Long-time Microsoft watchers like me are marveling at the company’s transformation. Slowly but surely, the siloed behemoth that once couldn’t get its desktop and mobile operating system teams to talk to each other is now starting to glide forward as one vast entity. The most visible refection of this sea change: design.
It’s no secret that, across Microsoft’s products, especially in software, there is now a single design language defined by reductionism, typography and unadorned shapes and colors. The look is called Metro, but if you think it only explains the look and feel of Windows 8, Windows Phone, Zune Marketplace and Xbox Live, you’d be wrong. As Microsoft designers explained during a recent and rather intimate panel discussion in Soho, Metro is a design philosophy with five core tenants that they say help drive product design and delivery throughout the Redmond, Washington company.