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Microsoft’s Office Icons Get a Refresh

If you’ve been cruising through Excel spreadsheets or powering through a presentation, you may have noticed a change in your old favorites. That’s right; Microsoft’s Office icons have gotten a reboot. These quick start menu staples haven’t had a face lift since 2013.

If you think about it, that was back when Lolcats were still in their glory day and information technology systems were just beginning to make an impact on the corporate sector. With all of these innovations, a design upgrade sure seems to be in order.

But why this design and why now? Microsoft’s Jon Friedman explores the company’s vision for the future in his take on the newly re-branded app icons.

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The Look

Let’s face it; the old Microsoft icons were straight out of the days of dial-up internet. While they may have been nostalgic, two-bit icons hardly inspire the sense of forward looking innovation modern businesses strive for. Newer, sleeker designs are void of the hard edges and enclosed squares users have gotten used to seeing. Limitless possibilities invite users to create. SharePoint, Excel, Skype, Word, PowerPoint, and more are now bolder than ever.

Harsh primary colors have been replaced with lighter hues and simplistic symbols revamp the original letters and icons associated with each program. We admit, we’re a little sad to see the old ones go, but this new design is a win in our book!

The Vision

Microsoft’s Head of Design has big plans for the future of your innovations. Friedman explains why the symbol to letter ratio has swung more in favor of the symbol. “We’ve changed this ratio to now emphasize the symbol because while the letter represents the tool itself, the symbol speaks more to people’s creations.” This vision is at the heart of Microsoft’s evolving focus. 

There are plenty of finer details to take in. Individual cells in the Excel icon and lines in Word represent the collaborative energy these tools embody. The visual boundary of traditional tool formatting has been removed as well, embracing efficiency and streamlined success.

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