A Symbol for Microsoft
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 Categories: Branding
Last week, Microsoft Corporation unveiled its fifth corporate logo within 37 years of business. The startling fact is not that the previous logo was 25 years old, but that it didn’t have a symbol. It was just the word “Microsoft.” (How is it that I never noticed that before?)
I asked our creative director Mike Weston, “how important is a symbol?” He replied, “One word: Nike.” A symbol transcends language and space barriers. It’s vital.
Microsoft seems very excited about this new, grid-like symbol. The design of the symbol seems modern but simple—so simple a child could’ve created it. Perhaps its simplicity will help carry it through the next 25 years.
The new symbol and typography is a good branding move. Why? They are bringing together their product logos and connecting those products back to their parent brand. According to Jeffrey Meisner, Microsoft’s goal is to create “a common look and feel across [our] products providing a familiar and seamless experience on PCs, phones, tablets and TVs.”
This logo change brings back memories from two years ago when another internationally-recognized brand was changing its logo. However, when GAP tried to update its logo to a smaller blue square and lower case type, the public outcry was so loud that they quickly changed the logo back to its original logo – the dark blue square with all-caps that we all know and love.
But Microsoft didn’t bother to ask the world’s opinion like Gap did. They just launched it. Microsoft’s website proudly displays the new logo, and The Official Microsoft Blog shouts its glories.
“The Microsoft brand is about much more than logos or product names. We are lucky to play a role in the lives of more than a billion people every day. The ways people experience our products are our most important “brand impressions.” That’s why the new Microsoft logo takes its inspiration from our product design principles while drawing upon the heritage of our brand values, fonts and colors.”
Watch for the logo to be implemented at stores, across packaging, on TV spots and online. Then watch for rollouts of updated logos in combination with product launches in the coming year.
In ten years, let’s see how Microsoft’s brand symbol stacks up against symbols from Gap and Nike!