The Power of Logo Knowledge

Well the big news last week was that eBay is updating its logo after 17 years. And you know what I thought when I saw the new logo? “Well that looks like it came from the same guys who did the new Microsoft logo.”

See what I mean? No? Well here it is again (in case you missed my post last month):

Now I thought this might be a good opportunity for a look back at Microsoft’s logos of old. I mean, Ebay (or is it eBay?) don’t have a long, winding history of corporate identities. Not like good old M$. Here you go (in reverse order):

1987-2012: Helvetica Black Italic, was meant to show both strength and dynamism. Oh and that cheeky little chunk bitten out of the first ‘o’. Microsoft were already building a reputation as a bit of a corporate bully, likely to take a bite out of the competition. This logo endured for a quarter of a century. In other words, it encompassed both George Bush Junior and Senior’s presidencies.

1982-1987: In the days before proper digital fonts, this monstrosity endured a full 5 years. I guess that middle ‘O’ had some sort of importance, as it seems to be a bizarre homage to HAL (again, not a great reference for instilling confidence in your technology).

1980-1982: Now this is one of those logos that’s so bad it’s good. Like some sort of Iron Maiden-inspired rock band, this logo was completely unsuitable for a technology company. Personally, I love it, and wish deeply that this could make a retro comeback.

1975-1980: Well this was their first ever logo, and it would really be unfair to criticise it, considering Apple’s 1976 equivalent (Google it)…

So there you go. Now you know all the weird and wonderful branding decisions that have been made at MS HQ in Redmond over the years. The current trend of taking an interesting logo, straightening it and cleaning it up doesn’t look to be slowing down. I think I can safely say that All about the Idea will not be following suit!

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