It's been six years since Microsoft last changed its icon set - about the same time our first newsletter launched! Whilst Liam may refuse to change the photo on the front page of said newsletter to show how time has ravaged him, Microsoft has been more honest.
Strong colours have always been at the fore of the Office brand, and Microsoft has gone on record stating that these new icons provide a chance to evolve their [colour] palette. The new icons are intended to be "...bolder, lighter and friendlier - a nod to how Office has evolved...".
The latest designs separate the letter and the symbol in the icons into two panels to add depth, for better 3D imagery. Further, prior Office icons had a spreadsheet outline for Excel, which has now been replaced by individual cells for Excel. The aim is to apparently focus on the content rather than any specific format, which is the direction the software is heading. That's right - Microsoft is using its icons for a soft cell (groan - Ed.).
The letter-to-symbol ratio has changed as well. Traditionally, the letter occupied two-thirds of the icon and the symbol took up one-third. This has been modified to emphasise the symbol because while the letter represents the tool itself, the symbol is intended to spark user creativity.
It's not just about Excel. There's a whole new icon set looming and all of these graphics will begin rolling out across platforms in the coming months, starting with mobile and the web. You have been warned!