Microsoft unveils new logo

Technology giant reveals first new logo change in 25 years, says users will see "common look and feel" across Windows 8, Windows Phone, Office, and Xbox services.

Microsoft has a new look. Today, the company unveiled its first logo change in 25 years, revealing a more colorful brand image that will be used to kick off an "incredibly exciting" year for the firm.

In an update to the official Microsoft blog, brand strategy general manager Jeff Hansen said now is the "perfect time for a change," as the company prepares to release new versions of "nearly all" of its products this year. The new logo will be a part of Microsoft's aim for a "common look and feel" across its products, including Windows 8, Windows 8 Phone, and new iterations of Office and Xbox services.

"This wave of new releases is not only a reimagining of our most popular products, but also represents a new era for Microsoft, so our logo should evolve to visually accentuate this new beginning," Hansen said in a statement.

Explaining the logo more specifically, Hansen said the logotype is a Segoe font, which is the same font the company uses in its products and marketing materials. As for the symbol, Microsoft says having a symbol is important "in a world of digital motion." The multicolored squares, Microsoft says, are intended to depict the company's "diverse portfolio of products."

The new Microsoft logo will be used "prominently" beginning today on Microsoft's official website, at its retail stores, and through its television ads and marketing materials. Hansen cautioned that making a change like this "takes time," acknowledging that the former logo may be spotted for some time.

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Sgthombre
Sgthombre

So... it's like its from the 80's? Nice. 

game-ster23
game-ster23

Very simple. Less is more in this case.

AlexFili
AlexFili

This cannot be the real logo surely

darksiED70
darksiED70

I must be color blind. I dont see colors. I only see a white flag of surrender to apple and google. Im happy to be alive to see this company who has sold and resold the same piece of crap over the years die a slow and painful death.

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

It looks a lot like the old Microsoft logo (or rather the Windows logo), just ... boring. Why are they making it boring?

Dragdar
Dragdar

the square logo designs are usually used by banks to communicate stability and security

.

technology logo's have to be exciting

ispeakfact
ispeakfact

Casual logo...just like 360 games. :)

theKSMM
theKSMM

What I'm happy about is that Microsoft seems to finally be realizing that it needs to sell an ecosystem of products, not just a bunch of things operating in their own silos.  Apple realized this more than a decade ago and has been kicking everyone's butt with that philosophy ever since.

 

For example, why can't videos recorded on a Windows Phone 7 device play back on an XBOX 360?  Could you imagine an iPhone video not being playable on an Apple TV?  It's unthinkable.

 

I certainly hope that the integration extends beyond the look of the interfaces to the interaction between products and devices.  As Microsoft plans to branch into tablets and push harder into phones and set-top boxes, they really need to nail that part of the puzzle to compete with Apple and Google.

blackothh
blackothh

Simon says a kindergartener could have done better

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

You guys/gals are all nerd, its just a logo.

enoslives7
enoslives7

Too bad they did'nt use some of that effort to fix Windows 7.

digitaltiger
digitaltiger

This doesn't scream to me high tech or cutting edge, it screams simple and lazy. This is pathetic for a huge company like microsoft.

darksiED70
darksiED70

A product is not defined by its logo. Its the people behind it. Microsoft products will always and forever be expensive pieces of craap.

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

Much like modern art, design is 95% "I could do that" and 5% "Yeah, but you didn't."

RaddaRaddaRadda
RaddaRaddaRadda

Non-designers don't understand good design.

 

There are things this logo will make them think about Microsoft that they don't realize. People who don't have a bias against the company will resonate better with this logo. Its bright colors and the choice of gray lettering are softer and more inviting than the thick black logotype that served as their logo previously.

 

It's an improvement. Any *non-designer* who believes otherwise, or that they can do a better job—just stop. You can't.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

Gonna spend a few minutes "creating" a few different multi-coloured square logos to patent... the time spent will surely make at least a small profit in the long run.

TURBO-BURNER
TURBO-BURNER

Lol, That would be a great use 4 a recyable bin

Dragdar
Dragdar

technology moves, flows, changes

 

this logo tells us how M$ became a BIG, behemoth corporation,  impenetrable to competition.

 

they tried to make it look friendly with those pastel colors, but it's a like a person putting on a fake smile

damo320
damo320

 @Cozm1kaos Which in all likelihood incurred a higher single design fee than you will earn in 20yrs. Was it worth it? Nope.

TheBlackEclipse
TheBlackEclipse

 @enoslives7 7 is an excellent OS. The only way you could argue you had a better one is if you were running Linux of some sort. OSX Lion? No thanks.

coop36
coop36

 @enoslives7 Ive yet to have any problems with 7 actually. I think its great, been using Windows since 95 version too.

Damnation_6
Damnation_6

 @darksiED70Recently I was in a Computer store. I saw a MacBook Pro for 1800 euro's.I looked at the specs and went on to find the first laptop with comparable specs. The ASUS is question was 600 euro and had better hardware.

 

So the biggest Microsoft compeditor isn't much cheeper....at all....but trice as expensive. The only thing cheeper is stuff like Ubuntu (Cause it is free).

damo320
damo320

 @Dragon_Nexus There is nothing modern about removing every dynamic element from the previous logo which was obviously designed with the idea of conveying innovation and moving forward / progression.

damo320
damo320

 @RaddaRaddaRadda Just so you remember - this was the obtuse comment that started off our debate. "Non-designers don't understand good design". Non designers are your customers and clients mate - so acting like you are some kind of rock god whose adoring fans will pay to see you do whatever you want is false.

 

You are 3 yrs in mate - better pull that finger out if you ever hope to own your own design business. 

damo320
damo320

 @RaddaRaddaRadda Been a designer over 15yrs now and I've won awards and I say this is lazy design. If within the brief (as it should have been) the intention to show innovation, progress and technology this logo fails on every level. I would say this was less of a designer driven design and very possibly suit driven design. So please don't pat this crap on the back. Not all big brands logos are genius the "non designer" simply doesn't understand. Some are just crap.

Mr_Bodywave
Mr_Bodywave

 @RaddaRaddaRadda

Like you are a designer.  Right.  Please, this is a pretty basic logo with clear objectives and won't even register with consumers as being any different. 

redruk
redruk

 @TheBlackEclipse Used to be inexpensive compared to the *NIX world. Nowadays when the OS license costs 1/3rd of the retail price of a device, it is considered expensive.

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

 @damo320 Re-read the title. It's a change to the Microsoft logo, not the Windows logo.

RaddaRaddaRadda
RaddaRaddaRadda

 @damo320  @Dragon_Nexus But it is very modern to design minimalist logos with simple colors, this one showing the Windows logo in Windows 8 style, likely to emphasize the operating system's simplicity. They are going all in on Windows 8, and this logo reflects that.

RaddaRaddaRadda
RaddaRaddaRadda

 @damo320 That's great and all --- I'll even admit that I only have 3 years of design experience --- but it doesn't make my design opinion somehow less valid than yours.

 

It doesn't have to shake the foundations of design to be good. It works and, in my opinion, it's better than the predecessor. Even if it is a blatant nod to Apple's success.

RaddaRaddaRadda
RaddaRaddaRadda

 @Mr_Bodywave I am, actually. Not that it matters, or that you care.

 

Consumers don't have to (and won't) consciously make a big deal of it. Good, iconic logo design does have an effect on people. Studies have been done --- look it up, if you'd like to be so enlightened.

damo320
damo320

 @Cozm1kaos :P you're the one calling everyone nerds. I simply stated the likely design studio fee for that logo was likely more than you (or I) will earn in 20yrs individually. When companies expend that sort of $$$ its never "just a logo" and therefore we should be judgemental about whether that money was well spent. When a logo is simply dreadfully inappropriate as this one is it deserves to be lambasted. 

damo320
damo320

 @Dragon_Nexus What are you talking about? I'm talking about the logotype "Microsoft" italic, bold and with the "s" cutting in. When did I say I was referring to the windows logo?

RaddaRaddaRadda
RaddaRaddaRadda

 @Dragon_Nexus  Like I said, they're all-in on Windows 8. Therefore, they adopt this Windows-esque logo as their company logo.

damo320
damo320

 @RaddaRaddaRadda Believe it or not there is such a thing as a second rate designer. If you think all designers are the same in experience or quality it shows a great degree of naivety.

 

There are award winning designers working in high profile studios or owning their own successful design business and then there are in-house designers at factories - working on disposable mickey mouse trash designs. You say only designers know good design and non designers don't. I disagree. A large number of supposed designers don't know good design. T

 

he attitude and attributes of those individuals who "push" design even on small fry jobs are as unique as you can get. Within the population of designers in Australia you're looking at about 15% cream 65% average and 30% downright horrible.

RaddaRaddaRadda
RaddaRaddaRadda

 @damo320 I have looked around, and found designers are mostly split on it. Suppose Apple-minded people are more biased than non-Apple folks.

 

Microsoft probably wanted people to think 'Apple' when looking at the logo. That's the biggest reason I thought of it as a success --- people will see this and think 'Apple'. That was my gut reaction, and looking through the comments, a lot of people are talking the same thing: 'a flag of surrender to Apple', 'copying off Apple'. Yeah, it is. But their imitation of Apple will also pull in some of that market. Which is exactly what they want. They're losing people to Apple; they want that market back. It doesn't sway me, but it'll sway some folks for sure.

 

I agree wholeheartedly on the combination of graphic and web designers into one position. My degree is in graphic design, but I've found myself having to return to learn the web end of things because higher ups --- non-designers who don't understand design --- think it can be made into one position. I know damn well that one is creative and the other is more logical. You're not going to find many who can do both well. Two different sides of the brain.

 

It gives you no right, however, to discredit other designers as second-rate simply because they have an opinion different than yours.

 

But whatever. Sweet life you must live in your enlightened circle of design excellence. I'll try to stay out of your aura next time.

damo320
damo320

 @RaddaRaddaRadda You can think as you will - nobody will argue with that. I think this logo was a blatant waste of money, is badly kerned, pathetically insipid and lacks vision / any reflection of the companies position in the market. If you believe otherwise that is for you to say but if you do some research in the design community you may find that many others are spotting the numerous flaws in this poorly thought out logo with even more poorly executed typography.

 

M$ have only succeeded in making themselves look amateurish. I certainly hope that isn't your desired end goal when trying to convince clients that any logo is good enough once you plaster it on loads of stuff.

 

Unfortunately there is a current wave of poor design thought sweeping through the ranks of the junior graphic design field. The root source is web design. The design courses remain the same length in years of teaching yet now these courses with the same contact hrs expect to push out wise designers while also pushing out fully trained web "technicians". Web coding should always have remained a job in its own right but sadly most design institutes decided to merge the two disciplines and now the world will suffer second rate combo web / graphic designers spouting off about the traditional design sphere as though they know it all - right in the face of far more experience practitioners who specialise in that field.

 

When this generic , flat and boring M$ logo falls flat and is re-designed sometime in the next few years you tell me how wildly successful it was compared with the previous dynamic word mark which lasted some 20yrs.

RaddaRaddaRadda
RaddaRaddaRadda

 @damo320 You don't get it... maybe get off Apple's nuts for a minute and use your "15 years of design experience" to figure out why Microsoft would want this sort of logo. Just think about it.

 

You insist that Microsoft's logo should represent how "big, bold, and brash" they are. Why would they want to hold onto some huge corporate logotype that only reinforces the negative opinion people have of the company?

 

They want their IMAGE to be that of the chic, boutique Apple. Big corporations are always going to be big. What this logo change is meant to do is to change public perception. This logo represents how they want to be perceived, not as they operate. It really is that simple.

 

BP, likewise, has a green and yellow flower logo, lower case 'bp'. And it makes them seem really eco-friendly and shit. They're an oil company! But the logo gives the impression that they really do care about the environment. Almost makes you forget about that whole oil spill thing...

 

Walmart did it in recent years too --- they changed from their all-caps bold logotype, 'WAL-MART', hyphenated with a star... to just 'Walmart', title case, no hyphen. And an orange flower-esque logo to go with it. Did they change their practices any? I doubt it. But it sure made them seem less threatening or domineering to the populace. This practice works, whether you want to admit it or not.

 

This logo will have the same effect on tech consumers. Many people will bite and go for the Windows 8 push Microsoft is going for. Some may even begin to see Microsoft as an Apple-esque entity. It's not about who they actually are, or how they really operate --- because when you're that big, you won't change. It's all about changing their public perception.

 

It won't happen overnight. But it will happen.

damo320
damo320

 @RaddaRaddaRadda lol magical design brief?

 

I merely stated the obvious brief my friend. Anyone who knows what Microsoft has done in the past and aims to do and the field they are in would know what was appropriate. This was suit driven design. This is what you get when the corporate bigwigs decide they know better than everyone else.  This is what you get when start a logo redesign without a strong emphasis on the reason for change and what you are wanting to capture in your logo.

 

You tell me how removing the dynamic and creating a static logo is an appropriate way to represent a huge historically domineering company which essentially is about interaction and progress?

 

Apple on the other hand... their logo epitomises their minimalist ideology from day 1 and is full of symbolism. Do Apple need to reinvent their logo? Nope. They just update the look of the existing logo. Is an esoteric logo appropriate for Apple? yes they've always been on about product design and the seamless marriage of OS with hardware. They have in their history sometimes been relegated to "boutique" status due to their specialist servicing of the design industry for many years - plus their smaller but loyal customer base in general.

 

Now the real question... is Microsoft minimalist? Hmm... M$ are BIG, bold and brash and that needs to be represented in some way. They aren't some minimalist boutique company that made it big of late. They are M$. They ARE the BIG BOYS. Not the subtle shade of grey, expresso sipping, black turtleneck wearing types. So is this new logo in anyway representing that? No. I could write an essay on all the things wrong with this logo and why it doesn't even meet the brief of covering the public knowledge and history of this organisation let alone their field or roles in progression of technology.

 

When a logo goes backwards in symbolism and uniqueness it is never a good thing. The wordmark logo they had previously was at least distinctive, bold and indicated movement / progression. This new logo isn't. This logo is not unique. With so little changing / playing with the typeface and a set of 4 boxes as a reference to windows this is far from unique.

 

If want a classic example of taking a great logo and screwing it look at what FHA Design did to the Cato designed BHP logo when they changed to BHP Billiton. Cato's BHP logo was brilliant, timeless, geometric, strong and industrial - 100% appropriate but uniquely BHP. FHA come in fresh from their horrendous Sydney Olympics branding and logo and f**k up the big Australian with some techno sludge just for fashions sake. 

 

People like to bag Cato sometimes but his companies logo designs are always unique and they last. The Commonwealth Bank logo remains to this day a great example of a unique, distinctive and highly appropriate logo. The geometric design which has its origins in the Southern Cross also features a bold word mark with overlaid "m"s and he wisely retained the original corporate colours of yellow and black which are very strong.

 

Change for the sake of change is never good. Change driven by some genuine shift in the company's outlook is worthwhile but only when accompanied by a logo which genuinely conveys the essence of the company in a meaningful and unique way. 

 

Considering the price tag this M$ logo probably came in at - this design firm is probably laughing all the way to the bank.

RaddaRaddaRadda
RaddaRaddaRadda

 @damo320 Where is this magical design brief you have access to? Because you speak as though you have some direct insight to the design process behind this identity change.

 

You seem unable to separate the design from your preconceptions of Microsoft and the notion that they've taken a page out of Apple's book --- of course they have; they've been doing that all along with the Windows Phone and Windows 8. The design itself, independent of Microsoft's rep or the similarity to Apple, isn't nearly as bad as you proclaim.

 

Hell, if their MO is to look like Apple --- even if that is a poor practice and makes them entirely unoriginal --- they've succeeded. Because that has been everyone's first thought in looking at this thing. People have already made the connection Microsoft wanted us to make.

 

We, the critics of the Internet, are more aware of such things, and can't be so easily patronized. We're not the ones who are supposed to view the logo as new, clean, simple, and modern. Our opinions and brand loyalties are already set.

 

But John Q. Consumer, in general, is dumb. They will be aware of the change, on some level, and if Microsoft plans on plastering this logo on all of their wares, people will begin to have the same association with Microsoft as they do with Apple.

 

As a designer, no, it's a terrible practice. The notion of emulating Apple likely was not a designer's idea. But if that is the task they were assigned, they succeeded in making a pretty Apple-looking Microsoft logo.

damo320
damo320

 @RaddaRaddaRadda Its the fact that it is simply an inappropriate answer to a brief which any member of the community who knows what Microsoft is and does. Hence many will deem it a categorical failure. I'm only one of many who share that view.

 

Emulation of a more successful competitor is never a smart move on a design brief too. This is why I think the design was driven by suits rather than designers / creatives.

 

If Apple carried on this way when MS was top dog they'd never have reached a point of difference and the lofty heights they've attained.