back to article Microsoft's new retro-flavoured logo channels Channel 4

Microsoft has redrawn its corporate logo for the first time since the 1980s in a move likely to have the web boiling over its significance. Out is the fluttering Windows flag with Microsoft spelled using a bold black typeface and the "o" slashed by the "s". In is a four-piece square that looks like a Simon memory game, with " …

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Simon? Pfft

I think you'll find Chrome is the real Simon rip off http://www.flickr.com/photos/inkvision/2822604151/

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Re: Simon? Pfft

Here y'go

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Meh

It is a change

It is a change to compliment the new Win 8 interface,

That says it all......

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Unhappy

Austerity

I think the new flat, sharp, plain look is synonymous with the current era of austerity.

Let's hope it doesn't portend the same for MS.

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Happy

Re: Austerity

Agreed.

But let's hope it does.

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Effective Flat design? Harder than it looks to pull off...

In many respects, I'm a fan of the return to the "flat", clean look of graphic design, where it's done well. For example:-

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q="saul+bass"+logos&tbm=isch

The Warner Communications logo? Great design:-

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Y2F7daFbH4M/SoSV6XxfNQI/AAAAAAAAB7w/Bcyt7NIldos/s400/warner+communications+original+logo.jpg

The original Atari logo is one of my all-time favourites:-

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-vQwcCefjC_U/T7jUw8jn6JI/AAAAAAAA6Nk/wHXOmXbR_VQ/s320/Atari-Logo-Photos.jpg

However, the downside of this becoming a trend is that it's harder than it looks to come up with a logo that looks great when shorn of pretty shading effects and the like. In going for that back-to-basics look, it's all too easy for a less-skilled designer to end up with something that simply looks underdesigned, boring and/or amateur.

(FWIW, this goes for the "flat" design trend in general, and not just logos.)

For example, the new Office 2013 logo in white against red is (IMHO) quite effective. On the other hand, the new Microsoft logo seen in the video (with its four coloured squares) looks underdesigned and dull. Meanwhile, while I like the white and cyan minimalist colours, the Windows 8 logo itself is boring *and* bordering on amateurish, due to the perspective chosen rendering the cross with (too coincidentally perfect and naff-looking) 90 degree angles. I still can't believe they accepted something that bad. Saul Bass it ain't.

I actually thought the current Windows Phone logo- with its flattened and boxed version of the XP "wavy" Window- was much more effective:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WindowsPhone7logo.svg

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Re: Austerity

We're in a recession, we can't afford shiny, Microsoft are moving with the times.

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giffgaff, not C4

Bloody hell, they've stolen giffgaffs corporate look and colours. Same colours, same little blocks of them.

Microsoft emulating the Poundland of the mobile world... must be preparing us for the inevitable price drop to free for Win8 ;)

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Re: giffgaff, not C4

I still wouldn't want it even if it was FREE!

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FAIL

The logo change is a Sure sign of the deep infection of marketing droiditis in MS when, as well as a criminally ugly new user interface (that used to be called Metro), they've also done through a "corporate rebranding". We just need some whale song and some anally retentive justifications (excuses) for the new nuances that the rebranding inflicts in customers. Doesn't matter if it's fugly, usable or anything, as long as the marketing droids like it.

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I wonder how much they paid the whalesong brigade to come up with that? If those four squares were hanging in the Tate Modern (or Charles Saatchi's pad) they would be worth millions.

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whalesong brigade

Lol

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Anonymous Coward

Cost

Some marketing or design company/department has probably been paid millions to re-brand this logo and came up with a 4 boxes. I bet they spent hours explaining the evolving dynamics of such a logo.

The people who come up with this crap should be shot, along with the managers that buy into it.

P.S: Can you say someone should be without the met police knocking on your door these days? Or is that just twitter?

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Re: Cost

It keeps the "creatives" off the street, and the "managers" will probably get a free champagne and pie dinner while having supple breasts rubbed in their faces. I think you are just jealous because you arn't at that level yet. (actually neither am I - hang the scum!).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cost

Or, is it that you've never worked in typography and don't understand just how much effort and design work goes into a logo change for a multinational company.

Hint: There will have been many more than one logo proposed and Microsoft have their logo on just a tad more than their headed paper. Some of the signs on buildings alone will cost tens of thousands of pounds.

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don't understand just how much effort...

And don't forget the giant circle jerk. There is always a large dose of "the emperor's new clothes" in new corporate logo press releases.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cost

20 years ago BT paid 5 million for the trumpet player design. 5 million for a logo is excessive for a doodle by anyone's standards. In the end with all the reprinting etc it cost them 50 million and then they had tons of redundancies shortly after......

Not likely to happen with microsoft but the costs involved for a simple design are criminal. These charges get passed on to customers eventually.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cost

Hint: next time don't bother. No-one cares.

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circle jerk

Lol

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Re: Cost

"Can you say someone should be (shot) without the met police knocking on your door these days?"

I find it safer and more humorous to suggest that they are candidates for an economy class seat on the B-Ark.

(With apologies to D. Adams)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cost

Yeah they should get a load of angry bitchy help desk monkeys off the internet as they are the heart of IT and know it all.

Then their logo can be some poorly rendered CGI tits, windows can be called TNT, executioner or iron fist and some in a sick green box.

It needs to just ooze masculinity to help them compensate for being a sissy.

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Trollface

Re: Cost

Could be worse, it might have looked like Lisa Simpson giving oral.

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Re: Cost

@AC 17:32

Quite right. Measuring design effort by the complexity of the result is as misguided as measuring progress on an airplane by how much it weighs (to coin a phrase). That way lies Victoriana.

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AC @17:32 - Re: Cost

Wrote :- "you've never worked in typography and don't understand just how much effort and design work goes into a logo change"

We understand full well how much money this sort of crap costs, but thanks for reminding us. The point being made by many here however is just what a waste of money it is. As you say there are two costs - one is to pay the "Design Company" to come up with this, a paper excercise accompanied by bullshit managerial presentations on its "meaning" - a meaning that will be totally lost on most people.

The other cost is the physical change to signage, vehicle liveries, and the dumping of literally tons of headed paper with the old logo, at a time when we are meant to be saving things to save the planet.

I have been in companies which have wasted millions on this frippery. In one they adopted a logo consisting of its initials, a red and a white letter, on a blue ground. We soon discovered that when photocopied on a B&W copier, the red initial dissappeared against the blue ground, leaving only the white one. What a cock-up, yet we paid a designer a 5 figure fee for it. An art student could have done better in a school project.

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Best bit...

...is at the end where it looks like Micro$oft eats itself, and disappears.

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Alert

Yellow.

What does 'Yellow' stand for?

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Re: Yellow.

Obvious, isn't it?

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Re: Yellow.

Maybe I'm being OCD, but that really annoys me. Ok, so - blue Windows, orangey-red Office, green XBox - so what the hell's yellow?

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FAIL

Re: Yellow.

@Shemmie

yellow is for the piss they are taking.

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Re: Yellow.

What about red to signify the red ring of death?

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Re: Yellow.

You guys are way off. Don't over-analyze it. It's simple:

Yellow = piss

Red = menstrual cycle

Green =faeces

Blue = fart (+ match)

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Re: Yellow.

Easy! The yellow represents the yellow smiley face-logo from Microsoft's disastrous past product Microsoft Bob because Microsoft is repeating its past mistake and trying to cater to only the lowest common denominator of its users once again!

(Other than that, the only other yellow-color branded Microsoft product that I can think of off of the top of my head was the cute little fox logo from Microsoft Visual FoxPro. Hmm, they said at the time in 2007 when they end-of-lifed Visual FoxPro that they were doing so because it was COM-based and they didn't want to redevelop it for .Net. Now that the new WinRT application architecture is essentially COM-based again, I wonder what their manufactured excuse would be for not further developing that product now... Well, besides the fact that they already killed it that is.)

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Re: Yellow.

Your faeces are green?

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IT Angle

I had been holding out for

<img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/a/af/Prince_logo.svg/170px-Prince_logo.svg.png">

Would fit in nicely with "the company formerly known as Microsoft that formerly made software..."

Where's the whalesong icon?

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Original C4 idents here:

http://www.theidentgallery.com/player.php?id=C4-2007-25-ID-SLIDE-1

I seem to recall the original idents took a long time to render... can anyone post a link to more info? Ta

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Re: Original C4 idents here:

Well those were digital computer graphics. Those did take quite a while to render and were quite expensive. Only when the "Videotoaster" came out, it became cheaper.

Just some of the problems. When you do such CGI, you need to store at least one frame. Then you somehow need to record that frame to a VTR. Building a VTR which records one frame is a very non-trivial thing as all the mechanical properties change. So you end up having to rent a specialist computer with a high quality video output, and a special VTR for still frame recording. All very expensive.

It might have been as expensive as a Scanimate setup per hour. The Scanimate was a popular analog computer graphics computer. It cost $2500 an hour back then and provided real time graphics.

http://scanimate.zfx.com/article.html

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Re: Christian Berger

I enjoyed the links to the scanimate. Thanks!

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Re: Christian Berger

Fascinating stuff on the Scanimate, thank you Mr Berger. That is why I read the Register.

I've found some info on the Channel 4 ident... reading between the lines, it would appear that wireframe animation was created in England by Systems Simulation Ltd. under http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lansdown. Apparently hand-colouring of the computer generated wireframes was tried, before Los Angeles-based Bo Gehring Aviation (http://www.designweek.co.uk/news/no-title/1121699.article) did the whole lot on a computer.

I'm still not clear on who did what and how, but Lansdown did animation for consoles aboard the Nostromo in Ridley Scott's Alien, and Bo Gehring (who was helped by a fellow who went on to SGI) did work for Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Clarification would be appreciated!

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Re: Christian Berger

I also liked the Hamlet Cigar spoof of the Channel 4 logo. Done by the same chaps?

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Re: Christian Berger

Ohh a German school TV show had a coloured in CGI opening. In fact that is even the episode with the "making of".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KySyiSUiFAM

Another good example for that is "Talespin". All the planes were first wire framed and then traced.

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Anonymous Coward

http://xkcd.com/1015/

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FAIL

Absolutely AMAZING!

They look EXACTLY alike!!

How did Microsoft pull that one off, without getting sued for copyright infringement?

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Re: Absolutely AMAZING!

They signed a cross licensing deal with Apple.

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updated - Spitting Image

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Lambie-Nairn

Though the IT angle on the CGI work is scarce, it turns out that the designer of the Channel 4 ident was also the creator of the Spitting Image series. Well I never.

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Anonymous Coward

Not sure why but my vision is instantly drawn to the "Micr" part of the logo, the rest of the letters seem to stand out less.

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Where's the blibbit?

Y'know? The blibbit. The funny 'o'? It can't have been retired once and for all?

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17 years in the making...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tw-GGT6900s&feature=player_embedded

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Re: 17 years in the making...

"It used to be difficult for personal computers to do more than one thing at a time. Starting with Metro Modern UI it is once again. Stop multitasking. Start Windows 8."

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I maybe know how to sort this...

A focus group for the focus groups?

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