Microsoft is launching its Office version X, the latest software suite for the Apple Mac, with packaging created by Landor Associates. It is the third time that Landor has partnered with Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit on the Office for Mac product, most recently in 2001.
Tan Le, senior design director at Landor Associates in Seattle, says the brief was to create a design that strikes a balance between the contrasting brand images of Microsoft and Apple. ‘It’s all about where on the spectrum you fall. It would be suspect if [the product] looked too Mac because it’s obviously Microsoft. We needed to acknowledge the difference, as the two brand [images] are quite polar,’ says Le.
Landor’s work retains the existing Office for Mac icons, but refreshes them with a metallic, anodised finish. Le wanted to move away from the more Apple-oriented organic look of the previous version of the software, to a more ‘precise’ design. The icons have been accentuated to become the focal point of the packaging.
To increase on-shelf prominence, Office v. X will be housed in a curve-sided box, which has a recyclable plastic substrate. The pack can be stacked horizontally and vertically in stores.
The Office v. X suite comprises the Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage software applications. Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit is the largest Mac product team outside Apple.