The Challenge: Microsoft wanted to bring the applications that make up it's developer offering under a single product family umbrella. The products included Visual Studio IDE, Visual Studio Team Services, Visual Studio Code, Visual Studio Blend, and Xamarin. The first step towards this goal was creating a set of icons that would bring the products together as a family. The icons needed to clearly represent each product, perform well at small sizes, and be congruous with the existing Visual Studio infinity shape and each other.
Our team began working to create a set of icons that would bring the products together as a family in 2014. The direction of the project, guidelines, requirements, restrictions, and design brief changed several times, so over the course of two years we came up with hundreds of designs.
To create a set of icons that clearly go together as a family, I wanted to find an overall visual concept that would tie them together. I also wanted the concept to relate directly to the purpose, use, and keywords used to describe Microsoft's developer applications. The concept needed to be visually interesting but also conceptually meaningful.
For now, I'm only going to show one of the concepts I presented. This set of icons was based on the concept of folded paper. I took several of the keywords that describe Microsoft's developer tools and demonstrated how the concept relates directly to those keywords.