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Microsoft's First New Logo in 25 Years Adopts 'Metro' Look

Microsoft on Thursday took the wraps off its new corporate logo, which now mirrors the "look and feel" of emerging products such as Windows 8.

According to a blog post by Jeff Hansen, Microsoft's general manager of brand strategy, Microsoft has not changed its corporate logo in 25 years. The new logo uses the Segoe font and has a flat, spare design similar to the Windows 8 start screen. Its colors "are intended to express the company's diverse portfolio of products," Hansen said.

Old Logo

Logo
The old (top) and new (bottom) Microsoft corporate logos.

Microsoft used to describe the Windows 8 UI design on which the new logo is based as "Metro," although that term may be changing. Microsoft has previously described its Metro design as reflecting the simplicity of signage seen in airports and passenger depots. Metro is also the name of a sans serif font design by William Addison Dwiggins. Some articles have speculated that Microsoft is dropping the Metro name because it infringes the trademark of a German company, but nothing has been confirmed publicly. Some of Microsoft's blogs now seem to use the phrase "modern UI" instead of Metro.

Early on, Microsoft team members explained the company's Metro UI approach as a way to surface applications that were buried in the Windows menu system. The Microsoft design team made the switch based on how people were actually using Windows, based on stats delivered through Microsoft's opt-in feedback system. People typically launched programs from the taskbar, for instance, rather than digging through menus and using the Start button. The tile-based Metro UI also helps keep users alerted to changes as the tiles are capable of receiving updates on the fly, which can be useful for applications such as stock tickers and such.

Metro is not a bunch of rectangles; rather, it's "a philosophy," according to Sam Moreau, a director of the Windows user experience, according to a CNET article. The new logo actually uses squares.

The new logo will start to appear on Thursday across Microsoft.com, as well as other Microsoft Web sites. Microsoft retail stores are also making the switch in the coming months.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.