People first.

Sharing the best of what it means to be human.

Few brands have had the opportunity to make a difference in peoples’ lives at the scale of Microsoft. Their products and services have pioneered the way we interact with technology; truly changing the world in the process. Now more than ever, their innovations – from HoloLens, to Surface Hub and the next generation of Windows – are revolutionizing how we communicate, create, collaborate, and explore.

Microsoft’s core mission is to empower people to do more, yet with multiple sub-brands, platforms, and services, they consistently face the challenge of how to communicate a unified brand ethos and message across categories. At Cinco, we’re helping them tell stories in a more cohesive and approachable brand voice, making it easier to connect with the people they empower every day.

Our work with Microsoft has tapped nearly every discipline in the studio. From strategy to creative, we’re partnering with the brand team at Microsoft to help guide key initiatives and guidelines. Our contributions span from tactical to visionary, helping tie threads through their organization and shape internal perceptions; in turn framing their external communications and broad-stroke brand look and feel. With each new project, we’re helping them to be more unified, approachable, and personal.

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Strategy

Real & relatable.

From the beginning, we’ve sought to help Microsoft create a voice and tone that focuses on authentic moments, relatable messaging, and simpler, easier, more unified design systems and tools. Our work is constantly framed by a natural, less formal, and more light-hearted expression of the brand’s people-first mission.

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Visual Language

Bright and clear.

We’re working side-by-side with Microsoft in their effort to shape a new brand-wide visual language, building on common design principles aligning to a core DNA that is crisp, clear, and bright. Our guidelines and toolkits are helping create a unified approach to photography, typography, color, and beyond.

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“From enterprise to entertainment, our partnership with Microsoft has helped create a more universally approachable system.”

— Kirk James / Principal & CCO

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Photography

Make it real.

Real people using real products. Natural light and shadows. Genuine expressions and interactions. Our photography direction and guidelines have helped Microsoft tell the stories of people who use their products day in and day out.

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“From in-store to on-screen, everything had to work together seamlessly.”

— Jared Milam / Creative Director - Brand

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Illustration

Simplify, connect, inspire.

Relatable and tangible, clear and fun; with no need for fine print. We’ve helped define an approach to illustration that focuses on clarifying abstract ideas with a smart metaphor. Approachable stories and compositions allow viewers to get the big picture at a glance – making complex ideas simple, straightforward, and easy to digest.

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Microsoft Illustration Vignettes
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“We quickly realized that deeper understanding would come from simplifying abstract ideas into surprising metaphors.”

— Jared Milam / Creative Director, Brand

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Bright, clear, and approachable. Our work with Microsoft has helped them to express and expand a budding culture of inclusion, reaching more people in relatable and friendly ways. Together, we’ve helped the brand be more conversational and uplifting with their voice. From strategy, to illustration, motion, and photography, Cinco has contributed to a variety of Microsoft projects that are helping define the way they communicate.

As a flexible partner working side-by-side in their effort to tell complex technology stories through a lifestyle lens, we’re proud to help the internal brand team at Microsoft continue to craft deeper, more meaningful and impactful messages.

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