Users of the Windows operating system by Microsoft woke up to some great news from the software developer. Over the years, the operating system has evolved from earlier versions like the Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and now Windows 10, but these evolution or upgrade do not necessarily take into consideration the style and feel of the default icons of the operating system.
Microsoft announced on Thursday (20th February, 2020) that they have started rolling out new colorful app icons in Windows 10 that overhaul the look and feel of the operating system. Changes to many of the built-in Windows 10 app icons have started rolling out, but more are coming in the months ahead. It’s part of what the company describes as a “multi-year effort across Microsoft’s design teams to redesign our icons.” Windows has always suffered from a variety of different icons that are sometimes decades old, and Microsoft originally embarked on an effort to try to simplify some of these in Windows 10 when it first debuted nearly five years ago.
Microsoft picked monochrome icons that were simplified but were designed for colorful Live Tiles that never really caught on with app developers and Windows 10 users. “Flat, monochrome icons look great in context of colorful tiles, but as more icon styles enter the ecosystem, this approach needs to evolve,” reveals Christina Koehn, a design leader for Windows and Devices at Microsoft. “When icons in the taskbar and Start menu are different styles, it creates more cognitive load to scan and find applications. We needed to incorporate more visual cues into the icon design language using our modernized Fluent Design Language.” Microsoft has now evolved its icons to better reflect its cross-platform approach, while sticking to the familiarity of what Windows users are used to.
“Redesigning these icons signals our commitment to the evolution of the Windows OS, honoring its legacy while redefining the archetype in which it lives.” Microsoft has clearly taken its time to get these new icons right, and they’re part of a much broader effort to leverage the company’s Fluent Design system across multiple apps and services. Designers are now working closely together to create hardware and software that has a common design system across all of Microsoft’s products.