One of the projects our design team has been working on for the last year or so has been the development of a new suite of product icons for Office 2007.

Here are the 32x32 versions of the icons which will appear in the final product:

The design team has been working on these icons for quite a long time; it has been a significant design challenge to make the icons feel like a family, yet for each to be symbolic enough to stand out on its own. Each of the designs has to scale all the way from a huge 128x128 full-color alpha-blended icon for Windows Vista down to an itty-bitty 8x8 badge on top of a 16-color document icon.

Interestingly, even something seemingly as innocuous as changing the product icons has a usability component.

The icon is the main way people differentiate programs on the Windows taskbar. While a single color for all program icons would have made the branding of the suite more consistent, it has the side effect of making it harder for people to find the program they want to switch to.

People have a strong expectation to click a green icon for Excel, a blue one for Word, and a yellow one for Outlook--and so, in the end, we wanted to create designs that take advantage of those expectations. You'll see that many design elements from the classic icons, including the W for Word, the X for Excel, and the key for Access, have been retained as well.

You can find more information about these icons and other ongoing design work on the official Office design page.