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Redesigning the Windows Logo

Posted by THA On 1:49 PM

We have said that Windows 8 is a complete reimagination of the Windows operating system. Nothing has been left unexplored, including the Windows logo, to evaluate how it held up to modern PC sensibilities. The Windows logo is a strong and widely recognized mark but when we stepped back and analyzed it, we realized an evolution of our logo would better reflect our Metro style design principles and we also felt there was an opportunity to reconnect with some of the powerful characteristics of previous incarnations.

We had a very short list of agencies that we wanted to work with on the redesign of the logo and were thrilled when Pentagram agreed to join us in the project. Pentagram’s illustrious history speaks for itself, but we were particularly attracted to their sense of classic graphic design which fit well with our Metro design principles.

Early in the development cycle for Windows 8, in a conference room on the Microsoft campus, we assembled a kick off meeting with Paula Scher, Michael Beirut and Daniel Weil from Pentagram and a few designers and marketing leaders from Windows and across the company. The team spent a full day sharing some of the Metro style design philosophy; the Windows brand history and values as well as graphic design and technology industry trends.

"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."- George Orwell

That is the feeling we had when Paula Scher (from the renowned Pentagram design agency) showed us her sketches for the new Windows logo.

It’s a window… not a flag

Paula asked us a simple question, “your name is Windows. Why are you a flag?”


In some ways you can trace the evolution of the Windows logo in parallel with the advancements of the technology used to create logos. From the simple two color version in Windows 1.0 to the intricate and detailed renderings in Windows Vista and Windows 7, each change makes sense in the context in which it was created. As computing capabilities increased, so did the use of that horse power to render more colors, better fonts, and more detailed and life-like 3D visual effects like depth, shadows, and materiality. We have evolved from a world of rudimentary low resolution graphics to today’s rich high-resolution systems. And what started as a simple “window” to compliment the product name became a flying or waving flag.

But if you look back to the origins of the logo you see that it really was meant to be a window. "Windows" really is a beautiful metaphor for computing and with the new logo we wanted to celebrate the idea of a window, in perspective. Microsoft and Windows are all about putting technology in people's hands to empower them to find their own perspectives. And that is what the new logo was meant to be. We did less of a re-design and more to return it to its original meaning and bringing Windows back to its roots – reimagining the Windows logo as just that – a window.


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