Earlier this week, the design lead from Microsoft’s Office team talked about the upcoming icon changes in both Office and Windows. Now we’re seeing how the teams at Microsoft are working together to bring Fluent Design to more products.
In an interview with The Verge, Office Design Lead John Friedman detailed how the Windows, Office, and even Surface teams are working together, calling the upcoming collaborative efforts a “cross company effort.” He said that the design leads from Windows, Office, and Surface “operate like an internal open source team,” which is an interesting way to think of things. They’re internally sharing all assets now (which I guess is something they didn’t do before?) for a more unified approach to bringing Fluent Desing to other Microsoft products.
You’d be forgiven for not being completely familiar with Fluent Design, which Microsoft introduced last year. This is the company’s new approach to design and one that they’re being careful to release slowly. In comparison to Metro UI, which was pushed out quickly in an effort to unify Windows and Windows Phone (as well as make Window more touch-friendly), Fluent Design is more about a slow roll to get things right the first time.
While the interview itself isn’t all that telling, one big detail wasn’t made clear at all: how Fluent Design applies to Surface. Friedman noted that the Windows, Office, and Surface design leads are working together on this—but Surface is hardware, where Office and Windows are software. It’s possible that they’re working together to make sure the hardware and software look good together, especially for the company’s branded products (you know, like Surface).
Either way, it’s clear that Microsoft is taking design more seriously now than ever because now, that is what sells devices.