The Microsoft logo is recognized around the world as one of the most recognized. Specifically in the tech space, this is mainly due to the fact that it is displayed on millions of software boxes, PCs, and sites. The way people handle their gadgets is changing, and over the years Microsoft has continued to adapt and improve new designs for its Windows apps.
Microsoft finds itself at the heart of a long overhaul of its brand tools, and the icons that represent them. They aim to match a generation where most people handle multiple gadgets every day and are not limited to just one operating system. Microsoft has launched a set of app icons to help its products make an impact when they’re alone outside of a Windows environment.
Today, we look back at the last 37 years of the transformation of the Microsoft logo and how it has evolved over time. Let’s start with the introduction and very early days of Microsoft and how their logo has evolved and adapted to the market over time.
1975-1979: the first Microsoft logo
The two founders of Microsoft, Bill Gates and Paul Allen launched their first logo when the company was founded. They may have shaped the logo with influences from a programming language. It consists of the company name in sans serif font and depicts the 1970s and elements of the “disco era”. Different formal concentric lines of the letters create an effect of depth on some viewers. This Microsoft logo is the only one to be designed on two lines. Microsoft designers have worked to capture a technological and modern vibe by practicing the body type formed with multiple strokes and curves, giving the perception of threads.
1980-1982: The second logo… A radical change
It’s a different decade and Microsoft has developed a beneficial partnership with IBM, becoming increasingly prevalent in a new era of computer programmers. In an attempt to remain visually compatible and to attract this growing market, a brand new logo with a downright bold feature was developed next.
With its sharp edges, slanted lines, and abstract rods on the letters M, R, and F, one might be excused to admit that the company was generating serious heavy metal records against software. While a lot of people accepted the new logo, and it only lasted 2 years. From that point on, Microsoft used more classic typography.
1982-1986: The « Blibbet » is born
Exploring a more contemporary image fit for mass consumption, the word mark is extracted in a strong geometric sans serif font. The letter « O » is formed from a sequence of parallel lines – an icon which is referred to as « blibet » by staff. This logo was considered the face of Microsoft’s flagship Windows operating system.
The blibbet also served as a standalone logo and was used as a watermark on company headers. The use of iconography quickly became a cult practice among staff and elders. There was even a Blibbet Burger that was distributed on the Microsoft campus, as well as a campaign started by an employee named Dave Norris for « Save the Blibbet » when another logo was introduced in 1987.
1987–1994: The “Pac Man” logo
The most widely used Microsoft logo was designed in the late 1980s. It was known as the « Pac Man » logo. Helvetica (italic) font was preferred to shape the logo, making it a renowned font that is still commonly used today. In comparison with the “Blibbet” logo, there were no exclusive features in this logo. It is made up of the company name only, but there is a space between the O and the S. It seems to be a nod to when the company was called « Micro-soft ».
They used a much bolder wordmark, with title case, which represented the most striking change from previous logos. Employees called this logo « Pac Man Logo » because of the triangular silver sliced off its side like Pac Man’s mouth. It has become Microsoft’s most extensive and consistent logo, spanning a 25-year span whose only updates included some taglines in 2006 and 2011.
1994–2012: In 2006, Microsoft added its new slogan to its logo, “Your Potential. Our Passion. ”In 2011, they changed it again to“ Be What’s Next. ”Obviously, this long-standing logo presents an argument that there is a need for a flexible logo that can be manipulated. in various contexts.
2012 to today (2021): the current logo
A preeminent Microsoft logo redesign took place in 2012. This is the current logo created by Microsoft staff members after various meetings. The bold italic side of the previous logo is restored by the Segoe UI font. Still, it’s the inclusion of a colorful design that makes it so distinct from previous logos. Four squares of different colors indeed resemble a window similar to Windows, one of Microsoft’s remarkable products.
The most notable point here is the practice of colors in the famous four-box icon, which represents the achievement of Windows with its color-coded Microsoft Office suite of applications. The red color represents PowerPoint or the Office suite, the blue square is for Word or Windows, the green square for the Xbox or Excel console, and the yellow color represents Outlook or Bing. In short, this logo seems to be here to stay.
Microsoft has had various logos over its nearly 40 year history, and they have all been essentially a design of the time and popular in this generation. From its introduction as a cutting edge tool for developers to extended service as a household name, Microsoft has shown a long way in its evolution. This is visually reflected in a business strategy built around Microsoft’s enthusiasm to take advantage of change and ever-evolving technology.
The message A Logo Design Lesson: The evolution of the Microsoft logo over the years first appeared on PlanetMedia.