Logo Design Love

For graphic designers and all who love logos.

Microsoft’s new logo

Microsoft logo 2012
Photo via KOMO News

The following paragraph is excerpted from Washington Post.

The redesign features the Microsoft name in a lighter, straight font called Segoe to replace the italic bold type used in the old standby. The new logo also includes the familiar red, blue, yellow and green colors used in the flag on Microsoft’s Windows operating system, but the colors will be in a square box instead of the curvy template that has been in place for years. Those color boxes evoke the tiles that will be central to Windows 8.

More on Creative Review, and thoughts from a few designers on Mashable.

“It needs to be unusual enough to persist in the mind. Those four squares — it’s very inert. It just sits there. It has no motion, no tension — it’s not dynamic in any way.”
— SAGI HAVIV

Microsoft logo 2012

I wonder if the decision to make the symbol symmetrical (unlike that in the Windows 8 logo) had something to do with the rotation of tablets between portrait and horizontal.

Via the Microsoft blog.

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities, second edition

19 appreciated comments

  1. The operating system is part of the branding. Rather than just looking at the logo in isolation (which has always been rather dull and naff, but well known through exposure) I’d like to see how it works in other applications.

    It kind of feels right for where Microsoft is at the moment and it sort of sums them up. Well known, very corporate, been around ages but rather expected, unsurprising and dull.

  2. Good analysis, there is not much more to say about the new Microsoft logo.

  3. The square. 4 sides that bring a few key terms to mind. A quick web search defined the square as being grounded, stabilized, structured, illustrating the basics, being a foundation, balance, direction, sign of dependability, and integrity. Microsoft may feel that some of these terms represent their identity as they have been a major player since the beginning.

    I’ve been an Apple user since forever and I have to say over the last few years Microsoft has been moving closer to making some of their features almost look “Apple-esque”. With the release of their most recent logo the font is simple and logo incredibly clean. Also keep in mind of the times we live in today. Logos are becoming less complex and easier to recognize as a lot of new designers may be putting more focus on the overall identity. Not to say that they are putting less time in creating/re-working the logo design but giving it more meaning and making it more diverse.

    Take a look at the animation for example. It’s simple and personally I feel it gets their message across better then the old logo. With the old logo you could see movement, the type was italic and everything was moving forward. Less dull perhaps but like Lee said in a comment above it sums up where they are today. Technology is much simpler then it used to be and I feel that this logo and the branding around it represent that. Also as corporate as they are they want to sell themselves to every type of consumer (business and personal) and simple sells very well on both those ends. Look how long Apple has been doing it.

    Would love to hear your thoughts!
    Cheers

  4. SJ

    It’s solid, mature, quickly recognizable.
    It represents a company that is here to stay.
    The colors add some brightness and fun to the solid feeling.

    I prefer this over a four-colored butterfly or a wave symbol of some sort.
    I like it.

    S.

  5. Gilmar Rodrigues

    It may also represent sharpness, accuracy, a sense of what is timeless.

    I don’t know how much of this can be perceived as true, but I see this “modernization” as a message for both corporate and personal costumers as saying: ” we all know you feel very thrilled about what Apple does, but we are the real thing and we are here to stay”. I mean, Microsoft for the past years have been trying to make rip offs on Apple, both in attitude and in products. Maybe now they are positioning themselves as something more stable and real.

  6. Fraser Morris

    Really??… I honestly don’t care for it.

    The four squares are just plain squares, no style.

    The text is just text, no customization. I prefer the previous version with the notch taken out between the ‘o’ and ‘s’

    Sorry, thumbs down.

  7. Hi,
    It’s downgrading a meaning of “logotype”… In my time my Swiss teacher Paul Buhlmann would say: – its not a logotype, but just plain typeface”. Sorry, but it hasn’t been even tuned typographically sufficiently… Say “r”, “t”…. No flair, no vision, not inspiring…

  8. iain

    There’s a difference between minimalism and doing nothing.

    This could only be more indistinct if it used a single colour square instead of a grouping of four.

  9. I think the most noticeable change is the brighter colors. It does make the company somehow look YONG again.

  10. I like the connected f + t. If you take a good look you can also see a square/tile between these connected letters. real clean.

  11. randsghost

    Just because you can do somethign doesn’t mean you do it. It’s easy to tell the less experienced, less refined designers by the comments made here. Tricks are just that, tricks. The greatest lesson to learn as a designer, is when not to design.

  12. Ely

    Being that I’ve used both Windows and Apple platforms;

    I do feel that Window’s ambition toward creating memorable aesthetics in their design does show that they (like many other well established companies) are in the interest of keeping up with time. With this being said, any company that makes a move on their branding also reflects that they are supplementing new and exciting plans for the future of their prosperity. Starbucks recently changed their logo design by simply taking the words “STARBUCKS” from the logo. The brand itself has established itself as a recognizable symbol in which the majority can identify.

    Back to the windows logo, I do applaud the “upgrade” in looks. However, the brand itself doesn’t carry much visual weight for such a strong company. The 4 squares remain flat and doesn’t show movement. Doesn’t carry the character compared to the logo for Windows 8. I am happy that Microsoft decided to get rid of the italics in its name. Yet, the 4 square brand IMO just doesn’t show much character. Yes, it is a minimal design such as Apple’s. It just lacks that extra energy IMO. The logo is solid in terms of identification but stand a lone it doesn’t strike me. I feel that the attempt of creating a much cleaner logo doesn’t match with the company’s muscles. The colors do help but little does it do any more than what it appears to do.

    Bottom line, Microsoft does have the ability to pump up a brand and this case; it feels like it just doesn’t do it justice.

  13. iain

    @randsghost – I’m not looking for tricks, I would simply like something to be expressed by the logo. This direction seems reductive to a degree that drains any personality or values other than ‘this is microsoft’. In re-designing their logo, they had an opportunity to excite with something that signified a new vision. I don’t feel that at all here.

    If you separate the symbol from the logotype in the previous Windows logo, the rippling flag/squares are still distinctly identifiable (irrespective of whether you consider them attractive or not). Is the foursquare symbol as recognisable? I think not.

    Additionally, the colours for the new Microsoft logo seem already outdated somehow and rather ‘web 2.0′. I wonder how long the design process for this has been going on.

    It’s also interesting that this was an internal project while the Windows 8 logo was designed by Pentagram.

  14. Val

    Been waiting for a logo reboot for years and now that it’s there it seems… OK, but not much more. It feels clean and fits their current move to minimal 2C-design schemes, but if you just look at it without thinking about metro, win8 and so on, it just looks like… nothing. There’s no real expression or emotion going on. I like minimal graphics, but this is more like a headline or signfont. It obviously fulfills it’s mission of fitting better than it’s predecessor, but then again, I’ve seen some design concepts from students before which I kinda liked more. Maybe what MS is trying to tell us is “We don’t need to have an appearance, that differs. Differ from what? There is and has always been just us.” ;-)

  15. The new logo looks bland. The old one looks strong and although a bit stiff, suites the company well. If they want to revamp the look, it’s got be something that looks fresh and different. The new design, esp. the typeface just does not work. The color looks more appropriate for Walmart. They don’t have to be another Apple-wanna-be, there are plenty of other old and great tech companies with great logo design. The money could have been better spent.

  16. I think its great when major companies redesign their logos. Branding is such a key piece of any business culture and after 25 years with the same logo, it was surely time for a change – both internally and for consumers. More modern, broader market and ready for that change to be recognized in a more visual way. Not sure what I would have done if it were my design job, but would have loved to have worked on this. Do they know it was surely designed on a Mac with Adobe software?

  17. Marsha Drebelbis

    The new MS logo is rather disappointing. Why bother to even change the logo if the new product isn’t something MS is proud of. That’s where it leaves me.

  18. Minimal and yes a much needed update. But still it does not inspire me. Maybe I have just fell into that anti PC mob, but I can’t really say anything about this expect, yes it is better and clean.

  19. A substantially large amount of money was obviously paid for a substantially underwhelming result. I imagine we have to blame the client, again. The cutting room floor, I hope, would be much more interesting. What a disservice to graphic designers everywhere. No need to reinvent the wheel, but this is just poor. Clients! Grow some balls and let your designers do what we are best at!


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