When you hear the word “Metro” what comes to mind?
If you live in the DC area, you may think of the local mass transit system.
If you're a developer learning about Windows 8, you may be wondering what this whole Metro thing means.
The term Metro refers to different things based on the context. In this blog post, I’ll talk about the design language.
Metro: The Design Language
You may hear Metro referred to as a design language.
But what does that mean, exactly?
Here’s the official definition:
If you’re a designer, you get this.
If you’re a developer, you’re probably scratching your head a little bit.
Even if you’re a typical left-brained hard core coder, chances are you already know more about design and design languages than you give yourself credit for.
Let’s Talk About Cars
Here’s a quick quiz: which one of these cars came out in the 1950s and which is just coming out?
I have a confession to make: I like cars, especially classic Chevy cars.
But chances are you answered the question right (it’s the top photo BTW), even if you don’t know your Hondas from your Hyundais.
Both cars are red Chevy Impalas, but one is clearly from the 1950s and the other is a contemporary model.
But, how did you know which was which?
Design Languages Convey Information
The answer is design language.
Basically, a design language boils down to a “meta-style” or style of styles.
We can read the design language of both cars much like you can read a book.
There’s a clear distinction between the general theme and style of design from the middle of the last century and today.
We’ve learned to recognize this through our exposure to culture and the larger trends happening in the world.
Generally, the design trend of the last 100 years or so has been simplification: moving from ornate embellishments to clean, simple shapes and lines.
The technology industry has also seen a similar shift to simplification.
In my next post, I’ll take a deep dive into the Metro Design language, where it came from and what it means for developers going forward.