When looking at aesthetically designed current logos of iconic brands, we must keep their long design history in mind. They result from multiple redesign attempts at different phases of their brands’ businesses, and the Microsoft logo is no exception. The current version of the Company’s logo is one of the most recognized business symbols worldwide. But it had to go through many design changes over the decades.
Today, Microsoft is the other name of huge brand success. It has acquired such status and trust that people use its multiple software products daily. The Microsoft ecosystem includes brands such as Windows, Xbox, Skype, LinkedIn, Minecraft, and many more.
A Humble Beginning
Microsoft is an IT giant today. Still, it started on a humble note in 1975 when Bill Gates and Paul Allen created the Company out of their interest in microprocessors and software. They started developing software for the Altair 8800, an early microcomputer designed by MITS based on the Intel 8080 CPU.
In 1980, Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM, a massive breakthrough for the Company. It supplied software for IBM PCs.
Not looking back since then, Microsoft is today the most prominent software firm in the world. It is known for its Windows operating system, Office suite, and Internet Explorer browser. The Company today has more than 166,000 employees across the globe. In the SaaS segment, it has a 17% market share.
This American MNC is the third Company after Apple and Amazon to have reached a trillion-dollar market capitalization.
The Microsoft Logo: A Timeless Modern Design
Today, the Microsoft logo is a classic and timeless design that is likely to stay more or less the same for many decades. The design is precise, minimal, sleek, simple, and strong, conveying its brand message instantly.
A key feature of the Microsoft logo is that it is highly pleasing and eye-catching. It has a grid-like multicolored design, making it look classy and modern. You cannot ignore this colorful icon as it reminds you of your younger days using the computer.
This logo is timeless because of its iconic and impactful typography. It has a black sans-serif font that looks gorgeous and minimal. The font perfectly conveys the Company’s ingenuity in foraying into new technologies, software, and innovation. The Company uses this font across all its brand products and marketing materials.
But for the Microsoft logo to finally become a timeless design, it had to undergo multiple redesign phases.
Here Is How The Microsoft Logo Evolved
The First Microsoft Logo – Disco-Era
You might be keen to know the designer who created the Microsoft logo. It was designed in 1975 when William Gates and Paul Allen thought of foraying into the technology world. They launched Microsoft on April 4, 1975.
Simon Daniels designed the first-ever logo for the Company. The logo design comprised letters in the shape of Disco music discs.
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Inspired By Heavy Metal Bands
Microsoft decided to replace the first logo with a new design. This time the logo design was influenced by the heavy metal bands of the decade. The heavy metal band Metallica had a similar-looking logo. This influence gave the Microsoft logo an entirely new look.
This time, the Company name was in one line. In addition, the designer used a more aggressive letter drawing with sharp angles and a lot of diagonals. Also, the letters M, R, and F were designed larger to catch the attention.
The designer Simon Daniel used the New Zelek font, which looks aggressive and piercing. The new logo showed that the Company was confident of its brand identity and what it intended to do in the future. But this logo could last only for two years before the Company came up with yet another redesign.
The ‘Blibbet’ Era
The Company shed away its rockstar logo and redesigned it again in 1982. This time, the logo had an element called ‘Bilbet’ which became instantly popular with the employees and people.
‘Blibbet’ was an informal name affectionately given to the ‘O’-shaped design in the logo, and it looked funky. It became so popular that when the Company wanted to redesign the logo in 1987, the employees staged a protest and created a petition to reconsider changing it.
The horizontal lines in the letter ‘O’ made the company logo unique and memorable, resembling a CD. Later, the Company used the ‘O’ letter as a symbol once it gained recognition and popularity.
This design also marked the Company’s new beginning in the computer landscape and indicated that it had left behind its hippie/disco and rock-and-roll era.
The ‘PacMan’ Logo
In 1987, Microsoft came up with another round of redesigning its logo. This time, the letters looked a lot softer and round. They also appeared thicker, showing the Company’s confidence in its computer business.
But a little slash between the letters ‘O’ and ‘S’ made the logo so attractive and memorable. It conveyed motion and speed. Also, the slash emphasized the ‘Soft’ part of the Company’s name. But the slash created a mouth shape that resembled the then-popular video game figure Pac-Man.
So, this Microsoft logo redesign was nicknamed the Pac-Man logo. The designer picked Helvetica font in italic for the logo. This logo represents the Company’s confidence and assertion in its computer business and market field. Therefore, the logo proved to be a durable design, and the Company continued with it for 25 years.
You can notice that no elements other than the font are involved in creating this simple logo. One of the advantages of such logos for small businesses is that their logo cost is minimal. The printing cost also is minimum for lack of colors.
Microsoft came up with many taglines such as “Where do you want to go today?” and “Your potential. Our passion” during all those years. Still, the Pac-Man logo design remained the same until 2012.
The Window Logo
Microsoft recreated its logo again in 2012 after 25 years. This time, the design incorporated radical changes to signal a new era in the Company’s business.
The colorful window panes design of the logo set it apart from the Company’s previous logos. But the Company retained the previous softened and rounded Segoe UI font to shift the logo dramatically. It also helped recreate the Company’s brand image.
This four-colored Windows logo design is still in use as it represents the Company’s aspirations. But the windows represent different software products of the Company. So, the red square stands for the Company’s Office suite or PowerPoint.
The blue square is for Word or Windows, while the green represents the Xbox or Excel console. Similarly, the yellow square is for Outlook or Bling.
Also, this logo is a glaring example of how a logo design can bring different businesses of a company under one iconic brand.
If you’re also looking for a great logo design for your business, you must brainstorm creative ideas and develop the one that best represents your brand personality and message.
You can also access different logo ideas while you create a logo using a logo maker tool. The DIY software will respond with numerous design ideas based on your choice of colors, fonts, icons, symbols, and industry.
However, knowing what a logo should be all about and how it should stand out is advisable. Therefore, when you create logos using logo maker tools, know your design requirements well in advance.
Consider These Steps While Designing A Logo
Before you set out to create a logo with the help of DIY software, first get some logo design tips.
Here Are Some Key Points To Follow:
- Know The Target Audience – You must pinpoint who is the ideal person amongst the crowd in need of your product or service. Know that person’s financial, educational, cultural, and social backgrounds. Such details will enable you to pick the right design elements for your brand logo. That will help you design the logo that targets your potential customers.
- Have Your Brand Message Precisely Written – Write down your brand message for the target on a piece of paper. Then, make sure that the finished design conveys the message instantly. Pick colors, fonts, etc., that best represent that message.
- Find Out More About Competitors – Research your competitors. Find out their brand message, personality, values, most importantly, their logos. This will help in designing a logo that stands out from the competition.
- Make It A Scalable Design – You will use the logo on smaller, larger spaces ranging from a tiny mobile screen to larger billboards. This means your logo must be designed for scalability. It should retain its design elements even if its size is scaled up or down.
- Keep It Simple and Memorable – Most importantly, your logo must be a simple design that viewers can understand at first glance. Only such a logo can engage your target audience and interact with them.
Microsoft logo design teaches us about how a logo should look to make an impact on viewers and the business world.
Microsoft logo is an iconic design that people worldwide recognize. But the logo started its design history humbly and then made many rapid changes before it settled down with the current colorful windows design. Its design journey shows that a brand should redesign its logo in keeping with the changing times.