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The new Microsoft Windows 8 identity

admin Sat, 02/18/2012 - 08:49

As Microsoft prepares for the launch of Windows 8, the new version of its operating system, it has announced a bold new identity that takes the iconic Windows logo back to its roots—as a window. Designed by Pentagram’s Paula Scher, the logo re-imagines the familiar four-color symbol as a modern geometric shape that introduces a new perspective on the Microsoft brand.

Meeting with Microsoft early in the development process, Scher asked: “Your name is Windows. Why are you a flag?”

The answer is the brand started as a window, but over the years, as computing systems grew more powerful and graphics more complex, evolved into a flag. Scher made the assumption that the waving flag was probably a result of typical industry comments that a plain window looked too static, and that straight lines were too severe.

“I think the waving flag was meant to be a flag in perspective,” says Scher. “All of the clichés of technology design are based on the idea that icons should look dimensional like product design that tech designers call ‘chrome’––look at the iPhone interface where everything has gradation and drop shadows.”

The new identity returns the logo to its roots. The name Windows was originally introduced as a metaphor for seeing into screens and systems and a new view on technology. The new identity reintroduces this idea with the actual visual principles of perspective. It also reflects the Metro design language developed by Microsoft for its products, graphics and user interfaces.

In a post on his blog, Sam Moreau, Microsoft’s Principal Director of User Experience for Windows, says: “’Windows’ really is a beautiful metaphor for computing and with the new logo we wanted to celebrate the idea of a window, in perspective.”

Scher and her team created a complete system based on the idea of perspective. The designers completed motion studies to demonstrate the transformation of the flag shape into a window shape, to show that they weren’t that far apart and would be an easy and elegant transition for the brand. (Marks that fit into this perspective have been created for other Microsoft brands and programs, but have not yet been implemented.)

In its research, the team considered the Windows brand history. The original Windows logo looked like a window. As computing became more powerful, the logos for Windows began to get more complex, to show off the capabilities of Microsoft systems. The logo for Windows 1.0 resembled panes of glass. By Windows 3.1, this had been replaced with a waving effect for a sense of motion and the four colors that became a signature of the Windows brand.


The team designed the system to fit into lines of perspective.


The logo is redrawn at different sizes so the cross bars always appear at the same size.

Project Team: Paula Scher, partner-in-charge and designer; Lisa Kitschenberg and Drew Freeman, designers.

Via: Pentagram

15 Comments

arsumbrae's picture

Well... I think it's just a sketch... Microsoft like any big company never announces definitive logo image until last time... you know, business intelligence.

CaProPhoto's picture

It's not the worst, but if this simplistic perspective/modern branding is going to be the new trend our lives all just got easier, haha.... no more trying to shade and gradient shapes!!!

Phunkmonster's picture

I understand the thought behind it, but as soon as I see buzz words like 'Metro Design' et al, I immediately turn off! I work with design agencies and quite often have to deal with the results of these branding exercises, and most of the time all this speal is just bollocks to justify the expense of the consultation process ;)

Don't get me wrong, going back to the roots of the original brand is great. But the final execution feels weak and lacking substance. Microsoft could of commissioned a new bespoke typeface as well as a new logo to complete a more unique identity that summed up the new aesthic more readily. It feels as if Microsoft has deliberately gone out of its way to shun current trends to be truly unique. I think it's a risky gamble as this identity will more than likely date very quickly.

Unlike Apple, Microsoft doesn't have that unique symbol that can be used without words. Well, it does... the Windows icon, but this new render is so bland and nondiscript that it can't really work without the words.

AKMulligan's picture

"Metro Design"

When I was in the corporate world, we played a game called "Bullshit Bingo." Whenever somebody heard a term like "Take this offline," Think outside the box," or "We need to ramp up" there were points awarded.

AnardLogo's picture

There's no such a bad logo. It just a matter of like or dislike.
I personally like it, it's about time to go back to basic.
I am sick and tired of 3D effect kinda logos.

Great logos do not need effect, and simplicity always works.

icu2's picture

From a purely technical perspective (not going into my opinion about the design) anyone who has had ANY experience designing logos for web or digital display, will know that the thin white lines between the window panes will disappear when the logo is reduced.

At current size (as in the above image), the white lines separating the window panes are a mere one pixel across (with one pixel of anti-aliasing to either side). Any smaller you start to lose detail, and at a third of its current size (which is not that small), the white lines will be non existent.

Of course, fixed size logos with a minimum of one pixel for the line will fix the problem... but all i want to know is... WHY?? The design itself is amateurish at best, a year 9 graphics project in high school. Any amount of justification to the concept leads me back to the mere fact that the logo is simply a shocker.

I suppose that its simply a case of "Bullsh*t Baffles Brains"...

Thats why im proud to be an Apple man, at least our logo is BEAUTIFUL and i don't have to stare at that ugly excuse for a logo when i start work in the morning. It would ruin my entire day!

Then again, taking into consideration the dog-awful interface Windows have always produced and a logo that looks like it belongs back in 1983, maybe this logo best describes their product... below average.

Phunkmonster's picture

Actually, the logo has been designed so that at the very smallest size to the very largest, the negative space between the panes of glass is exactly the same - there's an example at the top. Well, it should be, but we all know how lazy designers are when it comes to sourcing and using correct files for production right? They'll simply take any logo and scale it up or down, and exactly what you've pointed out about the lines disappearing will happen ;)

rolf's picture

fine, 3D has been over done for a while now.

but SERIOUSLY?!
this is not at all a good logo.

sure, everything is RELATIVE.
what is considered good art is a matter of taste and everyone has their opinion.

but if art/taste/good design is so easy, any schmuck can do it.
there would be NO POINT in ART SCHOOLS.

taste is acquired.
there's a MINIMUM THRESHOLD to achieve.
otherwise taste & design have as little a good name as slots on the street.

you can not just DILUTE everything in the modern age.
then we'd be no different than animals.
we have a BRAIN for a REASON.
(that we behave more like animals & animals behave with more humanity, is besides the point now ; )

the new Windows logo, as everyone should recognize,
is only a BOW TO APPLE's elegant monotone logo!
yet Windows, hm, Windoughs, failed.
just because a. not every simplification is sophisticated or elegant!
b. their new logo is cold, passionless, does not symbolize anything that modern, and actually regresses back to the nightmare of DOS - if that's all it can evoke, hallelujah – Windoughs is dead, just as God is Dead as Nietzche cried out centuries ago...

oversimplification is not taste.
you need experience, depth, soul, and knowledge to reach simple sophistication or sophisticated simplicity.

anyone who thinks the new Windows logo is simply elegant is insulting the process of design as soulless.
technical skill does note make you an artist or designer with passion.
the GENIUS of design is TRANSCENDENTAL.
it's technical skill mixed with a sense of being like martial arts.
you need soul, passion, and a depth of understanding & historic perspective,
that also touches cultures universally.
if that's too much for you to agree with already,
you're not an artist, will not understand design - and so can't judge it.

design has to resonate to the non-designer public too,
yes, but then the discussion here is about GOOD DESIGN,
not what works simply because it did for decades ; )
just because a logo is recognizable for a while,
does not make it good design.
you have many ubiquitous logos out there, most of them ugly...

it's astonishing that Microsoft, never had taste as Steve Jobs said,
that even copying everything APPLE does, from concepts, to products, to marketing, to the retail store, to mobility etc.,
that they CAN'T EVEN COPY right,
not even a logo.
it's no surprise, that even hiring PAULA Scher, Pentagram studio or not, Microsoft failed.
come on. even an amateur or child has this much 3D sense. this design not something you have to pay for!?!
(i'm a graphic designer for 3 decades & have BA in gd...)
these idiots must have paid MILLIONS for nada.
they should've given all that cash to the NEEDY, homeless or funded some of our disastrous infrastructure.
what does it tell you about a company, that
a. they are the most WASTEFUL worldwide?!
b. they always have to OUTSOURCE, never have internal talent?!
this: forget about it! as the Geico gecko says in his british NY accent...

Microsoft & Windows have reached the Greek/Roman age of DECADENCE.
they are nothing more than a public laughing stock the last few years.
if they do not find their old spirit, soul, they will fail disappear like IBM & Dell or RIMM & Moto.
oh, but they never had SOUL - so one should rephrase: if they do not return to their MOJO they will...
oops again – they never were SEXY either.
hm, WHAT'S LEFT?!

Patrulla's picture

I agree with every word you said! it is absolutely DULL!!!!!! you don't need to be a designer to come up with this plane, passionless "logo" that doesn't work or express anything but pure boredom. I am surprised (disappointed) with Pentagram, how could they even dare to show this as an actual option?

SoGoodLogos's picture

Hey guys
doesnt matter, its still represent the windows systems..
meet me after a year to say its a bad logo..?!
remember that we make the brand..