Anyone who has ever used a computer is probably familiar with the Microsoft logo, especially as this company is the largest operating system developer across the globe. However, what you see now is simply the latest version of the logo. This design has gone several transformations over the decades. Want to know how it evolved from the original to the current iteration? This article gives comprehensive information about the Microsoft logo. Check it out.
Who Designed the Microsoft Logo and Why Was it Chosen?
The Microsoft logo has become iconic. Users can easily recognize it and know which company it is referring to. Because of this, you might be wondering who designed this brilliant logo. The answer to this varies depending on which version of the brand’s logo you are referring to.
The original logo was designed by Simon Daniels in 1975, which bears the aesthetic and functional trends at the time. A few other revamps were designed by Daniels.
When it was redesigned just in time for the release of Windows 8 in 2012, the company decided to go with a logo inspired by the Windows logo by Pentagram and Paula Scher’s design.
The reason why the latest logo was given the privilege of being used from 2012 until the present is the fact that it reflects the goals and values of Microsoft, as well as its main product. Those who want to know more about the history of the design can find more information below.
Evolution of the Microsoft Logo
Daniels’ design was in use from 1975 to 1980. As mentioned, it reflects the visual aspects that were prevalent during that time, which are disco-inspired and sort of psychedelic. The original Microsoft logo is stylized writing of the company name.
It is characterized by the use of concentric lines to form the letters. Each line comes in different tones, which give it the appearance of depth.
An interesting detail is that this is the only logo to split the words micro and soft. This is because the company was originally named Micro-Soft, which is reflected by the fact that the logo spells Micro at the top level, then Soft at the bottom level.
The design is on point, especially when contextualized in the era in which it was designed: the Psychedelic era. It was created using a programming language developed by Paul Allen and Bill Gates, who would go on to be one of the richest people alive.
Microsoft decided to redesign its logo come the 80s. It did away with the disco look of the original logo and headed toward a heavier and more rock-like path. This is the first time the company combined the words micro and soft to create Microsoft.
Also designed by Daniels, the design takes on a darker tone, with solid blocks of letters instead of think, concentric lines. It appears more hardline, with its slanted and sometimes extending lines. The designer also chose to use sharp ends.
This second version of the logo is very reminiscent of the Metallica logo and other heavy metal bands during that time. Other things that can remind you of it include typefaces used in science fiction posters and those used in titles of arcade games.
From the original design in the 70s to the new logo in the early 80s, it is easy to observe that the company goes with the trends of the time. In the 70s, it took a more psychedelic approach, while it created a more metal rock design in the early 80s.
After only two years of using the second version of the Microsoft logo, the company opted for another redesign. This time, it decided to create a more professional and practical look compared to the first two iterations.
In this version, Daniels used a sans serif typeface in all capital letters. While this might seem simplistic, what makes the logo unique is the inclusion of blibbet, a special character used in place of the normal letter O in micro.
Instead of the letter O, Daniels used three concentric circles and slats to create this unique character. Blibbet became so famous that it became the company’s symbol. The Microsoft office cafeteria even served the Blibbet Burger during that time.
When the decision for yet another redesign came, employees even campaigned against the removal of the blibbet through the aptly named Save the Blibbet movement.
The third version shows an essential principle of logo designing: using trends or opting for a trendy approach can be impractical, especially in the long run. This is because trends come and go, and your design can look outdated fast.
An out-of-date logo design is certainly not suitable for an organization that would go on to be one of the biggest technology companies across the globe.
While a group of Microsoft employees did not agree with the decision to remove the blibbet, the redesign still pushed through. True enough, the character was removed in favor of a more professional replacement. This logo was deemed so excellent that it was used for 25 years.
Like the sans serif face used in the third version, this design uses another sans serif typeface called the Helvetica Black in italics and bold. This design decision serves a purpose, which is to signify the forward-moving motion of the company.
What makes this logo unique is the use of a slash-like opening in the first letter O, reminiscent of the semi-closed of Pac-man. In a way, it creates an emphasis not only on the letter but also on the next syllable, which is the “soft” aspect of the company. Keep in mind that Microsoft is a combination of micro from microcomputing and soft from software.
The 2012 Microsoft logo is still being used today. It came the year Windows 8 was released, the logo of which was designed by Scher. It is important to know that the current Microsoft logo was also designed by Scher, and built on the same design principles.
For content, the new Windows logo features a window viewed at an angle, giving the logo some type of perspective.
The new Microsoft logo features a colorful Windows logo sans the perspective along with the company name Microsoft. In a blog featured on the company’s website, Jeffrey Meisner explained that the logo has two main parts: the symbol and the logotype.
The symbol is the identifiable Windows logo in a version that makes it much easier to distinguish. It features four squares or tiles, arranged to recreate the appearance of a Window. Each square bear a unique color. The logotype features the company name Microsoft in a distinct typeface. Together, these two components make up the Microsoft logo.
From its release in 2012, the company worked to fully implement the change in everything connected to Microsoft, and every product, communications, webpage, and many more have the new logo.
What Does the Modern Microsoft Logo Mean?
Microsoft changed its logo after 25 years, which came in time for Windows 8. A version of the Windows logo can be seen Microsoft logo.
According to Microsoft’s Sam Moreau, this version is considered a “complete reimagination” of the operating system we all know and love. Before this change, previous Windows versions used a similar design but takes on a more flag-like appearance. These versions were also founded on outdated designs. Windows 8 took user experience and interface design to the next level.
As mentioned above, Scher’s idea is to create a logo that makes use of the OS’ name. This is why she designed the logo to look more like a window than a flag. The Windows 8 logo features a view of an all-blue window from an angle.
This angular view seeks to symbolize the fact that Windows products are built to help people accomplish their goals from their own perspectives.
The modern version of the Microsoft logo features a similar symbol. However, this front-facing window design with different colors bears a new meaning.
If you are a Microsoft user, you are probably familiar with the various products the company has to offer including Microsoft Office, OneDrive, Teams, Edge, and many more. The dynamic offerings by Microsoft play a big role in the choice of coloring for the logo.
The Microsoft symbol is composed of four tiles colored differently. The various colors that the symbol has signifies the diverse portfolio of the company.
What is the Font Used in Microsoft Logo?
Throughout the various revamps over the decades, the designers used different typefaces. Before talking about the specific faces used, it is important to note that the designers and their teams typically chose sans serif faces. This gives the logotype a much cleaner, practical, and professional look.
Now, on to the typefaces. Two of the types used throughout the history of Microsoft logos are Helvetica Italic Black and Segoe UI. However, the lack of serifs seems to be the only thing in common between these two.
Keep in mind that the designers sometimes opted for bold or italicized fonts. However, the font used in the Microsoft logo is unitalicized Segoe UI in the color gray. It does not appear to be in bold.
Today, this typeface and font style has been in use in different Microsoft products and communication materials, such as for marketing. The consistency of using the same typeface for everything related to Microsoft further solidifies brand recall, aside from the symbol, brand name, and products, of course.
How Many Colors are Used by Microsoft Logo?
The Microsoft logo uses four colors namely a shade of red, green, blue, and yellow. The variety of colors on the logo represents the diversity of the company’s offerings.
You can easily observe this in the variety of colors that different Microsoft programs use. For example, Word and Outlook use blue, while PowerPoint takes on an orange color. Excel has a green logo, while Keep and Sticky Notes are yellow. Other Microsoft software uses different color schemes.
Keep in mind that the use of red, yellow, blue, and green have particular meanings, which will be tackled below.
Can You Legally Use the Microsoft Logo?
The Microsoft logo is protected by intellectual property laws. This means that only the company is legally allowed to use the logo. Don’t be disappointed just yet, though. You may be able to use the logo as long as you do so under the Microsoft Trademark and Brand Guidelines.
As per the guidelines, a written license or permission directly issued by the company is needed before you can use the logo, brand assets, icons, or designs in any manner.
Thankfully, there are instances in which you can mention brand names or product and service names. Some of the criteria include mentioning them in compatibility, interoperability, or integration with your product or service.
You can also refer to Microsoft and its offerings in a truthful manner, such as in sale advertisements or news articles. It is also important to mention the fact the products, services, solutions, and brand names are trademarked by Microsoft.
What Do the 4 Colors of Microsoft Mean?
The four colors in the company’s symbol are used to signify the fact that Microsoft has a lot of products to offer. It utilizes the three basic colors which are red, blue, and yellow, with the addition of green.
The use of these hues is intentional because it pertains to the main products of Microsoft. Red is now more associated with Microsoft Office programs, blue is linked to Windows, yellow is for the search engine Bing, and green is the representative for Xbox, the company’s gaming console.
These products are the primary driving force for the company, especially as they contribute significantly to revenue generation. They are some of the most popular offerings from Microsoft, which can be used even on machines with other operating systems.
The Microsoft logo is one of the most distinct ones out there thanks to the different revisions it went through to arrive at a unique, distinguishable, and iconic logo. Now that you know the history, meaning, and proper usage of this symbol, you probably appreciate this logo much more.