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This article was published on January 4, 2013

A look at the design process behind Windows 8’s Start screen and Lock screen wallpaper

A look at the design process behind Windows 8’s Start screen and Lock screen wallpaper
Harrison Weber
Story by

Harrison Weber

Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email. Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email.

For the satisfaction of the design obsessed, Marius Bauer, the man behind Windows 8’s Start screen and Lock screen backgrounds, has shared his process on how the distinct wallpapers were created (as surfaced by istartedsomething).

Authentically Digital

One of Microsoft’s key marketing phrases for its latest OS is that it is “authentically digital.” That description, which suits Windows 8 quite well, was the jumping off point for Bauer. But even while working in his “no-paper studio,” never leaving his screen, Bauer says his “designs are inspired by organic, hand crafted shapes with their own story.” He goes on, explaining that “the textures and dynamics within natural shapes are very inspiring and appealing.”

Bauer details that he started with “an illustrative style that combines the clean and minimal look and feel of Windows 8 with [his] organic and digitally hand drawn work. At this step [he] proposed a subtle design for the Start screen background and an iconic illustration to go along with it on the Lock screen.” The results are shown below:

After physically joining the Microsoft team “in Seattle and Redmond to work face to face on the art direction and final composition,” Bauer’s next move was inspired by Will Austin´s Wallpaper for Windows 7, combining digital illustration and photography.

The concepts continued to be refined:

Whether or not you’re a fan of it, Windows 8 has been praised for it’s simplified design language and in many ways that praise is well-deserved. Subtle details can make or break a product and we believe Bauer’s work has helped nudge Windows 8 in the right direction.

What do you think of Bauer’s work? Let us know in the comments below!