Well, Microsoft unveiled a brand new logo, the first time in twenty five years. It’s no secret around these parts that I’m a fan of Microsoft’s work, both in the mobile phone department and on their soon-to-be
Tablet Surface front. This has been a heck of a few years for Microsoft, and the next six months or so may prove definitive in their life as a company.
The logo itself is rather unassuming; some have described it as minimalistic, while others point back to the Windows 1.0 graphic. I rather like the simplicity of it, and it is easily reminiscent of the UI already present in Windows Phone and soon to be prominent in the full blown Windows 8. The company has focused in the last few years on a few things, primarily: they’ve wanted to get users jumping into Windows in a user-friendly way, and they’ve sought to update their visuals beyond anything we’ve seen before. Windows Phone 7 was a great example of this. Recall for just a moment Windows Mobile, in any of its forms. I’ll pause while you get those shudders out of your system. The world rejoiced when Windows Phone 7 came out, even if hardly anyone wanted to buy it, because it meant less Windows Mobile 6 or 6.5 phones on the market, and that can only be described as an objective good.
Windows 8 shows this shift just as well, though may be more difficult to stomach for many users. The UI for the desktop OS due out this fall is clearly designed for touch input. While a non-touch interface will still technically be compatible, I’ve spent a bit of time with the most recent public release of Windows 8, and my non-touch-capable laptop feels mostly confused. Things run well, and for the most part look pretty, but I’m still not quite sure how to multitask when I’m knee-deep in full-screen only windows. The desktop “app,” of course, solves this problem, but feels tacked on rather than a primary focus.
All this to say, though, that the logo follows this direction. There isn’t anything imposing about the four squares. The colors and shapes are familiar and already connected to Microsoft and Windows, and they leave the impression that something is happening behind those little panels. The logo works, ultimately, but only time will tell if it will feel outdated in the next few years. It’s tough to say, since this minimalism is relatively recent in the tech world (look at any logo from the 90’s, period), though we tend to describe logos like this as ‘timeless.’ Will this have the staying power of Coca Cola’s logo? I don’t know, but time will tell.
Regardless, I’m excited about the things Microsoft is doing.