In August, Microsoft introduced a new logo with the following reasoning:
It’s been 25 years since we’ve updated the Microsoft logo and now is the perfect time for a change. This is an incredibly exciting year for Microsoft as we prepare to release new versions of nearly all of our products….This wave of new releases is not only a reimagining of our most popular products, but also represents a new era for Microsoft, so our logo should evolve to visually accentuate this new beginning.
Here’s the new logo:
In contrast, here’s the old logo being replaced:
There are two things I really like about the new logo. First the design itself is truly modern, high tech and appealing. Second, it retains its ties with the past. Note the colors haven’t changed, and that they’re still configured as four arranged squares.
So Microsoft has not completely revamped its “image”. The new logo reflects and retains links with a successful heritage.
I recommend any company wishing to upgrade their image to adopt this strategy unless there’s something about their past that has sullied their reputation badly. This is not a new strategy – I’ve blogged in the past about continuity through the years as exemplified by Texaco, Mobil and GE. If the company is thriving and has a good reputation, then “modifying” rather than creating a completely new set of branding elements is the route to go.
Logo born 17 years ago?
In researching this post, I ran across a 17-year-old commercial about Windows 95. Strangely, the same four squares in the same configuration are used in those commercials. They weren’t logos, they were animated illustrations, but never-the-less they very likely were the inspiration for a more modern symbol 17 years later. Here’s a link to a YouTube repro of that commercial