Microsoft Previews New Windows 10 Icon Design

Posted on February 20, 2020 by Mehedi Hassan in Windows, Windows 10 with 51 Comments

Microsoft has been working on a new icon design for all its apps and services recently. The company first introduced these new icons with Office back in 2018, and also planned to bring the same style to Windows 10 as well.

Today, Microsoft is previewing the first set of icons based on the company’s Fluent Design system. The company is releasing build 19569 to Insiders in the Fast Ring today, which comes with the new icons for a couple of the main apps.

And if you are in Release Preview, you will get access to the new Outlook Calendar and Mail icons via the Microsoft Store. “Over the coming months, Insiders will see more of the icons in Windows 10 get updated with new designs,” Microsoft said.

Microsoft says these new icons are part of a multi-year effort across the company to redesign their icons to be more familiar. “We’re dedicated to making our icons familiar, beautiful, and inclusive within the modern phenomena of cross-platform, cross-device experiences,” said Christina Koehn, design leader at Microsoft’s Windows and Devices team.

You can find out more about the new icon designs here.

Tagged with ,

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (51)

51 responses to “Microsoft Previews New Windows 10 Icon Design”

  1. cr08

    I like this. Also makes a lot more sense when you consider Microsoft's push to publishing their apps on mobile devices as well. Having those icons consistent across platforms is going to be extremely helpful.

    Cue all the naysayers complaining about 'MOAR WINDOWS CHANGES' yet they have no problem with mobile apps (not only Google, but other companies) changing app designs/icons every year or so.

    • bnyklue

      In reply to cr08:

      The problem is that Windows 10's UI already is badly unfinished and incoherent. Adding yet another design style for some (not all) icons just makes the situation even more unbearable.

      • darkgrayknight

        In reply to bnyklue:

        They are changing some icons now that haven't changed in a long time (Notepad). I believe there is a greater push to bring more coherence to the many icons in Windows. They continue to bring better functionality to the Settings app. It takes time to make everything similar.

  2. codymesh

    this is good, but is just a 10 needs a windows xp-sized icon overhaul, to ditch the vista/7 era leftovers.

  3. mike2thel73

    If we're still going to have leftover icons because of legacy program compatibility, then this will be all for naught if they don't redesign those icons as well.

  4. will

    Can we get a good dark mode next??

  5. Jay

    Can we finally get rid of the tiles now? They just look dumb now.

    • Paul Thurrott

      That's next, I bet. There are no tiles in Windows 10X, and they make even less sense in Windows 10.
  6. behindmyscreen

    How about the deep system dialogues and icons?

  7. rmac

    I think these icons are absolutely awful. If only MS had done something 'big' like leaving the flat icons as they were, then a 2nd layer of screen (Duo/Neo) to render something 3D and AR, we'd have something to talk about other than revulsion.

    Kinda fits with Steve Jobs comment: "Microsoft has absolutely no taste". W10 was looking so good, but this is a pretty bad step backwards.

    PS I see this as a poor attempt to "Androidify" W10.

  8. brettscoast

    The tiles now just look clunky and too big, more improvement needed.

  9. jimchamplin

    Oh hey they redesigned the icons! Can we get an MSStyles theme that somewhat resembles the UWP visual style? Maybe... oh maybe...

    ... Use MSStyles to put a dark theme across most Win32 apps. I guess the ability to have three different color schemes in XP is forgotten technology though.

    Up there with Roman roads and how the Egyptians built the pyramids.

    Seriously, the icons look really great. They'll go great with all of the Vista-era ones.

    The sad part of all the complaining is that they actually do look really good.

  10. jimchamplin

    Wait wait wait...

    This is completely separate from my previous post. GROOVE GETS A NEW ICON.

    They have by now totally gutted the functionality of the app. The only good UWP app that Microsoft built into Windows I might add. They ditched their service, then killed the OneDrive link because reasons.

    But apparently the Groove app is an ongoing concern. So do they hate it or not? :D

    • Paul Thurrott

      It looks like an intern spent about 10 minutes on this. I wouldn't worry about it. Groove is built-in to Windows, and of course it's icon should be updated. I mean, they're updating Notepad for some reason.
  11. wright_is

    I've had the Explorer icon for ages (UWP Explorer icon), Terminal is already there with Terminal Preview... Office 365, Skype and Chredge as well, so a lot of them are already there...

  12. glenn8878

    I didn't like the flat white icons in the modern style in big square tiles. This is a slight improvement, but I prefer the 3D icons without tiles. NO MORE TILES. No more primary colors. Personalizing the desktop is a big time waster of Windows.

  13. sabarrett

    I don't really have a problem with new icons, however when the story starts out with the idea that the new icons were rolled out in 2018... why isn't anyone asking the question "Why does it take 2 years to bring new icons to Windows?" I get that there are most likely tons of icons in Windows. Some buried where we don't expect, I'm sure. But two years? Something is fundamentally wrong if it takes that long. By the time the icons get updated, they will be out of date again because a new design language is released.

    I"m not a programmer or a windows system expert by any means, but if this takes fundamentally this long, maybe the architecture should be changed to allow icons to be standardized/grouped/compartmentalized or something so that icons can be updated in a month or something.

    • Paul Thurrott

      What's fundamentally wrong is that Microsoft's culture does not reward employees for fixing things. They are rewarded for creating new businesses, markets, product types, etc. For this reason, the best and the brightest are always moving on to the next big thing. And no one is minding the store over in Windows, yesterday's product, or trying to get the details right. This will never be fixed. Not the cultural thing. And not the inconsistencies in the Windows UI. We'll all be on Windows 10X in five years and listening to people complain that the icons for Task Manager or Control Panel or whatever are still the versions from 2006.
      • darkgrayknight

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        That is a fairly often occurrence in most companies. Fixing things (even in UI) is potential breaking things. It can be frustrating working in these environments where it seems nearly hopeless to get a decent change made.

  14. stmorr82zw5zml

    Do I want the blue P icon or the other blue P icon? PowerPoint and … pointless?

    Blue S or the other blue S? SharePoint and … Sway?

    I had assumed the blue X was Outlook, but I guess it’s Exchange as there’s a blue O?

    Form over function. ?

  15. lidek

    These are hideous and only prove that Windows "fans" are tone-deaf enough to praise anything Microsoft does.

  16. techguy33

    Still have an well-documented issue known to MS where sometimes when you remote desktop into a machine after resuming sleep the screen is black/blank. I wish they would fix stuff like that instead of continuously redesigning icons. Silly.

  17. craisin

    Anything that makes my system look like IOS or Android is bad. These Icons are not nice.

  18. red77star

    New icons are good, they just need to lose that square blue background. I suspect they will bring Windows 10x start menu to Windows 10 and it looks pretty good. I hope they redo entire UI in Windows 10 to be more useful, more consistent and I hope they remove Control Panel and other pre Windows 10 stuff.

    But if they change some icons and they call it good...that would be messed up.

    Here are the list of things which should happen to Windows 10

    1. Lose 32 bit version
    2. Less number of SKUs - 64bit release only
    3. Overhaul entire Windows 10 UI, especially Start Menu, we need new shell and File Explorer
    4. Lose Control Panel, Windows Media Player, Word Pad, pretty much all pre Windows 10 stuff
    5. Make Cortana just another optional App. She needs to be separated from Windows 10
    6. More transparency as far as Telemetry goes.
    7. Let user customize their Start Menu, optional web search
    8. Better more improved storage sense.
    9. We really need a real safe mode
    10. We really need a good media player
    11. Support for Linux file system, be able to directly to read and write from it
    12. Lose stupid WSL for Linux, you are just making Windows 10 bloated more than it needs to be. I have a dedicate machine for Linux when I want to use Linux.
    13. Overhaul Settings, it is a mess
    14. Bring back Dream scene
    15. Remove live tiles, that goes with 3 however bring back gadgets which would be live tiles on desktop we can place or remove
    16. Number 2 says less number of SKUs and what I mean by it is only one SKU which is highly customizable in other words I can pick and choose to install any Windows component from bare-bone with minimalistic UI to fully featured desktop OS.
  19. Fuller1754

    The new media icons—Groove Music and Movies & TV—use an orange/pink gradient. A nod to Zune?

    • Paul Thurrott

      If so, they're hinting that they're killing them soon, I assume.
      • Fuller1754

        In reply to paul-thurrott:
        Ya know, Groove is getting a little stale. I'm hoping they kill Groove and replace it with a whole new music app with a new name and new branding. They have to do this every couple years to keep it fresh. Groove has almost been around long enough that I think Microsoft is getting lazy. ;-)

        • Paul Thurrott

          Far more likely that they'll just keep Groove. There's no reason to make a new music app for Windows 10 today.
  20. jgraebner

    I don't really have a problem with the re-design, but I find it amusing that they think they are making the icons "more familiar" by replacing ones that Windows users have been looking at for years and can easily recognize at a glance.

  21. bnyklue

    This will just turn Windows 10 into even more of an ugly, disjointed mess. These icons match absolutely nothing in the OS and look horrible with the start menu tiles.

  22. Dan1986ist

    So, if these icon updates are being done through the Microsoft store, couldn't 1909 and earlier get these new icons as well?

    • thejoefin

      In reply to Dan1986ist:

      There is an insider ring which is "App updates and fixes" which gets previews of the built-in apps. I'd guess these icons will eventually rollout just like every other feature on Windows

  23. thismarty

    These new icons are so cool, but is lowly little Task Manager still going to be wearing its old XP-era icon?

  24. dell5050

    What pc/tablet/monitor is that in the first photo?

  25. jdawgnoonan

    I wish that they were rolling updated designs to the apps as well as to the Icons.

  26. yamcha67

    Finally! I love the new icons. They are beautiful. It's still very early, so I'm sure we'll see system-wide changes as time goes on. I know Windows 10 has had a problem with inconsistencies, but the icons are now following the same design language, and I'm sure when Microsoft releases the 300 or so icons, everything will fall into place. 

    They still need to work on the app layouts, but we've already seen glimpses of Calender and Mail preview which do appear to provide users with a consistent experience, rather than a disjointed one. It's a matter of patience now, but I think this is the right step forward. I'm going to miss the tiles, and I'm not sure if they've completely disappeared. I think live tiles with fluent design can work, but I'm not sure if Microsoft has implemented it yet. I'm not on fast ring insiders, so I haven't tested it. It's tempting to do the update, but I think I might wait.

  27. karlinhigh

    Looks OK for the most part. I think it's good if visual navigation items don't change frequently. Or if they do, at least remain recognizable compared with prior versions. I've developed that belief by doing phone support for people who don't know what version of Windows they have, or what web browser they're using. Sometimes I'm reduced to having them read off the text from all the icons on the desktop, or doing Windows + R commands, because I have no idea what graphical interface items to tell them to look for.

  28. nicola

    Well, I don’t like them one bit. Whatever one thinks about the windows phone debacle, metro design language was light years ahead of these mediocre icons... too bad things did not work out. I do understand that Microsoft is now keen to distance itself from the awful years of win8/phone, but still this is a huge step backwards in terms of elegance and design in my opinion

  29. remc86007

    Why when the icons appear in the app list are they on a color tile? It's pretty ugly compared to the floating icons everywhere else.

    • BigM72

      In reply to remc86007:

      Agree, I think the tiles will get fully deprecated. They just haven't done that work on the Windows 10 start menu yet.

      Or if you pick a more neutral accent colour like dark grey, the problem also goes away.

  30. genecrispr

    Isn't this like stone tablets now? I mean, 10X is redelivering the shell? These new deck-chairs look nice though I guess.

  31. bluvg

    Just kidding, we love gradients.

  32. t-b.c

    Change, don't change, I don't see the icons as one of Windows biggest problems. That said, it does look as if they were designed for fast rendering. There is only two icons I see that has a graduated fill, maybe three. This is fine, If it helps speed up every day actions, I'm okay with it. BTW, anyone know what the Office E is for? It's not Excel.

  33. Fuller1754

    These look very nice, no doubt about it. I don't understand the complaints. But here's the thing. They'll need to redo icons for all the little utilities everywhere in Windows, like Disk Defragmenter, Character Map, Disk Management, System Information ... you get the idea. They all need to be in this style.