Microsoft has started rolling out new icons for Windows 10 from among the 100 new designs it revealed in December.
Microsoft says Windows 10 users in the Windows Insider Release Preview ring – the most stable of its previews – should start seeing the new Mail and Calendar icons today.
Insiders in the Fast ring should also see new icons in the latest preview build released on Thursday. These include built-in apps like Alarms & Clock, Calculator, Mail, and Calendar. Some of the apps will be updated via updates from the Microsoft Store.
Besides bug fixes, the new icons are the major new component of preview Build 19569.1000.
SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)
In a Medium post, Christina Koehn, Microsoft’s principal design manager and creative director, reflects on how the 35-year evolution of personal computers has changed the demands on icon designs.
Some people don’t really care about design, but Koehn argues that simplicity in designs for complex systems does actually help people use computers to multitask, organize, and communicate.
Koehn says simple designs lower the overhead on the brain when using a PC to complete these tasks. That’s why Microsoft created its modern Fluent Design Language to redesign core Windows 10 apps over the past few years.
“Flat, monochrome icons look great in context of colorful tiles, but as more icon styles enter the ecosystem, this approach needs to evolve. When icons in the taskbar and Start menu are different styles, it creates more cognitive load to scan and find applications,” she explains.
She goes on to highlight that Microsoft’s “experience ecosystems” have started to spill out of Windows into Android, iOS, and Mac. Indeed, Microsoft has 78 Android apps on the Google Play Store today.
Given that people these days use multiple platforms – including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who, with great regret, uses a Samsung Galaxy Android phone and not a Windows Phone – Microsoft wants to make sure that an icon that’s familiar on Windows 10 is the same on Android, iOS and macOS.