Discuss: Circles vs Squares


We’ve noticed a brewing tempest in the Windows Phone community over a decision by Microsoft in Windows 10 Mobile to use circles to represent people rather than the oft-utilized squares of Windows Phone 7 and 8.

In the Windows 10 design focused blog post, Albert Shum explained the decision to move to circles over squares for people saying “We did a lot of thinking about this during our planning stages for Windows 10, and what we tried to accomplish was to help the people in your life really stand out visually. This is particularly important in experiences like Start, and when you’re moving through different apps where there are people mixed with other content types. So for now, we’re going to stick with using circles to represent people, and we hope we’ll hear that you enjoy how easy it is to spot a friend when you’re glancing through all the things you do on your phone.”

Personally, I agree with the decision. Even on this very website our author pages make use of circles as do a host of other Tech sites. Circles break up a monotony of content and draw your eyes to the *people* there. In the context of Windows Mobile, these are contacts and artist images. One cause for concern here might be the inconsistency with which these are implemented.

For example, Microsoft music places its circles in a square, while the people hub circles roll into place, roll into the dialler and roll on the live tile as pure circles. We’d imagine those would be tightened up as Microsoft shifts focus to WM in the coming  months though.


On the other hand, Windows is a very square OS and the juxtaposition of circles and squares in some pages of the OS may draw attention to itself, albeit not in the way Microsoft intends. Some may find the juxtaposition jarring, others may just not like circles, the list goes on.

What do our readers think of circles vs squares? Do you think Microsoft shouldn’t stray from the beaten path and continue to make use of squares exclusively in its OS or do you think circles help break up the monotony? Are you just completely apathetic to all this debate about shapes?

Vote in the poll below: