Microsoft

Logo Story, Mar 2017
Paul Allen & Bill Gates

The name Microsoft needs no explanation. After dropping out of Harvard, the 19-year old Bill Gates teamed up with his friend Paul Allen in 1975, to revolutionize the history of computing. What emerged out of it was “Micro-Soft”, a multinational computer technology corporation. Shortly after, their main vision became equipping every home with a personal computer.

Four decades and three CEOs later, Microsoft has grown into a huge empire and continues its dominance in personal computing around the world. The company will be celebrating its 42nd anniversary this year, and it marks the witnessing of great triumphs and disappointing failures during their journey.Microsoft had been using solid, boldfaced, italicized logo since 1987, which later was enhanced adding four different colours – each representing a division of their product line –  Blue for Outlook, Internet Explorer, Edge, Microsoft Windows and other versions of its operating system. Red/Orange colour represents Microsoft Office, Green represents Xbox and Xbox Live while the product embodied by yellow colour remains a mystery.

The new logo incorporated a multicolored Windows symbol in addition to the “Microsoft” name in straightforward, lighter type. In their 42-year-journey, Microsoft has changed its logo 5 times. Last logo change was on August 23rd, 2012, after a gap of 25 years; previous logo change being in 1987.

After the logo change in 2012, Microsoft made a remarkable comeback winning hearts of its consumers. It happened with the appointment of new CEO, Satya Nadella, who is often seen as game changing CEO of Microsoft.

Before the change in logo, Microsoft was running into a lot of trouble. Not only on the PC side by Windows 8 being a disaster the Macs and iPhones too were dominating with some of their glorious technological advancements introducing Retina displays and fingerprint sensors respectively. Also, their search engine Bing failed to make an impression when compared to Google’s search supremacy.

Visitor’s Center at Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, Washington

 

 

 

 

 


Unfolding the characteristics of each logo

1975 – 1979: Looking at the first logo of Microsoft, we are instantly able to recall the era when disco typeface was prevalent and in trend as well. The words “Micro” and “Soft” are placed separately, making it “Micro-Soft”, as the co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen wanted the company name to reflect both – “microcomputers” and “software”.

1980 – 1981: The second logo with jagged edges was the reflection of the beginning of computers and video-game culture of the time.

1982 – 1986: The third logo introduced a stylized “O” which meant to represent a hyphen between “Micro” and “Soft”

1987 – 2012: The fourth logo of Microsoft is the one which most people remember today. The logo used Italic fonts, a slice in the letter “o”, and a connection between the letters ‘f’ and ‘t’. The company stayed with this logo for 25 years as it worked wonders for them. It was only after this logo that they introduced all their successful product lineups, providing them with enough thrust to inject the monopoly, coupled into the everyday lives of the people.

2012 – Present: The square shaped four colored red logo, nested with four squares in itself ushered in “one of the most significant waves of product launches in Microsoft’s history”, wrote Jeff Hansen, the company’s general manager, in a blog post on brand strategy.

Who says shapes and colors don’t communicate? I believe colours, shapes, and sound comprise life. An ideal logo should stand out name, colour and shape. The name talks about existence. Colours bring out health and longevity, while the shape brings out strength to stave off market competitors and internally, it impresses company stakeholders to get a feel of its power and majesty. These three are vital to any logo.

Who says shapes and colors don’t communicate? I believe colours, shapes, and sound comprise life. An ideal logo should stand out name, colour and shape. The name talks about existence. Colours bring out health and longevity, while the shape brings out strength to stave off market competitors and internally, it impresses company stakeholders to get a feel of its power and majesty. These three are vital to any logo.

Microsoft in 40 years of its existence had changed its logos many times. From being colorless and not much inspiring to until recently in 2012 when a new logo was introduced. This logo was game changer bringing hope of a new beginning. All earlier logos had playful fonts, childish approach and difficult to register in the minds of people. New logo has fonts that are simpler suggesting maturity. Previously, I had mentioned that square, rectangle, and circular shapes are of one family. The rest are different. By adopting square shape Microsoft logo became popular once again to turn market leaders and command respect in consumer based software.

The blue colour represents IT, Green represents programming, while Yellow and Red/Orange commerce. By avoiding Black and Brown, Microsoft captures the entire industry with its theme that foretells fresh success coming back into their ventures.

The name Windows is a beautiful connect between the software vs the user objective. Windows helps to see through. Keeping in mind this concept, Microsoft managed to capture the entire world except China. This has been possible due to the power of colour, shape, sound and gravity of fonts in logo.

Despite the competition with Apple in their initial days, Microsoft’s earlier logos were better than Apple’s original logo and it took Microsoft to soar great heights irrespective of competition. Today, Microsoft leads in terms of technological advancements, innovations and even business. The current logo has made them confident and unshakeable.

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