Microsoft’s new Office icons (theverge.com)
over 4 years ago from Clay MacTavish, web developer
over 4 years ago from Clay MacTavish, web developer
What's our obsession with making the digital process feel so involved? These icons look great - but why do they show 3D foam and a 3D exactoknife like we're supposed to believe these icons started with real materials. We're all about the show and it's getting silly.
Why do you put designs in a mockup when presenting it? Because it helps sell it better and makes it look professional.
It also sells the wrong idea. WE DON'T DESIGN TO MAKE SHIT LOOK PRETTY.
It starts with us, as designers, making a HUGE change to how we get feedback.
"WOW THIS DESIGN LOOKS AWESOME! I LOVE IT!"
should be met with:
"Glad you like it, but ultimately, I don't care. What's important is that it should meet the objectives. Let's have a look and see if people can find their way around here."
Unfortunately, we don't do that, in 99.9% of cases. And we really should.
pardon the French.
.edit: btw, I don't disagree with you. I just think there's other things we need to look at and think of, to get to a point that we can talk about design seriously again, and these comments touched upon that subject so I felt obliged to comment!
.edit2: Of course I get downvoted :] Guys, if you want to be part of the community, at least voice why you down-vote. You see me clearly putting thought and effort into putting some words here. Maybe you can do the same, even if you disagree. Right now, I'm learning nothing. I want your brains to contribute. Thanks.
The two aren't mutually exclusive. I absolutely design shit to look pretty, but I also make sure it functions well. I think the case of icons, looking pretty is a huge part of the design objective - that and being instantly recognisable.
I do agree with you about the downvotes though. They're not good for a healthy discussion at all.
Let me phrase this differently:
Pretty implies taste (all about looks)
"Pretty" is in the eye of the beholder, and a terrible measuring stick. Especially when the stakeholder is not the same as the target audience (90+% of the time the case)
So I guess my point is - let's ditch the subjective words. Let's make this about WHY things look a certain way. Not about "how we feel", but about "how we think".
And before someone goes there: if the goal is to make an audience feel [x], then the question becomes: why do we think this make the audience feel [x]. So when someone says "this doesn't make me feel [x]", we can argue that it makes the target audience feel that because of reasons y/z. It's always back to what we know.
.edit: we've got ALL these rules on what's aesthetically pleasing. Golden rule, rule of threes, reasons why certain colours resonate with certain emotions or audiences, research into what fonts read best, what fonts read worst, and why sometimes a worse reading experience makes people retain information better... THAT is what we should be using to discuss and argue. Not "yeah, well, that's just like, your opinion, man."
because it's fun
Looks like they did build out physical versions of the icons though (much like what google did with Material):
I think that's a 3D render… it's more obvious in the other pictures that they're not real photos
I know what you mean but I don't think we're supposed to believe they were created from real materials. I'm not sure what the metaphor is one the other hand.
Designers have always desired to work with their hands which allows for a more intimate understanding of the content and requires greater attention to detail. Humans innately desire tangible experiences so even when it isn't part of the design process it tells a stronger story that users can relate more strongly with.
From Google's Material design guidelines
Material Design is inspired by the physical world and its textures, including how they reflect light and cast shadows. Material surfaces reimagine the mediums of paper and ink.
I can tell you I've created paper prototypes with flaps showing changes, etc. it helps when working with stakeholders to have something they can touch. It's not all about the show, but about presenting to the powers that be.
Though I will say...looking at the photos...well it looks CG, or like Photoshop.
I suggest you read more about about their Fluent Design System, this will make more sense.
Their aim is to create a cohesive design language that cuts across traditional desktop, mobile applications and mixed reality
This is some Eli Schiff stuff but it's pretty obvious that digital designers have spent so long dismissing visual design in their work as important that the moment they actually have to do some visual design they have to go to these weird lengths to justify that they didn't just make some aesthetic choice on a whim.
That said I do think the design teams at Microsoft are doing outstanding work these days.
You should expand that into 10,000 words, split that into 3 e books and sell it.
Personally I found the video quite enjoyable.
A product launch video specifically for changing the icons. A little ridiculous that time was spent on this.
It's so sad to see your comment getting downvoted, but I am with you on this.
Nice designs but wow that video is over the top and doesn’t really explain any of the design choices or reasons for them.
It may as well have just stated: “we have new icons for our apps, now here is some cool visuals”.
Stop being jealous Norm ;) I like that they are selling their design team. They are putting out some great work, and deserve a little promo video. No one complains when Apple does their ridiculous videos. (ok, sometimes people do...but still.) Let's not let Microsoft's Design team show off a little.
Haha, this is nothing against the design work or team, like I said the designs are very nice. More against the substance of the actual promotional video. It would have been a better video (IMO) if we got a little more detail on the choices rather than just the broad strokes. I would also argue that, Apple do this in their promo videos, they explain the process behind and reasons for design choices like materials used etc.
Anyway, good design work, but the video could have done a better job of highlighting why these are better.
Yeah. I agree. But I think it's more for the everyday person, and less for us.
I like that they are selling their design team. They are putting out some great work, and deserve a little promo video.
Selling them in all the wrong ways? Lotta style, no substance. If that's what your design team is, it's doing a great job ;)
I get that this is meant for the average Jane/Joe, but c'mon, even they can handle a bit more detail than this :]
This is soooo good in so many different ways. Big thumbs up for Microsoft, they are slowly but steadily changing the overall look and feel of the company. Five years ago, you wouldn’t expect something like this from Microsoft
I don't know why you wouldn't have expected something like this from Microsoft. They led the way on a lot of design trends that were later implemented by Apple and Google.
And that’s a good thing. Can you name a few?
Sure at a time when itunes looked like a file folder the zune app was using big images and typography to enhance discoverability. The zune desktop client from 2010 or so still looks better than current itunes(not a high bar, I know)
The Metro design language signaled a shift toward flat design well before iOS and Android.
iOS7's flat UI took quite a few design cues from Windows Phone
Ah, Zune UI <3
Love it! But I can't help but wondering why a Pie Chart for the PowerPoint icon •_•
What do you mean? The number one use case for Powerpoint is to show off pie charts
I give you that
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