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Microsoft explains bland new Windows logo

It’s a window, not a flag

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Microsoft has detailed the thinking behind the latest change in its logo for Windows, saying the new design brings the software back to its roots.

“If you look back to the origins of the logo you see that it really was meant to be a window,” blogged Sam Moreau, principal director of user experience for Windows. "Windows really is a beautiful metaphor for computing and with the new logo we wanted to celebrate the idea of a window, in perspective.”

Windows 8 logo

Behold: the new Windows 8 logo

The logo was created by design house Pentagram, which has also worked for Dell, Netgear, Nike, and the One Laptop Per Child initiative. The firm’s designers spent an entire day being briefed on the Windows 8 design philosophy and Redmond’s corporate thinking before coming up with the new logo. One of Pentagram's designers asked, “Your name is Windows. Why are you a flag?”

Windows logos were developed to both suit the mood of the times, as well as the current state of the computer industry, Moreau explained. The original Windows 1.0 logo was a simple, two-color affair, but evolved into the classic four-color flag design for Windows 3.1, which was adapted for XP with better rendering and a 3D feel.

Apple media-binding patent application illustration

A history of Windows logos (click to enlarge)

Microsoft kept the four-color flag design for Vista, but changed it to fit into the Aero styling that some Vista users would be used to, provided they had the right hardware. Those who bought some of the systems marketed by Microsoft as "Vista Capable" were, however, in for a disappointment when they were found to be not powerful enough to handle Aero. Moreau claimed the new logo was “humble, yet confident.”

Marketing is a strange dark art, and graphic design even more so. But one has to wonder why Microsoft puts so much effort into this sort of thing. After all, when was the last time somebody bought a Windows PC because they thought the logo looked pretty? Not even Apple fanbois take things that far. ®

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