20/02/2012 11:16 | By Matt Farrington-Smith, editor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

Microsoft reveal new Windows logo for Windows 8

Microsoft's iconic Windows logo gets redesigned for Windows 8 with Metro update.

With the release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview looming, Microsoft have teased a new version of the classic Windows logo.

Microsoft has redesigned the iconic Windows logo. Image Microsoft

Sam Moreau's latest post on the "Blogging Windows" blog reveals a modern reimagining of the iconic Windows logo.

Microsoft worked with Pentagram to produce the new logo. Pentagram are the world's largest independent design consultancy. Some of their illustrious clients include Tiffany & Co, Nike, Swatch and Boots. They have also spearheaded the redesigns of Time magazine and Cosmopolitan.

It's a window... not a flag

As a means of an introduction, Moreau states: "'Windows' really is a beautiful metaphor for computing and with the new logo we wanted to celebrate the idea of a window, in perspective."

If we look back to the very first Windows logo (Windows 1.0) it shares more in common with the new logo than the waving flag that followed immediately after.

The original Windows 1.0 logo. Image Microsoft

The original Windows 1.0 logo

When Pentagram and Microsoft first met to discuss the new direction, Pentagram's Paula Scher posed the following question: "Your name is Windows. Why are you a flag?."

Microsoft Windows 3.1 logo. This represented many future versions of the operating system. Image Microsoft

The flag logo represented many future versions of the operating system.

The new identity returns the logo to its roots. The name Windows was originally introduced as a metaphor for seeing into screens and systems and a new view on technology. The new identity reintroduces this idea with the actual visual principles of perspective. It also reflects the Metro design language developed by Microsoft for its products, graphics and user interfaces.

In order for the design to move forward, the team had to first look back and consider the Windows brand history.

Here are some of the insights from the design process:

The Windows logo became a natural place to demonstrate the graphic capabilities of each new version of Windows. Starting with Windows 3.1 we see (more than one) colour for the first time, this represented the CGA (Color Graphics Adapter) that displayed a maximum of 16 colours.

What's more it was these four colours that would become synonymous with the Windows brand. For many of us this is the image in our mind when we think of past Windows logos.

This logo would be the basis for all Windows logos throughout the 1990s.

Windows XP and Windows Vista logos. Image Microsoft

[Left] The Windows XP logo complete with 3D gradient effect. [Right] The Windows logo used for Vista and Windows 7.

Starting with Windows XP the flag began to take on a more material look and introduced a 3D effect with a gradient. This cleaner, more sophisticated design became known as the "Windows flag".

Aero glass in Windows 7. Image MSN

AERO glass as seen in Windows 7.

The subsequent logo for Windows Vista went one step further, the flag evolved into a kind of dimensional button or "pearl". Windows Vista marked the beginning of the AERO design aesthetic in Windows with a key component of the interface being the "AERO glass" effect.

This logo remained largely unchanged for Windows 7, whereas under the hood everybody realised that Windows 7 was an entirely different kind of beast.

Below are some words on the design philisophy Microsoft and Pentagram applied to the new Windows logo. For more information visit http://www.pentagram.com/

Evolution of the Windows logo. Image Microsoft

Evolution of the Windows logo as seen on pentagram.com

Evolution of a logo

When you look at the new logo you will notice the slight tilt in perspective, also note when you change your color, the logo changes to reflect you. The new logo reflects the sleek, modern "Metro" design language first introduced by Microsoft on Windows Phone.

The perspective drawing is based on classical perspective drawing, not computerized perspective. The cross bar stays the same size no matter the height of the logo, which means it has to be redrawn for each time it increases in size, like classic typography.

The perspective analogy is apt because the whole point of Microsoft products is that they are tools for someone to achieve their goals from their own perspective. The window here is a neutral tool for a user to achieve whatever they can, based on their own initiative.

The logo design is deliberately neutral so that it can function effectively in a myriad of uses, especially motion. The old logo was flat and drawn in motion; the new logo is a neutral container that can convey actual motion, becoming a more active and effective brand.

For more information visit:
Windows Team blog

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