Because it shows up on computers across the world, Microsoft has an incredibly iconic logo. However, the classically colorful Windows logo has actually only been in use for a few years. Since being founded in 1975, Microsoft has actually had five different logos. In this article, we will tell you a little more about Microsoft’s logo evolution and show you how it has helped to shape their brand identity.
Microsoft Logo Design Elements
Microsoft’s logo uses a simple yet effective combination of design symbols and wordmarks to create a logo that is very recognizable without being too distracting. The right side of the logo is the word “Microsoft” written in a san-serif font called Segoe. These words are normally grey when the usual white background is used. However, Microsoft uses a variant with white font and a blue background on some of their products.
On the left side of the logo are four squares that are each a different color and separated by a thin line of space. The top, left square is red while the top right square is green. On the bottom, the left square is blue, and the right square is yellow. All of these squares use slightly, muted, light shades that look pleasing to the eye.
Changes and Evolution
Until 2012, Microsoft mostly just used their brand name as the logo. At first, the logo had the word “Micro” written above the word “Soft.” Both parts of the name were then put on the same line in 1980, and the phrase “Consumer Products” was written beneath it. Starting in 1982, the “Consumer Products” line was removed, and an ornate, striped design was used inside of the first O. Microsoft then stuck with the same logo between 1987 to 2-12, which was just the brand name with a small slash in the first O. An additional image was added to the wordmark for the first time when the new logo was created.
Before 2012, all of Microsoft’s logos were simply black text on a white background. Occasionally the 1982 version used a dark green background, but Microsoft mostly just stuck to black and white because these colors were so versatile. The colorful red, green, blue and yellow symbol was not used until the most recent logo.
The fonts have been the most changeable portion of the microsoft logo. Originally, a font was used that consisted of several parallel lines curving together in smooth arcs. The 1980 font changed to a more angular font that included elongated slashes. Microsoft decided to simplify this to an all-caps san-serif font in 1982. This was refined even more in the 1987 logo that just used a basic, italicized Helvetica.
Microsoft’s logo is heavily influenced by the original Windows logo that features a waving window with a red, green, blue, and yellow pane. The decision to incorporate the window design was an intentional decision to reference Microsoft’s most iconic product.
The Microsoft logo was also part of a company wide rebranding scheme that included changing the Windows logo to an all-blue logo. Microsoft decided to use the four color design to represent their four main products. The blue square in the logo represents Windows software, the red represents Office programs, the green represents Xbox gaming systems, and the yellow represents Bing search engines.
- The font used for the Microsoft logo is also the typography style used for their most recent version of Windows and Windows phone operating systems.
- Microsoft’s current logo actually looks incredibly similar to an old ad campaign for Windows 95.
- Due to an optical illusion caused by the red square being a slightly darker shade, the red square can sometimes look slightly smaller than the other colored squares. However, they are all actually the same size.
- Microsoft got its name by combining the words “microcomputer” and “software.”
Microsoft’s new logo references their most iconic creation while also cleverly symbolizing the four main subdivisions of the massive company. It took the company several decades to replace their slightly outdated logo, but the modern logo managed to encourage brand loyalty with its vintage inspiration. This clever logo design has been consistently used for five years, and now many people cannot even remember what the old Microsoft logo looked like.