Microsoft's Fluent Design System was easily one of Windows 10's most exciting new announcements this year. It's an entirely new vision for Windows, rethinking its design in almost every single way. Microsoft revealed Fluent Design earlier this year alongside the Fall Creators Update, and the future updates Redstone 4 and Redstone 5 in 2018 will include even more Fluent Design additions — which is what we're taking a look at today.

We're a few months from the release of Redstone 4, so I wanted to see how Fluent Design is coming along so far. There's still lots of development time to go, so Microsoft has plenty of time to continue adding Fluent Design to the OS. This is just what I've noticed so far from the previews Microsoft has released.

Microsoft outlined five different areas of design for its first wave of Fluent Design; Material, Light, Scale, Depth, and Motion. More of these elements are showing up throughout development of Redstone 4, with continued improvements expected throughout 2018.

Material (Acrylic)

Acrylic is the most common Fluent Design element that's showing up across apps and the OS itself. It is densely translucent, letting the background and windows behind the current focus blur through. In the latest Insider Preview builds, we can see Acrylic in several locations, including the Start menu, Taskbar, Action Center and My People.

Acrylic is more commonly used within apps, and Microsoft has been painting several of its first party apps in Acrylic. The Settings app features Acrylic in the sidebar, Microsoft Edge features Acrylic in its titlebar. You can also find Acrylic in Paint 3D and the Skype UWP app.

Calculator, Photos, and Maps are also apps where you can find Acrylic elements. The Maps app has the Acrylic style applied to the top of the window, where the title bar and navigation menus are. Photos has it more dominantly thoughout the background of the app. The Calculator app is easily the best-looking app with Acrylic on Windows 10 right now. Acrylic can also be found in popup notifications that appear on the desktop.

Microsoft has plans to bring Acrylic to even more areas of the system and within apps throughout 2018. We suspect more improvements to areas that already have Acylic will be coming down the line too. We already know Microsoft Edge will be getting more Fluent Design improvements, including Reveal effects in the Address bar.

Light (Reveal)

Reveal is another new design element being introduced with Fluent Design, which follows the cursor when hovering over certain elements within the OS and apps. As of right now, you can find Reveal in the Action Center, Start menu and My People hub, and in XAML based lists and menus.

Microsoft has plans on bringing Reveal to the Taskbar eventually, but it doesn't look like that'll be for quite some time. Right now, the implimentations of Reveal are very inconsitent throughout the OS, with some menus having it, and others not. Microsoft is working to rectify this.

You can also find Reveal in some parts of Microsoft Edge, as well as Groove Music, Calculator, People, and Settings. Reveal is also enabled on popup notifications, but is less noticeable due to the popup notifications having such a thin border.

The use of Reveal is slowly becoming more consistent with each new Insider build. Redstone 4 should be the first Windows 10 update where Reveal is used consitently throughout inbox apps and the Shell.

Depth, Parallax and Motion

Depth, Parallax and Motion are easily the rarest new design elements being implemented right now. As far as I can tell, there are no known instances where motion has been applied to the OS. I've only found it sparsely in a couple of Microsoft's first party apps. Motion is the element of Fluent Design that's supposed to give Windows 10 some wow factor when jumping between different areas of an app or the system.

I've found Depth/Parallax effects in the Store app, where some of the bigger images will scroll slower than the rest of the page. It's a cool, parallax effect that gives the page some much-needed motion. I've also noticed some minor motion affects in Groove Music and the Movies & TV apps.

The Photos app with Story Remix is where you can find the most of Microsoft's new Motion design. It animates in and out of areas of the app beautifully and fluidly, which is exactly what Motion is designed to do. Microsoft has a lot of work to do getting Motion implemented throughout the OS and in the rest of its apps, but progress so far appears to be good.

Fluent Design is a journey

The implementations of Fluent Design began with the Fall Creators Update, but we're far from it being complete. Microsoft was very clear that its new design language is a journey that will take several releases to fully realize. The Fall Creators Update is technically the second step in that journey, with the first step being the Creators Update releasing in early 2017. This means Redstone 4 and Redstone 5 will continue to see Fluent Design improvements.

One of Windows 10's weak points is definitely its design language, but with the Fluent Design System that's starting to change. There's a lot to Windows and Fluent Design is being slowly implemented across the OS, so if there's something you've noticed that I missed, please let me know! So far, the work Microsoft has done with the latest Redstone 4 preview builds are fantastic, and I can't wait to see it continue to evolve.

Updated December 13 2017: Checking in on Microsoft's progress since July.