Project Overview

The OEM Differentiation initiative explored themes that users could choose when buying a new PC, then update and enhance from the Windows Store. This became a multifaceted strategic direction that explored how OEM’s add unique value to their PC offerings and to establish an engagement model for Microsoft and OEMs to partner on ways to deliver that unique value into Windows 8 PCs.

Working with Win 8 planning and focusing on two primary OEM partners, I created a series of concepts that explored the possibilities of OEM branding in the Shell. Our OEM partners were very excited about the potential of differentiation, then a series of events led to a shift in Windows 8 planning and the Windows 8 Modern Shell vision was born.

What I did

Cross-group collaboration  //  Concepting  //  Visual design  //  User Research  //  OEM engagement  //  Platform design  //  Visual storytelling

Dell Alienware

Unique visual aspects of Alienware offered interesting opportunities for differentiation. Users can customize highlight effects on the hardware (laptops and desktop). What if this could also sync to the chrome in the shell?

Dell Alienware Windows Shell Branding

Custom branding and theme effects


Aligning the visual brand of the device with the software

Sony Windows Shell Branding

Hardware/software alignment

Dell Adamo

Hardware/software alignment


Hardware/software alignment

Hardware/software alignment

Dell Adamo Exploration

OEM Differentiation Mood Boards (click through)

OEM differentiation mood boards to identify the unique brand characteristics of each hardware manufacture.

OEM Differentiation Brainstorms

Leading OEM differentiation brainstorm sessions

Brainstorm user profile/motivation posters (click through)