Microsoft has announced a new set of icons for the Microsoft Office productivity suite as the company is becoming increasingly focused on Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the other apps on more than just Windows and Mac.
Microsoft Office has evolved substantially lately, and the Redmond-based software giant wants this icon redesign to signal how modern the software has become, according to Jon Friedman, partner director of design at Microsoft.
While the letter of each app is no longer the main symbol for the new icons, the modern design is still familiar enough for long-time Microsoft Office users. These icons will be used on all supported platforms, including Android and iOS.
“Our design solution was to decouple the letter and the symbol in 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 inside the app,” Friedman explains.
“Separating these into two panels also adds depth, which sparks opportunities in 3D contexts. Through this flexible system, we keep tradition alive while gently pushing the envelope.”
Part of a major Office overhaul
The last icon redesign for Microsoft Office was announced in 2013, and now Microsoft says it rolled out this facelift to emphasize how the productivity suite is changing in order to adapt to a modern working environment.
“We all know modern life is faster and more connected: we’re living in it. Office supports this by making it fast and easy to express ideas, collaborate with others, and stay focused and in the flow. It’s why Office apps compose together, enabling users to open PowerPoint or Excel beside conversations in Teams or Outlook,” Friedman continues.
Of course, the new Office isn’t just about icons, as Microsoft is also working on a series of updates that are gradually released to its subscription-based Office 365 suite.
For example, Microsoft Office is being updated with Fluent Design, a modern design language that’s also being implemented in Windows 10 and which relies on visual effects like acrylic and reveal. Additionally, Microsoft is trying to make document editing faster and more straightforward with a simplified ribbon, already available to users on desktop and the web.