The Microsoft team has created a new logo for its upcoming Windows 8 operating system, and the results aren’t pretty.
You might say this is Microsoft’s “Gap moment”, that uncomfortable situation in which a company chooses a new logo that takes away from its history and chooses blandness over anything striking.
Windows 8 will be one the most important products this year, so it makes sense that it will take on new branding to help separate itself from the Windows 7 operating system. Microsoft’s new software will attempt to bridge the gap between desktop and mobile devices and experiences with the ability to support touch screens and switch between traditional apps and touch-friendly Metro apps.
Sam Moreau, principal director of user experience for Windows, said on the Windows Team Blog that Windows 8 is a “complete reimagination” of Windows. With that in mind, the company thought it was time for a new logo.
“The Windows logo is a strong and widely recognised mark, but when we stepped back and analysed it, we realised an evolution of our logo would better reflect our Metro-style design principles. And we also felt there was an opportunity to reconnect with some of the powerful characteristics of previous incarnations,” Moreau wrote.
Ultimately, Microsoft chose Pentagram to redesign its logo. Though Pentagram has a history of creating compelling work, what the firm has created for Windows 8 looks like it was sketched in Microsoft Paint. It’s a simple one-colour logo that emphasises Windows 8’s simple design, but it’s so bland that it doesn’t convey anything important about the new operating system.
Windows 8 is lively and exciting, and it merges the traditional desktop past with the mobile future. It deserves better.
Graphic designer Armin Vit of UnderConsideration argued that the logotype with the window design was a “real loser”:
It’s a fine font, but pretty it is not. It’s a kind of middle-of-the-road sans serif without any memorable attributes and with a very peculiar “default” aesthetic to it. It works best as a user interface ingredient, but as the typography on a logo, it’s extremely underwhelming — pair it with the worst rendition yet of the Windows window and you have a real loser. I’m not saying the previous Windows icons were good, but they had enough abstraction (and gradients and shadows and highlights) to at least look techie and Microsoft-ey. But this “minimal” approach looks like, well, a window. A window in a US$400/month studio apartment rental with beige carpeting and plastic drapes.
And here’s another thing: we quite liked the logo that was used for Vista and Windows 7. It was an upgrade that emphasised the new “Aero” concept and it had different colors, giving it more life. Look at that logo and then look at that bland Windows 8 version. — Sean Ludwig, VentureBeat
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