Microsoft's new logo: Bold or blah?

The software giant revamps its brand identity for the first time in 25 years. But does it go far enough?

By Aug 27, 2012 10:51AM

In a bid for a younger image, Microsoft (MSFT) on Thursday unveiled its first logo redesign in 25 years. The old one was simply the company's name in bold, italicized type with a single quirky notch in the "o." The rebrand puts the colorful, if pedestrian, Windows grid next to the Microsoft name, now set in a grayed-out version of the more modern Segoe font.

The four colors in the grid "signify strength, simplicity, boldness, and other terms that sound great in a brand meeting," says Sal Cangeloso at Geek. But, problematically, "they are also the colors found in the Google logo."

The change comes as the world's largest software maker prepares to launch new or significantly updated versions of a wide range of its key products, including Windows 8, Windows Phone and Office. The idea is to project "a newness and freshness," Jeff Hansen, Microsoft's general manager of brand strategy, tells The Seattle Times

But is the new design any good?

What a disappointment. It's hard to believe it took Microsoft 25 years to come up with this, says Chris Matyszczyk at CNET. A corporate logo, like a lover's new hairdo, should make you coo, "You're looking younger, fitter, more startling." This minimalist look gives you "the feeling that the company had been to the hairdresser and then merely asked for a trim." Microsoft needed to make itself look more human and modern, but this design feels "a little too cold, a little too calculated."

Actually, this is perfect. Microsoft could have gone for frills, says Chris Burns at Slash Gear, with shadows behind the Windows symbol, say, or a more idiosyncratic font. Instead it chose to project "simplicity and the effortless implementation," which is just what customers need as machines get smaller and more complex in the mobile era. Microsoft is saying it's ready for the post-PC world, and "we're glad to see this legend in the software business keep up with the times."

It's blah, but blah is OK. This logo is fine, Armin Vit, a designer and editor of branding blog Brand New, tells The Seattle Times. "There's nothing offensive about it; there's nothing exciting about it." But that's an improvement over the spiky "1980s world-domination logo that was like 'Fear Microsoft, we're going to take over your computers.'" This soft, colorful look makes Microsoft look more approachable, and in today's market, that's a good thing.

(Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)

More from The Week

Aug 27, 2012 12:11PM
Really cool! Gets rid of the curvy, chromey and iconoc legacy. Perfect for Windows 8 minimalistic and modern user interface. Also it doesn't have a stupid piece missing that someone bit off.
Aug 27, 2012 8:24PM
Microsoft's new logo is just fine.  A terrific American company.  Couldn't be any prouder!
Aug 28, 2012 2:16PM

I'm sorry, the more "densional" logo is much more appealing. This is REALLY bland and boring. 

With all the great graphics programs and visual effects that can be used to design a logo...this stinks, no artistry at all and little to NO talent to create.


Wonder how much the guy who came up with this got paid?...TOO MUCH! 

Aug 27, 2012 8:41PM
The new logo is very tile-ish. Not very stylish.
Aug 28, 2012 8:28AM
Probably paid millions of dollars to go from nice to nothing. No wonder they have been crushed.
Aug 27, 2012 1:13PM
A waving banner inside a bubble......Now a quarter of a Rubick's cube,?
Aug 28, 2012 3:06PM
Microsoft, now available in 4-ply tissue rolls.
Aug 27, 2012 12:59PM
It would make a good $h!t paper design - Charmin Micro Soft 4ply Color Wipes. 
Aug 27, 2012 12:45PM
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

123 rated 1
262 rated 2
480 rated 3
651 rated 4
649 rated 5
629 rated 6
616 rated 7
496 rated 8
346 rated 9
111 rated 10

Top Picks

TAT&T Inc9



Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.