New Windows logo draws the curtain on brand equity

Rosie Baker is Marketing Week’s specialist on sustainability and retail.

Windows has revealed a new brand logo to accompany the launch of Windows 8, but to me, the brand has chucked away 20 years of equity with its new identity.

Windows 8 logo

It signals the future of the Microsoft Windows brand, and looks forward to the way it wants to be across platforms as diverse as Xbox and Windows Phones, but it’s not in line with any of the brand equity Windows has built up over the past two decades.

The new logo is a dramatic shift for the tech brand. Gone are the four coloured windows synonymous with Windows, replaced by four blue panes. Yes, it looks literally much more like a window than the old ‘flag-like’ logo, but it does not “say” Microsoft Windows.

I can understand Windows wanting to mark a new era in its development, but I’m disappointed that it seems to disconnect Windows’ future from its past.

It is more similar in design to Windows first ever logo, but barely anyone remembers that anyway.

Windows 8 logo

When I first looked at it, I thought the four blue boxes divided by a white cross was a spoof. Much the same reaction I had when I first saw Gap’s “new logo” two years ago.

The Gap saga ended with the fashion retailer ditching the new logo it created almost over night, in favour of retaining its old, familiar, recognised and loved brand identity.

When the logo was revealed on Friday, Sam Moreau, principal director of user experience said in the official Windows blog that Windows 8 is a “complete reimagination” of its operating platform, and so the logo demanded similar treatment.

It is based on Windows’ new “Metro style design principles” and has been long hinted at by Microsoft.

The Metro design principles are what make the screen navigation on new generation Windows Phones, such as the Nokia Lumia, look so beautiful, but that does not come through in this logo.

It looks basic, rather than design led, and instead it makes me think of blue and white Scottish and Finnish flags.

Ironically, and pointed out in a blog I read earlier today, Microsoft should hardly want to have a logo that evokes thoughts of the renowned “blue screen of death” famously experienced when the operating system crashes.

The new logo is splitting opinion across tech blogs, there are fervent fans and harsh critics, but for me, it throws the baby out with the bathwater and doesn’t do justice to what Windows wants it to stand for – “a beautiful metaphor for computing”.

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