We’ve created a system that is version agnostic, to support many more things to come from Windows.
Windows Case Study
Well over a billion people around the world are currently running Windows. Software is written for it, products are developed with it, and businesses are built upon it. Many even exist because of it. For over 25 years, Windows has been responsible for the proliferation of not just PCs, but the power of technology in everyday life, all over the planet. Change at this scale is massive. Radical change is both a risk and a responsibility. Windows has always been built on a very liberal (“open”) idea about how technology should be in the world. The new Windows is Microsoft’s best manifestation of that belief.
Over the years, Windows has become almost synonymous with Microsoft itself. It’s Microsoft’s biggest business… But it’s hardly the only one. It’s the distribution system and central gathering place for a whole Microsoft ecosystem. Thus, Windows was the obvious place to start what is becoming a total reimagining of that ecosystem, every one of their product and service experiences, and a reassertion of Microsoft’s pioneering spirit, uniqueness and undeniable tech leadership.
Building a “Brand OS”
Windows 8 for PC and Windows Phone represent the boldest, most opinionated change to the ubiquitous operating system in its history. Its modern aesthetic, fierce reduction of elements, absence of “chrome” or artificial embellishments, and emphasis on digital authenticity all serve up a stunning, and to some extent, surprising new perspective from Microsoft; confident and clear of purpose, and completely engineered around what matters most to consumers.
Our goal was to do for the brand what is being done with the product, so we took an engineering approach. We embraced the philosophy behind the product and the principles with which it was being built. Together, we developed the back-end in parallel with the front-end, thinking as hard about how the brand would be deployed as how it would be designed.
We focused on three genes in Windows’ DNA: Windows has always been about choice and diversity; Windows has enormous and enviable reach around the world; and Windows at its core is a humanist idea. It's here to empower people and all the amazing things we want and need to do. Each of these attributes come to life in various ways within the new brand system, with reasons for being and clear functions for every part to play.
Building a brand like this requires great orchestration between many participants, pieces and parts. It's an ongoing collaborative and concerted effort. Our role above all was to curate all of the components and contributions into one clear, creative brand experience for consumers.
The result is a confident and cohesive system built around usability. After all, Windows is all about what you do with it.
With Windows, Microsoft has successfully brought together engineering and marketing, fully integrating both product and brand. Not unlike the Windows product itself, we’ve built an identifiable, yet flexible, brand platform that can be used by all parts of the business. One that can easily be adopted and adapted worldwide. One that can be built upon, and get better over time. And one that lays a solid foundation for what’s next from Windows and from Microsoft.
The Selby for Windows
One of the most powerful and unique aspects of the new Windows brand system is it’s emphasis on people. To amplify this, we teamed up with lifestyle photographer Todd Selby with the aim to more colorfully portray the role technology plays in the real lives of so many people all around the world. We travelled for weeks at a time creating an enormous photo and video library that is continuously being updated, and that allows the brand to better relate and be relevant anywhere it’s operating.
Huge thanks go to our incredible cast, crew, and to all the lovely people we’ve met along the way in Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin, Sao Paulo, Beijing, Barcelona, Dubai, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, and Tokyo so far.
Like the OS, the brand is vibrant, beautiful, and most importantly, for all...
Microsoft is a “We” company, not a “Me” company. It’s a philosophy that runs very deep.
All around the world, in both well-developed and fast-emerging markets, there are hundreds of partners and agencies working in collaboration with Windows, making for thousands of “users” of the Windows brand. In addition to ensuring executional excellence, our goal was to provide more tools and less rules for getting things done... Tools designed to put time back into people’s days and budget back in their wallets. Why not brand software?
One highlight was the development of a Windows brand training app that allowed people to easily familiarize themselves with every element of the new Windows brand, and even generate and share campaign concepts with.
Operating systems have largely seen only incremental innovations since Windows 1.0 and the original Macintosh…Windows 8 rips that blueprint to shreds.