In May of this year, images from a Microsoft tool known as “Designer” have been leaked on the web, thanks to “WalkingCat”. This week we got some additional information about Designer, which has yet to be announced. The codename for the project appears to be “Oasis”.
Designer appears to be a tool intended to help create Instagram and LinkedIn posts and stories, Facebook ads, brochures, invitations, and more. Users can start with a blank canvas or provided templates for their creations.
A preview of the Designer tool was briefly available via designer.microsoft.com for people with a personal or education Microsoft account, but Microsoft has since blocked content from being available at that URL, even though the Designer logo always appears.
AI to create Instagram posts
A page of this Designer preview provided by WalkingCat this week shows a screen titled “Let’s start with your content”, where users can choose the type of design they intend to create, answer the question “What do you want to tell your audience” and opt for a color scheme. “We use your content and AI to create designs for you,” the page reads at the top.
At the bottom of the design page there is a note that says “Check out more stencils with Microsoft Create.” Yesterday The Cat tweeted that he had discovered a link, create.microsoft.com, which appears to be where these templates might be stored. Those of us who tried to access this URL received a message telling them that the site/app was not ready yet and to come back later.
Some have wondered if Microsoft has any intention of trying to take on the Canva graphic design platform/service with this new Designer product. Having used Microsoft Sway extensively, I feel like Designer could be the successor to Sway, which Microsoft hasn’t updated since 2017 and seems abandoned at this point. There could also be synergies between PowerPoint Designer and this new Designer tool, especially around the idea generation concept.
Using Context IQ?
In terms of the AI element, I bet that when and if Microsoft ever announces the Designer tool, officials will say that Designer’s ability to come up with idea suggestions and interpret user intent comes from its set of Context IQ predictive AI technologies, which the company first discussed publicly last November.
I don’t know when Microsoft plans to release the pre-release versions of Designer and Create to the public. I asked for a comment and expect the usual “we have nothing to share”.
As for the Oasis codename, which I found while digging around the create.microsoft.com URL, this isn’t the first time Microsoft has used it as a codename. Back when the Windows team was still planning to create a variety of “shells” for Windows 10, the holographic shell was codenamed “Oasis”. I guess since this idea is no longer active, the maintainers felt they could resurrect the Oasis codename.
Separately, Microsoft has updated its pricing for its online video editor Clipchamp, as reported by Windows Central on August 4. The publisher reduced the number of paid levels to one and lowered the price of many premium features. Originally, Windows Central notes, Clipchamp’s premium tiers ranged between $9 and $39 each; now there is only one $11.99 tier with all the premium features which is called “Essentials” There is also still a free tier.