Going (Micro)soft on us?

So after 25 years of design mediocrity, Microsoft has launched a radical new logo, as part of their new Metro design language rollout. And you know what? It’s almost good.

In a statement on one of Microsoft’s blogs, Brand Strategy GM Jeff Hansen explained:

“The logo has two components: the logotype and the symbol. For the logotype, we are using the Segoe font which is the same font we use in our products as well as our marketing communications. The symbol’s squares of colour are intended to express the company’s diverse portfolio of products.”

Oh the sweet irony. Finally breaking away from years of corporate, design-ignorant attitudes Microsoft has actually come full circle. I mean squares? (That joke just writes itself.) The logotype, though clearly an improvement over its predecessor (Helvetica Bold Italic), is clearly an attempt to mimic chief rival Apple’s friendly sans-serif (Myriad Pro). Oh, if you’d like to see a funny visual flowchart of how to get from Apple to Windows, this one is great.

The resemblance to the new logo for Windows, their long-running and oft-maligned OS, is striking. Admittedly, they’ve taken a set-square to the logo and kept the colours that Windows 8 will lose in favour of going all blue, but somehow Windows and Microsoft seem to be trading places brand-wise.

On the CR Blog, Patrick Burgoyne wrote:

“For so many years, Microsoft’s graphic design has been about as stylish as its founder. With Metro it has developed a coherent, clean, considered typographically-led approach across its entire portfolio of products. Moreover, it is one that rejects so many of the clichés of tech companies in favour of an attempt at least to learn from the masters of graphic design – in developing Metro, for example, the Microsoft team cited Vignelli, Müller-Brockmann and even Experimental Jetset as influences on their thinking.”

So by stripping out unnecessary visual elements like gradients and faux 3D, Microsoft seem to be on a path finally to cleaning up their act (aesthetically-speaking at least).

Written by Boris Müller, Creative at All about the Idea

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