Microsoft: Windows 11 flourishes with ‘Bloom’ – a new symbol for a new operating system

The studio relies on a background in 2D graphics, with tools and knowledge acquired during college years that involved learning to work with colors, typographies, shapes, etc. But at the end of 2010, they turned to 3D art. During the process, they realized that several hours of extra work would yield close to reality results.

“From then on, there were many years of curiosity, learning and use that made 3D our own language and visual style,” says Ezequiel Pini, founder and creative director of the design studio.

While Microsoft’s in-house design teams internally iterated their ideas for Windows 11, the studio was working on Surface displays in parallel.

“We started working with Six N Five to reinvent wallpapers for Surface devices a few years ago,” says Samuel Clarke, Creative Director of Modern Life (Windows, Surface, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Edge). “Their unique approach to interpreting the physical world using digital techniques brought us together. They create calming and serene scenes that always perfectly match what we wanted users to feel when using our products. ”

Eventually, the workflows converged when the dynamic flower of Six N Five hit all the right notes for Windows 11 designers.

“The thing with Bloom is that there is movement,” Koehn says. “It doesn’t appear to be a static object. You could almost imagine it moving around the shape-shifting environment, shapeshifting.”

When it comes to their approach to Bloom, Six N Five took inspiration from the premise of examining natural realms and their relationship to the abstract and digital work created by its inhabitants. For them, a flower that bloomed for the first time represented “a new and fresh beginning”.

Flowers – especially roses – inspired them. But they also found a Compass in Windows Blue, a “vivid” hue that Pini said “was key to this process when it comes to coloring.”

It’s a color that was essential to identify with Windows 11 and signal something new to consumers, says Karina Vivas, director of integrated marketing for Windows. “We are deliberately using its electric blue color as a creative line through different elements.”

The importance of Windows in daily routines also played a big part in the design approach.

“I think we belong to a generation in which the digital world has evolved to the point of being part of our daily lives. It is now natural for us, our own extension and our own work,” says Pini. “There are so many tasks that we hardly can do without our computer. This evolution will continue to progress over time and, for us at least, Windows 11 represents this evolution towards the new.”

With Windows 11, translucency thanks to new materials such as Mica becomes more important, says Koehn.

“As our desktops get more and more complex and we have more and more windows open, sometimes it’s good that the transparency of certain materials helps you see what’s in focus and what might be behind. -plan, ”she said. “We wanted to make sure that the operating system wallpaper actually enhances these materials. So we built these materials in such a way that they really take on the color behind them. They reflect the light. If you design the wallpaper in such a way that it has a range of colors, it has some vibrancy in the right places where you know you’re going to have materials on top of it, the two complement each other very well. gorgeous when you see Bloom So that was definitely a consideration when we designed the shape of Bloom as well as the color scheme. ”

Bloom was intended to complement Windows 11’s new centered layout, which includes the taskbar and the Start menu. And from a practical standpoint, it was important for the design team to have negative space around the image so that folders and files could be placed on the desktop, reducing visual clutter.

It turns out that this centered layout was one of the many factors Six N Five had to work on.

“The hardest part was finding a beautiful and harmonious composition that would work not only aesthetically as a wallpaper, but also in coexistence with the central menu of the new operating system,” explains Pini. “We started to create tons of images, just experimenting and playing with the material provided by Microsoft. It was the easiest part, but then it was time to pick a path and narrow it down. ”

Pini’s studio ended up being in charge of designing and animating the main image of the project, while Microsoft’s design team helped them with guidelines and sketches to get the part to fit. all the necessary requirements.

Six N Five has also developed two thematic packs for Windows 11: one based on new explorations inspired by Bloom and the other based on the design of imaginary landscapes.

For Six N Five, playing such a central role in Bloom’s development is “a dream come true.”

“The word ‘Windows’ not only evokes nostalgia for the first contact we had with a computer 20 years ago, but it also continues to be the operating system we use 20 years later,” says Pini. . “He has been our companion in this whole process and professional development from the very beginning. Knowing that this new version of the OS will have an image of our studio, which in turn will be seen by billions of people, is a difficult dream to achieve. explain in words. ”

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