Microsoft gets a logo makeover for the first time since 1987

By on August 23, 2012, 11:00 AM

Microsoft today revealed a new look for its corporate logo, marking the first time in 25 years the company has changed its image and the fifth time overall. The new logo features the name "Microsoft" in the Segoe font — a proprietary font used in the firm’s products and marketing for several years -- alongside a multicolored Windows symbol intended to "signal the heritage but also signal the future.”

Microsoft is preparing to launch a range of products this fall, including Windows 8 and a new Surface tablet running the OS, as well as Windows Phone 8. The software giant's new logo reflects a change in its products’ look and feel which relies heavily on a tile-based UI formerly known as Metro -- now it’s just called Windows 8 Style. It also arrives just months after introducing a new single-colored Windows 8 logo.

The new corporate image will begin its rollout today, appearing on Microsoft.com and the company’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, followed by new TV commercials airing over the news few weeks.

Speaking with Seattle Times, Microsoft's general manager of brand strategy Jeff Hansen also commented on the company’s past logos and their influences. The first logo, used from 1975 to 1979, featured a disco-y typeface with the words Micro on one line and Soft below it, reflecting how co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen came up with the original company name using the words "microcomputers" and "software."

The second logo has briefly used between 1980 and 1981 and its jagged edges, strong diagonals typography reflected the computer and video-game culture of the time. The third logo was used from 1982 to 1986 introduced a stylized letter "o" with lines through it, while some tweaks in 1987 resulted in the logo most people are familiar with, featuring a slice in the first “o” and a connection between the letters "f" and “t”.




User Comments: 27

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treeski treeski said:

Not loving it. They could have done something much better. As someone pointed out on another site, when the logo is small, the gap between the red and green looks much narrowed compared to the other gaps.

howzz1854 said:

like it. modern day is all about simplicity.

Guest said:

Suddenly I have this inexplicable urge to buy Windows 8. :)

Guest said:

Did they make it using Windows paint?

Robert Helton Robert Helton said:

Probley so, because that is a very simple design

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Does it need flashy lights and colors? What is wrong with simple and easy? Just look at how good Apple is doing with thier dumbed down devices and logo.

Guest said:

My birth year :'(

Zen Zen, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm personally not surprised at all with this sudden change with the Microsoft logo. Granted, some can argue that a change was very much needed, seeing that they've had the same one for basically 25 years. But I'm not one that could be pooled into a group that can argue a change was needed. I have been very happy and pleased with the prior logo......

I personally feel that this change is curiously and somewhat suspiciously being done around the anticipated launch of Windows 8. I feel this to be more of a marketing push, as to better promote Windows 8 than anything else. Microsoft didn't need to do this, the prior logo was doing them just fine! I more so believe that this logo change also could be more so done out of possible desperation than anything else. I have a funny feeling that Microsoft knows darn well the resistance it's getting out there about Windows 8, but if a company pony's up and makes a change like implementing the Windows 8 logo as their own, they might feel it could go a ways towards possibly prompting the Windows 8 line of products.

To me this is nothing more than a last minute marketing ploy, one last moment before the launch of Windows 8 to garner some spot light and make the worlds attention focus upon Windows 8.

R3DP3NGUIN R3DP3NGUIN said:

Simple is better and cheaper!, who needs to hire a graphics designer when they can get some monkey of a street.

Guest said:

The world is round. Round mean they are innovative and creative. When change to square mean they are not moving anymore.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

Damn they put an (R) next to the last one... I was going to steal it.

Guest said:

1980-1981 inspired by Metallica! :D

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

"Hey did you finish that new logo yet? We're supposed to present it today!"

"Hold on a sec" *Opens up paint...

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

1980-1981 inspired by Metallica!

That logo was made before Metallica, so it's quite the opposite.

Jibberish18 said:

It's boring. I know it's suppose to personify the new Metro theme but couldn't they have done anything to spruce it up a bit?

DanUK DanUK said:

Love it! Nice and simple.. long overdue too!

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't know about the rest of the world but personally, I couldn't give two sh_ts about anyones logo. It's the product I care about, not some stupid iconic image that supposedly represents the products name. I can't say I care for the changes that were placed on the logo but honestly how is that going to change how the product works to my benefit?

1 person liked this | Zoltan Head said:

I hope they know what they're doing, risking everything with such an imaginative, courageous design....

Guest said:

How appropriate, the previous logo has that rather timeless Serious Business look that showed up in the 80's but which still in 2012 commands respect if you have anything to do with (and want to appeal to) big business. Bold, black, with the smallest concession to style. The new logo is more like a high school kid, holding up bright colors in an empty field to try and (desperately) get your attention.

This is a testament to both the graphics designers, who have managed to communicate Microsoft's new direction, and to Microsoft's management, who have taken the company from glorious domination in the peak of the PC era and parlayed it into a noisy also-ran, fighting for the crumbs left over from Apple and Google.

Great Job.

Zen Zen, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I hope they know what they're doing, risking everything with such an imaginative, courageous design....

Rarely, and I do mean rarely do posts get a belly chuckle out of me.....hahahaha........"imaginative".....lol......
...."courageous".......LMAO..........and "design".......hahaha.......I think lack there of!

Guest said:

Looks absolutley fine to me. Very clean and modern.

Not sure whythe "f" and "t" are joined together. That is curious.

People who are liable to moan about it probaby moan about everything. It's really not that bit a deal and it doesn't look bad. It shows confidence. Will it still show that in a year? Remains to be seen but I hope so.

UnknownSky said:

It's clean...that is all I like about it...otherwise it's just another logo really. Anyways, onto the next article!

Guest said:

that's the first thing I noticed myself. I won't be surprised if it has to do with stupid copyright laws, just in case the "f" standing on its own could suggest certain famous site, it's getting to that point, I'm afraid...

Guest said:

As someone pointed out on another site, when the logo is small, the gap between the red and green looks much narrowed compared to the other gaps.

This just happens, if you scale down the bitmap you may have at hands by chance (like the one displayed here) using an algorithm you don't know (like your browser scaling down bitmaps). Even in this scenario, you just have to play around and you will always find a size, that has perfect proportional looks. But MS couldn't care less. Of course, they have a vector graphics source for that logo, which you can scale down to any desired bitmap size without this effect showing up.

In contrast, the silly cast shadow in the extremely ugly previous logo is much more likely to impose limitations on how small you can scale it (without making changes to the original). In particular, it will make the gap between green and yellow look smaller.

All in all, the new logo looks much better to me in every aspect I could think of. It's in fact the least infantile look they ever promoted.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

I'm personally not surprised at all with this sudden change with the Microsoft logo. Granted, some can argue that a change was very much needed, seeing that they've had the same one for basically 25 years. But I'm not one that could be pooled into a group that can argue a change was needed. I have been very happy and pleased with the prior logo......

I personally feel that this change is curiously and somewhat suspiciously being done around the anticipated launch of Windows 8. I feel this to be more of a marketing push, as to better promote Windows 8 than anything else. Microsoft didn't need to do this, the prior logo was doing them just fine! I more so believe that this logo change also could be more so done out of possible desperation than anything else. I have a funny feeling that Microsoft knows darn well the resistance it's getting out there about Windows 8, but if a company pony's up and makes a change like implementing the Windows 8 logo as their own, they might feel it could go a ways towards possibly prompting the Windows 8 line of products.

To me this is nothing more than a last minute marketing ploy, one last moment before the launch of Windows 8 to garner some spot light and make the worlds attention focus upon Windows 8.

I think the new logo is less about quieting the resistance to windows 8, but more of the next step in redefining themselves as a company in general. Microsoft is making radical changes across the board with windows 8 as the flagship. The picture I'm getting is that they want to redefine themselves from the OS monopoly that had little reason to develop its software to a fully developed ecosystem of fast, modern products with new UI's that will still retain familiarity with its current costumer base.

Whether of not that new image becomes a reality depends on its new line of windows 8 products. If the products succeed as planned though, the new logo would be necessary for the public to fully accept the new Microsoft.

As for the logo itself, I would have preferred something more complicated. That being said, they made the right choice sticking with something simple and familiar. The market demands simplicity out of its tech now. Apple knows that, and as a result are sticking to the monochromatic, featureless apple. Despite their need for radical changes in their products, its a good that Microsoft recognized that there was little need to change their logo. It's similar enough to be familiar, but different enough to see that something changed in the company.

Zoltan Head said:

Rarely, and I do mean rarely do posts get a belly chuckle out of me.....hahahaha........"imaginative".....lol......
...."courageous".......LMAO..........and "design".......hahaha.......I think lack there of!

Sorry Zen, I had a sudden bout of irony....

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