Microsoft has introduced a new logo that the company says is its first revision in 25 years, which isn't exactly true. Above we have the new offering, which can be more accurately described as the biggest departure from the 1987 logo that Microsoft has made in the last 25 years. The design to the right is the emblem Microsoft has had since 2010, and more or less what its logo has looked like since 1987. Now, we have colors and boxes and a different Segoe font, which is all a nod to Microsoft's new Windows 8 future. (Microsoft explains it all in this blog post and video, below.) But between 1987 and the present, all was not quiet on the Microsoft logo front.
For the last 25 years, Microsoft had what it called the "pac-man" logo because of the slashed "o," which looks like the hungry video game dude. It looked almost identical to the offering above, but had that accompanying slogan. In 1994, however, Microsoft decided to change it. As part of a $100 million advertising campaign, Microsoft added "Where do you want to go today?" beneath the icon. Two years later, they took it off, as it got "widely mocked" according to Neatorama, with comebacks like (the very nerdy) "what kind of error messages would you make today?" Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (than an executive Vice President) admitted the slogan reception was "chilly," according to The New York Times, which called the overall reception "lukewarm."
Between 1994 and 2008 the logo stayed blank. Microsoft toyed with the taglines "Making It Easier", "Start Something", "People Ready" (imagine if they had landed on that one!) and "Open Up Your Digital Life" before picking "Your potential. Our passion," which started out as part of an advertising campaign and made its way below the pac-man sometime between 2006 and 2008. Then in 2010 came the "Be what's next" move, which got replaced today with the tagline-less totally new design.
This is certainly the biggest most drastic overhaul since Microsoft replaced what it called the "blibbet" logo (so named because of the weird striated "o") in 1987 with the pac-man one. So far, the reception has been what The Times might call lukewarm. "I think it's generic and boring and bad. It looks like it could be the logo for any other vaguely-tech company,"ranted Gizmodo's Sam Biddle. GeekOsystem was kinder calling it "striking" and BuzzFeed seems to indicate its an upgrade from the pac-man calling it the "first real logo" the company has ever had. "Every past logo was a just a word. Now it's got iconography, too," writes John Herrman. It's true, in all of Microsoft's tinkering, it always added more words, today we get no new words, just a symbol.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.