just a “W” in a square box. Over the years Microsoft has aimed for more creative efforts, like sheets of paper being included in the design. But this year’s change, the first in five years, is a marked difference compared to previous app icons.
The “W” is still there, but now it’s a more modern design, something a bit more simple and straightforward, and which looks great across Windows, Android, iOS, and Macs. Microsoft sees the new app icons as a way to show off the changes that the company has been making behind-the-scenes (and plans on making in the future with monthly updates), including more collaborative features, artificial intelligence features, and more.
“Our design solution was to de-couple the letter and the symbol from the icons, essentially creating two panels (one for the letter and one for the symbol) that we can pair or separate,” explains Jon Friedman, partner director of design at Microsoft. “This allows us to maintain familiarity while still emphasizing simplicity when inside the app.”
The app icons are definitely different this time around, but there is still a level of familiarity here that makes them all instantly recognizable. But it’s not all about icons, either. The company is also making changes to adopt the company’s Fluent Design philosophy across the apps, and changing color schemes and the feel of Office apps across platforms. Outlook Mobile is also getting some important changes, including gesture support for accounts and folders, as well as shared mailbox support.
What do you think of the new icons? Do you still use Microsoft’s suite of Office apps?[via The Verge]