Windows 8 logo is weak on pizzazz, strong on tradition

Adherence to clean graphic design of Metro style limits the wow factor

Here’s hoping that Windows 8 is more exciting than the logo Microsoft has come up with for it.

Granted it’s a small thing in the big picture but the monochromatic, stark graphic doesn’t offer much to look at, although the company makes a good case for it fitting into its overall Metro style design scheme. (Microsoft does say the color of the logo can be altered to suit individuals’ tastes, so it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition.)

If you look at earlier incarnations, the logo has been multi-colored and in some cases graphically complex, but both these factors have purposely been pushed aside.

Here’s some of what Microsoft itself has to say in The Windows Blog:

“The Windows logo is a strong and widely recognized mark but when we stepped back and analyzed it, we realized 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.”

The blog says Microsoft hired Pentagram design agency to consult on the new design, and a simple question from designer Paula Scher revealed a major shortcoming of previous logos that included the wavy-window symbol. “Your name is Windows. Why are you a flag?” Hmm.

With Windows 8 Microsoft is getting past all that or rather returning to the past, all the way back to the original Windows logo from the mid-80s that featured just two colors and no wavy lines.

The blog says, “But if you look back to the origins of the logo you see that it really was meant to be a window. "Windows" really is a beautiful metaphor for computing and with the new logo we wanted to celebrate the idea of a window, in perspective. Microsoft and Windows are all about putting technology in people's hands to empower them to find their own perspectives. And that is what the new logo was meant to be. We did less of a re-design and more to return it to its original meaning and bringing Windows back to its roots – reimagining the Windows logo as just that – a window.”

Love it or hate it, the logo probably won’t be the deciding factor when people come to consider Windows 8, but if Microsoft put as much thought and effort into the OS as it did into the logo it should be impressive.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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