On the Windows 8 Logo

Natalie Joy put me on to a blog entry over at Brand New this morning that made my jaw drop.

We all know that I am and have been a fan of Microsoft products. I love me some Metro. My Windows Phone actively makes life more enjoyable. The XBox is far and away my favourite console. And Windows 7 is a delight to use, fitting perfectly into my workflow.

Thus far, I’ve been really looking forward to Windows 8. The prospect of having a Transformer-style product running Windows 8 is exciting. The fact that the dev team is actively listening to users and incorporating feedback into their decisions is awesome.

And then, we get this.

So this leads me to my central question for this post: Guys, I love you. But what are you doing? Even when you explain, and even take an approach I feel like I suggested in Why Windows, I can’t agree with your justification.

What you’re doing here, as Armin over at Brand New says, is breaking a long and effective design continuity. Windows Phone and the excitement surrounding Windows 8 are starting to restore some consumer goodwill in the Windows brand, and here’s what consumers identify with Windows:

I understand that this is “old Windows.” This branding came in around XP, and you’re pushing to enter the Metro Golden Age. But maybe the association with XP isn’t a bad thing. People liked XP. Enterprise and education use a lot of XP. It’s associated with stability. It’s also the logo you’re using with Windows Phone:

There’s currently strong continuity between the desktop OS and the mobile OS. If you continued with it, you could draw continuity onto the third screen as well. At this point, why are you pitching the baby out with the bathwater?

Further, what do you think is Metro about the Windows 8 logo you’ve produced?

Sure, it works with the “tile” aesthetic, but that’s where it ends. Guess what Metro doesn’t have? Perspective. Even when it’s “welcoming you in.” (It’s actually siding you away from the wordmark, but that’s another argument.) Metro is flat tiles. Period.

So, let’s fix this problem. Metro has no perspective thus the logo is non-sequitur, we like the Windows flag-style logo, and furthermore, Segeo works best as a leaner font. Here’s my take:

It’s far, far from perfect (kerning/tracking needs adjustment), but I really think it’s more Windows than what you guys have put together.

Let me speak to the Windows team directly (via my spillway avatar, so I guess not directly at all) for a minute.

Lots of love, Windows team. More on this subject later. I think I know how the Windows Phone-style logo would work as a motion graphic for Windows 8, and it’s kind of awesome. Stay tuned.

Usually I sign off with “paddle your own canoe,” but in this case, I’ll remind you that you’re paddling upstream at this point, and in it helps to have someone in the bow to help you navigate.




About Trevor

Teacher, writer, podcaster. Obsessed with tech and paddling, politics and entertainment. Nerd extraordinaire, and handsome to boot. You can find his work over on the Spillway network and his home on the web, Love.Make.Share. View all posts by Trevor

20 responses to “On the Windows 8 Logo

  • kaisersnell

    Metro tiles tilt when you activate them.

    • Trevor

      True, I thought of that. But not to the degree that’s shown in the logo. Metro’s “tilt” is about subtlety and visual feedback, not dramatic perspective.

      • Ordeith

        It almost looks like the tiles are halfway through the “fly in” just before the UI is usable.

      • Trevor

        You’re not wrong. It is reminiscient of that, although the tiles don’t all fly in at once, do they? Wonder if it would look better if they were different sizes, like the Office logo.

      • Ordeith

        Yes, but what if the logo was just a graphic on one tile, and that tile was in the middle of the “fly in”?

        My mind just keeps wanting to complete the animation, finish the flyin and bump the text a little to say “I’m ready”.

  • Dave

    I think that the Windows Phone logo is probably the best – it’s the classic, recognisable shape with a modern, Metro twist.

    Microsoft had worked so hard to rid themselves of the “PC” stigma and reclaim the Windows brand as one of quality and reliability. And they’ve thrown it out. The new logo, seemingly built in Paint, looks like some sort of dodgy rip-off logo. Call it Macrosoft Wangdows.

    And, all the bollocks about how the new logo is classic, “Swiss” design? Swiss design has never had perspective effects. This new logo is a massive mistake.

    A shame.

  • lee

    I totally agree with you. The flat, square logo says “Windows” so much more than the new logo from the design firm. The square logo can also be colored to user preference, just like the trapezoidal tragedy.

  • Ordeith

    I did make two alternates in Paint. Just to see.

    This one is like the Windows 1 logo, rotated to look properly metro.


    and this actually uses the tiles 🙂


  • Ordeith

    And I must say I really like this alternative (not done by me)


    • Trevor

      There have been a lot of interesting concepts coming out of this.. I think this is going to be one of Windows Team’s hardest decisions to make. There’s a lot of support on both sides of the aisle here; I think the better arguments are on the side of “change it” but we shall see where it goes.

  • Bob


    You also have the Windows Phone logo incorrect. Please reference Mango, which is very similar to the new Win8 logo.

    The ‘flag’ is now outdated whilst the new logo is fresh and modern. Recognition and familiarization of the new logo will come.

    Don’t assume this is a mistake as you’re article proposes.

    • Trevor

      No, the WP logo is correct. I’m using the WP7 Mango logo. The original WP7 logo featured the flag in a circle, similar to the Vista logo; the Mango update changed that to the flag-in-a-box that recalls live tiles. Mango is not a separate OS. It is an iteration on Windows Phone and does not require that degree of differentiation.

      Recognition and familiarization may come, but that doesn’t mean that the logo they’ve chosen is a) good or b) is the smartest move. And I’m not assuming it’s a mistake; I’m arguing that it is a mistake. If you think I’m off the mark on my analysis of the current Win8 logo, please feel free to tell me how.

  • Sarah

    You say the new one just doesn’t say “Windows.” However, the majority of laypeople never notice that the old flag is a stylized version of a window.

    I think they are 100% right to ditch the wavy flag. It looks outdated and was never really a great design in the first place. Now it will actually look like a window to people outside the industry. Better to have a bold new design than to flatten an old one.

    • Trevor

      Fair enough, but let me clarify something about this:

      “You say the new one just doesn’t say “Windows.” However, the majority of laypeople never notice that the old flag is a stylized version of a window.”

      Maybe so, but the new logo says “windows,” not “Windows.” And it doesn’t say it well.

      My recommendation, to adopt the Windows Phone logo across the line, is just that–a suggestion. The proposed logo from Pentagram has issues beyond my assertion that it’s “not the best option.” If you check out the comments on the Windows Team Blog, you’ll see people taking it to task on several principles–inconsistency with Metro and Swiss design principles being the most important points IMO. And I think that it needs to be addressed.

      Am I opposed to something new? No. Do I think that the design that was produced is amateurish and isn’t consistent with its justification? Yes.

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  • Matt Kostan

    Hi Trevor

    You should submit your design to here: http://www.inflowinventory.com/Blog/index.php/2012/02/18/you-be-the-designer-microsoft-introduces-the-windows-8-logo/ (99designs logo contest)

    It’s just for fun and has the potential to win $295.



  • Ron Hyatt

    Actually, the solution is even simpler than you think. Take those four blue panels, and color them with the current logo colors. Problem solved. I’ll be expecting a check, Microsoft.

    • Trevor

      I’ve enjoyed seeing the recolours that people have done, but I don’t think they address the other issues with the logo (strange perspective, heavy font, balance problems). A recolour plus other tweaks to the typeface, to the “window” itself, and then maybe, yeah.

      Thanks for the comment. 🙂

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