(Talksauce is a weekly editorial that represents the opinions of Tapsauce editor-in-chief Jacob Hall, not Rocksauce Studios. If he says something stupid, blame him and him alone.)
When Microsoft unveiled their new logo earlier this week, my immediate reaction something along the lines of “meh.” It washed over me like a wave of nothing and all I could do was shrug. The minimalism of it felt like a desperate, failed attempt to replicate the simple iconography of Apple. In fact, I had so little to say about the logo that I turned to Rocksauce Studios CEO and designer extraordinaire Q Manning and asked his opinion. He responded with: “It’s terribly boring, with mediocre typography. No energy or excitement. Homogeneity incarnate.”
So, the first expert I asked was not impressed. Was this a case where the designers agreed with a plebe like me? That this new logo, Microsoft’s first major branding change since the company’s creation, was a failure? Although Talksauce is usually the place where I run off my big mouth, I decided to open the floor to the entirety of Rocksauce Studios and get everyone’s opinion on this thing.
First off, UX Designer Faith Goh felt that the logo was underwhelming, mainly because Microsoft has never been truly linked with a specific branding identity: “The fact that they have gone through so many other visuals tied to their name (such as their operating systems logos) means that they’re been all over the board in terms of logos. Logo ADD! Apple’s logo is pretty simple: it’s just an apple. Nothing fancy. But at least they’ve stuck to it through the years. This logo might have worked if they started with this a decade ago, but since they’ve gone through so many ‘roughs,’ I expected better.”
Chief Business Strategist Guthrie Bunn found the whole thing not only uninspired, but misrepresentative of what Microsoft is trying to be as a company: “The logo is boring, but does the job that their branding has been doing for the last 4 years: staying mildly irrelevant. It’s a little dated, the colors are misplaced, and the font feels late-90s. I wish they’d gone with 4 shades of gray for the window symbol and put color inside the Os. The problem is that they are making the “Windows” icon the center of their new brand, when what they really want to be selling is search engines, device platforms, and mobile tech. Why would they focus on the old desktop OS?”
Like me, Business Development Coordinator Daniel Burres could only offer a shrug: “This new logo is a step in the wrong direction, for sure. It is generic and ambiguous. It leaves me feeling at best, completely indifferent.”
Meanwhile, Project Manager Steven Walker was nothing but blunt in his assessment (“Boring, boring, boring. I almost feel asleep just looking at it“) but it was marketing specialist Michael Robin who delivered the most to-the-point answer of everyone involved: “I hate it.”
But it was not all negativity around the Rocksauce Studios office! Oh, no! While Creative Development Director John Gholson was not overly impressed, but he thought it got the job done: “If it didn’t say Microsoft beside it, you’d probably still be able to guess the company, so it’s a win in that regard.” Lead Developer Adam Weeks offered a similar sentiment: “[It] seems to fit well.”
The strongest defense of the new logo came from Director of User Experience Travis Slate, who went into detail about why the logo is a success and even argued that he would have probably delivered something similar if this was his gig:
“I believe the new logo hits the mark.
So, the final tally of the Rocksauce office was mixed to negative, with only one person truly rising to the defense of Microsoft’s new branding. Still, these were all people deeply involved the app and tech industries, so they were bound to approach this with some kind of baggage. What did the real people think, the people who don’t earn a living working in the mobile app field? I put the call out on Twitter, asking the norms what they thought. Here’s what I got:
Toni Salisbury: “Clean and boring. I don’t like the colors. I don’t know why, but they seem outdated. If it were shades of one color, that might do it for me.”
Jonathan Sullivan: “Doesn’t strike me as that much of a change.”
Brian Kelley: “After using their products most of my life, had you not told me that was a NEW logo I would have had no idea.”
William Goss: “It looks like Microsoft now wants to set me up with a mortgage.”
There you have it: the regular folks have tossed in with the “meh” crowd. They don’t seem to like it, but they’re not exactly offended by it either.
The next few years are going to be vitally important for Microsoft as they attempt to seriously compete with Apple and Google in fields where they already have a significant foothold. This new rebranding should have been their battle cry. Instead, it feels more like a whimper.