Microsoft Windows new logo by Paula Scher

Animation of the new identity demonstrating its capacity for transparency and motion. Transparent, it can become an actual window.

As Microsoft prepares for the launch of Windows 8, the new version of its operating system, it has announced a bold new identity that takes the iconic Windows logo back to its roots—as a window. Designed by Pentagram’s Paula Scher, the logo re-imagines the familiar four-color symbol as a modern geometric shape that introduces a new perspective on the Microsoft brand.

Meeting with Microsoft early in the development process, Scher asked: “Your name is Windows. Why are you a flag?”

The answer is the brand started as a window, but over the years, as computing systems grew more powerful and graphics more complex, evolved into a flag. Scher made the assumption that the waving flag was probably a result of typical industry comments that a plain window looked too static, and that straight lines were too severe.

“I think the waving flag was meant to be a flag in perspective,” says Scher. “All of the clichés of technology design are based on the idea that icons should look dimensional like product design that tech designers call ‘chrome’––look at the iPhone interface where everything has gradation and drop shadows.”

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The new Windows 8 identity designed by Paula Scher.


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 a post on his blog, Sam Moreau, Microsoft’s Principal Director of User Experience for Windows, says: “’Windows’ really is a beautiful metaphor for computing and with the new logo we wanted to celebrate the idea of a window, in perspective.”

Scher and her team created a complete system based on the idea of perspective. The designers completed motion studies to demonstrate the transformation of the flag shape into a window shape, to show that they weren’t that far apart and would be an easy and elegant transition for the brand.

In its research, the team considered the Windows brand history. The original Windows logo looked like a window. As computing became more powerful, the logos for Windows began to get more complex, to show off the capabilities of Microsoft systems. The logo for Windows 1.0 resembled panes of glass. By Windows 3.1, this had been replaced with a waving effect for a sense of motion and the four colors that became a signature of the Windows brand.

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The original Windows 1.0 logo.

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The Windows 3.1 logo.


For Microsoft, the logo became a natural place to demonstrate the graphic capabilities of each new version of Windows. The Windows logo underwent another transformation for Windows XP, when the “flag” began looking more material and gained a 3D effect with a gradient. For Windows Vista, the flag evolved into a kind of dimensional button or “pearl,” as it became known in Microsoft’s branding language.

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Windows XP logo.

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Windows Vista logo.


The new logo reflects the sleek, modern “Metro” design language first introduced by Microsoft in its Windows 7 phones. Metro is based on the design principles of the Swiss International Style, with clean lines, shapes and typography and bold, flat colors. One guideline of Metro is that the graphic or interface must appear “authentically digital” – that is, it should not appear to be material or three-dimensional using gradients or effects. The new identity suggests dimensionality using the classic principle of perspective: lines receding into space.

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.


Animation of the transition from the flag to a shape.



Transition of the Microsoft logo to the new perspective concept.

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The team designed the system to fit into lines of perspective.

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Guidelines-4_embed.jpgThe clean lines, flat shape and bold color of the logo reflect the design principles of Microsoft’s Metro design language.

Guidelines-5_embed.jpgThe logo is redrawn at different sizes so the cross bars always appear at the same size.

Project Team: Paula Scher, partner-in-charge and designer; Lisa Kitschenberg and Drew Freeman, designers.

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_SOURCE: pentagram.com 

Hans Reichel Passes Away At Age 62

Last week, on Tuesday November 21st, the experimental electric and acoustic guitarist, avant-garde composer, instrument builder and inventor, graphic designer and type designer Hans Reichel suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in his studio in Wuppertal, Germany. Virtually unknown to the audience at large, he was highly regarded amongst guitarists and in the world of experimental music, who considered him to be one of the most unusual musicians at work in the world. Guitar Playerincluded him in their list of “30 Most Radical Guitarists” in a 1997 issue of the magazine. Designers and typographers know him as the creator of the popular Barmeno and the world-renowned FF Dax family, arguably one of the most widely used typefaces in advertising and marketing today. Other type designs by Reichel are FF Daxline, FF Sari, FF Schmalhans, and FF Routes.

Hans Reichel was a musical wunderkind. Teaching himself the violin at the tender age of 7, he joined the school orchestra. Around age 15 he became interested in rock music, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and later, Frank Zappa, Cream, and Jimi Hendrix. Reichel picked up guitar and bass and played in a number of bands, before giving up music for a time to study philosophy and graphic design. He worked a few years as a typesetter and producer of construction work signs. Reichel would eventually come back to music, causing a sensation in 1970 with peculiar, self-built guitars. He performed several concerts series in Europe, USA, Canada and Japan, and released more than 30 albums. In 1985 he created the daxophone, a string instrument with wooden tongues. For more information on Hans Reichel the musician, read the concise obituary on Tiny Mix Tapes or the comprehensive entry on Answers.com

Hans Reichel’s career as a type designer started with Barmeno, published by Berthold in 1983. The following quotes by Hans Reichel are freely translated and restructured from Deutsche Schriften für die Welt (German Typefaces for The World), an interview with Der Spiegel magazine in May 2007.

“In the seventies I was a musician, always on the road with self-built guitars and so on. I constantly needed to design promotional items – concert posters, flyers, album covers, etc. I always liked doing it myself, with pencil and marker pens. This was before the personal computer, so everything had to be done by hand. Drawn big on paper, then reduced at the copy shop, puzzled together, and so on. This is how my first typeface Barmeno originated.”

Typical for this idiosyncratic rounded sans serif are the absence of “spurs”, which became Reichel’s signature style.

“My type designs can easily be recognized by the absence of a structural element that the lowercase of almost all other text faces have in common: the small straight extensions of the stems beyond the point where they are joined by a curve. They used to make sense from a historical viewpoint, as they originated in the mediaeval typefaces. Yet these little stubs, found for example at the top left of the “p” and bottom right of the “a”, are absent in my designs. This is why they have a stylized and clear appearance, without being less legible, on the contrary.”

The fact that Barmeno enjoyed a seizable success did not deter Hans Reichel from revisiting this concept of a rounded spurless design in 1999 with FF Sari. Expanding on his original ideas he devised a more versatile and complete interpretation, with a wider range of weights and a comprehensive character set.

Also FF Dax was subsequently revisited. After seeing Akira Kobayashi’s lecture aboutAdrian Frutiger’s Avenir Next at TYPO Berlin 2004, Hans Reichel was handed a brochure detailing the typeface at the Linotype booth. Here is what he told to Ivo Gabrowitsch, Marketing Director of FontFont.

“Carefully studying it, I said to myself I could do that as well. While travelling back home, I already started working on Daxline on the train. It eventually took a long time and was painstaking, yet at the same time very exciting work. When it was done eight months later, so was my last relationship, and with it my beautiful garden. Ever since I’ve been a self-professed single, which eventually turned out quite all right from today’s point of view.”

The improved proportions and decreased stress make FF Daxline better suited for text use, and it still works equally well in display sizes. Personally Reichel was convinced FF Daxline is the better typeface – it is clearer, airier and more versatile. He considered designing a condensed version, which he thought could be interesting. Reichel did experiment with it a little, but didn’t know if he’d still be able to swing it at his “almost retirement age”. Most of all the thought of having to do all those cursives made him queasy.

Through the music he created, through the instruments he built, and through the typefaces he designed Hans Reichel shone as a fiercely original voice. With the disappearance of this multitalented maverick artist the type and music world is left a little poorer, a little less wondrous.





-SOURCE: fontfeed 

DC Comics logo re-design

DC Entertainment

If your company is growing or needs to head in a new direction, changing your brand — most noticeably by changing your logo design — is a critical step in changing the conversation about who you are and what you are doing. It makes everyone take a new look and allows you to, at least initially, set the direction of that conversation. It’s important to remember, though, that your logo is not your brand. DC has been going through quite a lot of change in the last several years, not only relaunching its entire line of comics, but also beginning its transformation from a “comic book” company into a media “entertainment” company. This logo change is the next step in that evolution.

There has already been some criticism of the logo and its sticker peel look, but the first thing I noticed was what a departure it is from the almost straight evolutionary path the DC logo has taken over the past 70 years.

DC Logos 1940's — 2011

Although from beginning to end the logo is markedly different, you can see a continuity from step to step. If DC Comics/Entertainment wanted to change the conversation with their new branding, they are certainly doing that, but we’ll have to wait and see whether it is for the better or worse. Gone are the campy swirl and star elements. Also gone, though, is the dynamism and playfulness. What is left is an almost uptight corporate symbol that, without the title underneath, is unclear as to what it represents.

We don’t know whether similar concerns were voiced in the new L.A. offices at DC, but it’s clear from this logo that there is definitely a new regime in control.




SOURCE: Designer Daily