Microsoft just rolled out the most significant change to its iconic corporate logo since 1987, trading curves for straight lines and black-and-white for vivid colors.
It�s not just the four-color Windows icon that�s morphed, either � swapping its twisty �page in the wind� look for a clean-lined, four-block stack � but the company name itself.
Instead of the classic thick, black, italicized font Microsoft�s used for decades, the new company logo is a study in simpler, thinner lines and grayscale coloring.
And in case you�re wondering, that font is Segoe, which Microsoft�s been gradually working into its product family for some time (Microsoft owns the trademark, though the font was originally developed by type foundry Monotype). It�s what�s known as a �Humanist� typeface, meaning there�s little variation in stroke width, and the x-height � the distance between the baseline and the mean line � is relatively low (for more on this, and some serious font wonkery, see here).
The logo change comes in advance of Microsoft�s flagship operating system reboot, Windows 8, due on Oct. 26 � a radical rethinking of the world�s most widely used operating system.
According to Microsoft general manager of brand strategy Jeff Hansen, it�s all part of Microsoft�s strategy to give its mainstream products � Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, the Xbox 360 (technically �Xbox services�) as well as Microsoft Office � a �common look and feel.�
The Microsoft brand is about much more than logos or product names. We are lucky to play a role in the lives of more than a billion people every day. The ways people experience our products are our most important �brand impressions�. That�s why the new Microsoft logo takes its inspiration from our product design principles while drawing upon the heritage of our brand values, fonts and colors.
The logo has two components: the logotype and the symbol � The symbol is important in a world of digital motion. The symbol�s squares of color are intended to express the company�s diverse portfolio of products.
And yes, it�s a little silly to make this big a deal about a logo � logos don�t insta-boot your computer, make your games run any smoother or make one version of Word any more compatible with another � but I admit, I kind of like it.
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