Going full Metro.

I uploaded one single Metro inspired design that I once did for Microsoft India/Asia and the next thing I know I’m being asked to do more for other clients. I shouldn’t complain, money is money and I’m the type of guy who will unzip if the price is right – there’s a lasting image.


It seems that when you show someone large monochrome simple shaped designs, folks often gravitate towards them over some of my other usual gradient filled drop shadow filled designs. At first, I am shocked if not appalled at how they could dismiss one design which takes me much longer for a design that essentially looks like a colored in Wireframe mockup.

Metro simply put feels like I am shoplifting design. It’s not a lot of work and the main focus I have is controlling myself from adding too many elements to the screen or keeping the typography unbalanced. Color selection is also important as you have to keep that tightly controlled otherwise it ends up being a rainbow pixel barfing.

Metro is Developer art friendly.

One such client I have at the moment has expressed an interest in getting me to come in – as per usual – at the tail end of a sprint season of coding and well make it look “pretty”. They have also asked if I could weaponise the approach so that other teams within the company could leverage the same work within their projects.


What to do.. I need to make my design(s) for WPF/Silverlight engaging, useable and lastly repeatable. Metro like a super hero from the 1950’s, makes its way to the top of the conscious thought pile. Turns out those crazy beige loving engineering culture filled geeks in Redmond may actually be onto something here. Metro’s secret is that it creates a way in which designers and developers can finally reach a compromise on design.

Using large blocky shapes and minimalist approach to screen while peppering large amounts of typography whilst also not saying the words “Wireframes colored in” – boom, you have a design revolution within the .NET community its name – METRO.

Metro isn't all monochrome rainbows and puppies…

There is a catch though with Metro, one that as a designer is starting to ride my last nerve. They all look the freaking same. I can’t help it, I get into a pattern and before I know it I’m knocking out a mutated design that I did 5x metro designs ago. I feel like I am cheating now, it feels bad that I am in what I call a design rutt and It’s hard to break out of given most inspirational sites like TheFWA.com have no metro goodness.


There are only so many times I can look at the Microsoft Health / Futures videos before I also end up copying their designs without realizing it. I simply crave others like me who are injecting large enough doses of Metro to stop a gradient filled elephant in its tracks. I need to get off this crack or I’ll end up living in a typecast world filled with basic shapes and colors.

Metro’s concept isn’t isolated to Microsoft.

I am also starting to see the world in glyphs, typography and bold colors. I pass a highway sign and I go “ooh, that color could be used in a design of mi…stop it!…stop..”. I pass elevator filled corridors and I can’t but help notice Helvetica is the weapon of choice most of the time in commercial metro filled buildings. I’m going full metro!

Metro is the future of glass.

This morning, watching my usual twitter feeds I come across a re-tweet from one of my design demi-god like heroes – Mark Coleran. In this link filled with the future(s) nectar I so willingly crave, is a video projecting what the world would be like if we had more glass and multi-touch screens. At first I am absorbing this eye candy like a fantasy user interface addict that I am – only, boom..there it is, metro.

I’m Scott Barnes, and I am now addicted to metro. If you or a family member are suffering from Metro affixation, please contact me together we can find a way out of this disease / addiction.

If you want to see more of my designs, you can do so here:

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  • JakCharlton

    @MossyBlog Error establishing database connection

  • Mykre

    @MossyBlog nice..

  • JakCharlton

    @MossyBlog back now … but VERY slow – took like 30 seconds to render!

  • KaffienBlog

    @MossyBlog Do you have more resources on Metro? Is Metro HTML ready?

  • You went full metro, man. Never go full metro.

    Seriously.. are you changing your opinion in this area from previous blog posts – or am I missing some nuance? Has your opinion on Windows Phone changed?

  • Apolon wrote:

    You went full metro, man. Never go full metro.
    Seriously.. are you changing your opinion in this area from previous blog posts – or am I missing some nuance? Has your opinion on Windows Phone changed?
    Feature Bury

    A true fan of my blog! 🙂 hehe.

    – Do I like Metro. Kind of, I like the principles it’s trying to project and I’m warming up to it simply because it’s enabling developers with whom i work with (that don’t have design skills) the ability to follow along with me in terms of app development / interactive design. It’s also faster and quicker to churn out a metro styled app than one i’m normally doing, but the cost for me as a designer is it feels I am cheating at design (no challenge).

    – Do I like Metro on Windows Phone 7. Fuck no. To put it bluntly, I think the team started a path that they didn’t finish and I’m more annoyed at this given how simple Metro as a concept is to churn out. To me thats extra weakness on Microsofts part and I for one would like to see Wp7 Metro evolve beyond what it’s on display today. I think it’s just shallow implementation given the importance of the phone in the consumer fashion driven market.


  • You too can become Metro-certified after passing the Metro exam. Don’t forget to study your font-sizes, white space margins, accent colors and signature animations! And don’t forget to practice for the final essay – extending Metro without breaking Metro.

    Yes, I like it, but I do think it could easily become a practiced art form.

  • adkinn

    @MossyBlog I’ll see you in Redmond, when it’s time to write the certification test questions 🙂

  • rschu

    @MossyBlog Yeah, good one by @adkinn , but might be a business niche. Your first million? 😉

  • rschu

    @MossyBlog Your relationship to Metro always reminds me of the Stockholm syndrome. 😉 /cc @adkinn

  • @adkinn I’ll be your wingman in this monochrome thrift rainbow life we lime to call metro. Where everyday is a clean railway station of life

  • Can I use your image in my blog. Fully linked back to this page ofcourse.

  • Metin

    I will develop my apps in the “metro style”

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  • dsf