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Microsoft Office icons redesign could be start of a design era

Microsoft is embarking on a new Fluent design language and Office icon refresh will be first stage.

  • Published: November 30, 2018 4:51 PM IST
microsoft office icons redesign lead

As workplaces around the world turn modern, Microsoft is changing its platforms to reflect that message as well. The Redmond-based tech giant has announced redesign for Office icons as part of a broader focus on design changes coming to various Office apps. The icons of Office applications have been redesigned for the first time in five years.

Microsoft says these icons have been redesigned to be more simple and look modern across devices and platforms. Microsoft Office, which was available only on Windows and Mac initially is now also available on mobile platforms such as Android and iOS as well. These redesigned icons are supposed to reflect how Office has changed in the recent years with emphasis on new AI features and support for collaborative interface.

With the new design, Microsoft is making the most important change where the Office apps are no longer represented by a letter. Despite that, these new icons look familiar and are easy to identify. This is a significant moment from Microsoft which now sells Windows and Office together as part of Microsoft 365 and is pushing more businesses to adopt its applications and cloud services.

“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. This allows us to maintain familiarity while still emphasizing simplicity when inside the app,” Jon Friedman, Head of Office design at Microsoft, explains in a Medium post.

The document outlines in older icons depicting lines of text in Word and individual cells in Excel has been dropped in favor of a much simpler design. The OneDrive and Skype icons have a unique appearance and are instantly recognizable. The design change can be seen as a first major step for Microsoft to bring the Fluent Design Language beyond Windows 10.

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The Outlook Mobile app is also said to getting a major design overhaul soon and gain support for shared mailbox and new gestures. The icons and typography on Windows is also being redesigned and is currently being tested in Windows Insider programs.

  • Published Date: November 30, 2018 4:51 PM IST