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MICROSOFT, A DESIGN DRIVEN COMPANY?

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In September, Microsoft announced a new corporate logo. In the past, the logo for Microsoft, the corporation, always stood apart from the product line. From the disco 70s, to the Metallica 80s, to the seriously huge corporate marks which followed, the corporate logo was always distinct from product logos.

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This new logo represents a departure from that strategy.

Now, the corporate logo is following the design cues of its product design and particularly its Metro design language, the graphic foundation of Windows 8. With the onset of Metro, Microsoft is finally orchestrating a simple cleandesign approach that has been missing from their products for decades, definitely learning from Apple while not exactly emulating them. We are starting to see Microsoft as a design driven company, and it makes sense that the same values that are driving their product/user experience design are now representing the company itself. Now there is no graphic difference between the corporation and the product. It’s an unusual strategy, a bit backwards perhaps; we rarely see product driving corporate identity. But Microsoft is clearly on to something with the development of Metro and I can see why they want to deploy it to update the corporate mark.

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So now the company and the products all use the Segoe typeface, and all share four squares arranged in a square. I keep thinking, it’s smart, it makes sense. But beyond that, it is hard to either love or hate this new logo. It’s immediately comfortable and familiar, and yes it is clean and modern, even polite. Hard to hate because it is so simple and makes so much sense. Hard to love since it is so rational that it lacks much emotion.

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