One of the biggest changes on Windows 11 compared to Windows 10 is… a redesign. Yes, the next generation of Windows at least outwardly rests on simply looking different. Still, it is a nice UI overhaul that makes Windows a clean and modern looking OS. The new “Flow” UI aesthetic will also come to core Windows apps, including MS Paint and Photos.
New visual panels showing the Windows 11 versions of MS Paint and Photos have appeared on r/Windows on Reddit. We can expect the new look to also extend to other native Windows apps later on. In fact, Microsoft should be revamping the design across apps like the Calculator, Notepad, Clock, Voice Recorder, and of course, Office.
Starting with MS Paint, Microsoft will fiddle with this app at its peril. While it is arguable the design of Paint is old/stale, it is a highly functional design. Microsoft has been burnt in the past by trying to change what is essentially not broken.
In 2016, Microsoft introduced the Windows 10 Creators Update (version 1703) with an emphasis on 3D tools. Paint 3D and its Remix 3D feature were billed as the future of design interaction on Windows. Essentially, the company envisioned they would usher in a modern era of design, rendering normal MS Paint redundant.
However, users responded with a collective “meh”. Two years later, Microsoft closed down Remix 3D and while Paint 3D still exists, it is more of a niche tool than any kind of replacement.
So, users have shown they do not like Paint being messed with. It is good to see Microsoft seems to be treading softly as it implements the Windows 11 Flow design to the app. Yes, we are getting an aesthetic change, but it remains in keeping with what people expect from MS Paint without compromising the Windows 11 look.
As you can see in the image, MS Paint has a simpler design with less emphasis on the now aging Ribbon concept. The header is instead based on Microsoft's Fluent Design. Users still get the familiar “File,” “Edit,” and other options.
The header is also where you will find the icons for common Paint tasks. This is very similar to the current app design, albeit with a cleaner and modern look. Let's not forget the rounded corners and WinUI controls that define the Windows 11 design experience.
As for the Photos app, the redesign follows a similar path. Features and tools remain mostly the same but are now given the brand new aesthetic look to fit in with the rest of Windows 11. Microsoft is also bringing a new editing experience that adds a floating element above the image.
Tip of the day: Did you know that as a Windows 10 admin you can restrict user accounts by disabling settings or the control panel? Our tutorial shows how to disable and enable them via Group Policy and the registry.