THE MICROSOFT STORE
Art Director / Visual Designer
In 2009 Microsoft announced plans for The Microsoft Store, a chain of brick-and-mortar retail locations to go head-to-head with Apple and Sony stores nationwide. Vested on the growing success of the latest Windows OS and Xbox, Microsoft timed the launch of its first stores with the release of Windows 7 and to announce the new Zune (Windows) Phone.
Research & Discovery
From early 2010 through 2012, I directed our internal print and marketing design studio dedicated to the Microsoft Store, while directly contributing to information architecture and promotional and marketing communications.
Responsibilities: Creative direction for retail marketing communications and visual design for product promotion, content creation and people management.
Global creative consultancy Lippincott (NYC) extensively leveraged key design queues from Microsoft's latest OS (Windows 7) in developing the new brand experience - this ensured brand consistency for the simultaneous 2009 launch for both. New elements such as, swooping gradients, lens flares and opacity layers dictated much of our marketing design, along with the now classic Segoe font family.
In 2011, we worked closely with Microsoft's marketing team to evolve their visual communications around Microsoft's Metro Design standards, later renamed "Flat Design".
PRIMARY COLOR PALETTE 2009
PRIMARY COLOR PALETTE 2011
UNIVERSAL GREY PALETTE
Segoe UI Light
We partnered with the Microsoft Store on design and implementation of signage, flyers, interactive marketing and other selling collateral. Whether it’s for workshops, product launches, promotions, or cause marketing – the marketing collateral produced by us has increased sales and maximized return on investment.
The Discount Cards, with the dimensions of a credit card, offered monthly specials and deals on services and products exclusive to The Microsoft Store customers.
Using custom team photography paired with minimalistic illustration and editing, we drove home The Microsoft Store's individuality in their industry. We worked closely with their brand team to brainstorm styles for culture and product photography to define the messaging in their marketing materials.
After the target locations were selected, Microsoft faced the challenge of designing, building and staging a retail experience embodying their refreshed, public-engaged image for the first 16 stores across the nation in 2010. Microsoft engaged my creative team at Red Sky to lead the store layout and collateral design. Normally, our initial step in this type of project is to define the brand identity. But with retail development already underway, backed by a well established brand, we focused first on customer experience. We began with an abbreviated brand strategy process that set up the communications design work.
Alongside the marketing collateral, we developed the In-store product descriptors for all the in-store Microsoft Store merchandise - at average each set included 90 to 100 signs - used nationwide with a 2 to 3-month shelf-life. In 2010, Microsoft opened a new store every 23 days.
Creating an easily customizable formula for the modular format of the content rich C-Level (product statistics display cards) involved a balanced combination of engineering, strategy and visual logic - somewhat akin to solving a Rubik's Cube. At a time before Adobe XD, we conducted the wireframing with colored Post-it notes and completed the feasible high-fidelity models in Adobe InDesign, with countless,to the pixel exact, reg-bars, guides and layout grid.