Color Management

Field Notes: Vibrant Discovery

Posted: May 8, 2013 by
Linda Casey

THE PRODUCT
Microsoft makes a clean break with its redesigned Windows 8 packaging. Gone is the wavy flag logo and in its place is a more literal representation of a window.

Die-cut in a sleek paperboard sleeve, this new window gives shoppers a peek at a vibrantly printed inner carton. When consumers take the package home and slide off the modern, minimalist sleeve, they are greeted with a packaging experience that explodes with color—which suggests that Windows can be a gateway to a vivid, imaginative new world. But does the new branding resonate with designers?

THE VERDICT
The pattern-behind-the-window format, while a little expected, is no less effective; the variety of implementation on this structure alone proves that the simplest solution can still be striking. And while the packaging won’t—and likely isn’t meant to—convert devotees of that other operating system, it does remind us that there’s more personality to Windows than just spreadsheets and Solitaire.
Charles Bloom, senior art director at Moxie Sozo

Seen in the context of Microsoft’s recent rebrand, using the window shape as a window into the pack is such an obvious solution—but one that in execution adds tremendous personality to the product, and that challenges the way consumers have come to think about this previously staid brand.

Taking advantage of both the hype and curiosity surrounding their new interface, Microsoft and the team that did this work were smart to dramatically shift the look of their packaging to match the similarly bold shift in their interface. The juxtaposition of beautiful colors and patterns peaking out through the die-cut in the simply adorned sleeve to say “something bold and exciting is inside,” is the first touch-point in a multi-tiered series of reveals that I believe wonderfully introduces a new product, from a newly imagined company to an expanded target market.
Ben Jura, design director at Elements

Looking at the Microsoft redesign from the perspective of an Apple-driven industry, I’m impressed. These packages are a vast improvement for the Windows brand.

Issues with the logo design aside, the packages show that Microsoft as a whole is adopting a new consumer-centric approach.

When a brand has a monopoly, it often meets consumer demand for design with silence. The days of a Microsoft monopoly are gone, and we see Microsoft adopting a new consumer-centric approach to design. It is good to hear the voice of consumers starting to scream through the visual language coming from Microsoft.
Aaron Keller, managing principal at Capsule   

Want to have your package design highlighted in this column or comment on future, spotlighted package designs? Contact Linda Casey at linda.casey@stmediagroup.com and type “Field Notes” in the email subject line.