Microsoft debuts new symbol and logotype, innovates on little

New Microsoft Logo - 2012

Earlier today Microsoft released a brand new logo, retiring their previous version after a 25 year stint in the limelight. The symbol and logotype is pretty much as simple as you can get. The symbol is four squares – red, green, blue and gold, ultimately making one larger square. It echoes the Windows logo from years gone by as the newer incarnation that Pentagram designed. The logotype is set in Segoe, Microsoft’s in-house typeface.

Overall the new branding isn’t bad, but it’s certainly not remarkable. The new symbol is certainly Microsoft-esque but it seems like there’s no life behind those windows. The logotype is fine, though I think it’s funny that Microsoft is trying to find deep meaning in some of the nuances of it. In an article from today’s Seattle Times, Jeff Hansen, Microsoft’s general manager of brand strategy, described it preciously.

The “f” and “t” in the name “Microsoft” are connected in the new logo, just as they were in the old. “It was one of the subtleties we thought we could bring forward,” Hansen said.

I get that you want to try and sell your brand, but c’mon now. And of course, with any good redesign comes the backlash from your supporters. Microsoft posted the new branding on their Facebook page and 1,600 comments later no one is quite happy with it.

I just find the whole thing so milquetoast. It;s interesting that they didn’t try to go without the logotype, joining the ranks of Apple, Nike, and Target. I think I would realize the four squares are Microsoft, though I’m not certain about the average consumer.

Though, shouldn’t Microsoft take a note from the Apple or Nike playbook and go for the “tastemakers”? When Jobs returned to Apple he put design first, putting care and quality into the aesthetics of everything that is Apple. That obviously paid off as Apple is currently the most valuable company in the world. Apple has now infiltrated the lives of everyone, becoming popular with design savvy and soccer moms alike. Wouldn’t it be smart for Microsoft to take a similar stance? I think the potential problem is that Microsoft is still a tech driven company, not a design driven company. I’m hopeful that the changes that have been made as of lately are a signal that they’re trying to make a radical shift, only time will tell. The Windows 8 UI is definitely innovative and new, they definitely aren’t taking a Samsung approach to design. But will it be enough?

August 23, 2012 / By