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post #121 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vorsos View Post

But that's the thing; Microsoft is following Apple's design cues once again, instead of finding their own identity.

 

Clever.

 

Microsoft is aping Apple by being influence by the Swiss and Bauhaus design schools.

 

Apple is original for being influence by the Bauhaus design school.

 

I guess because Apple did it first.

 

I got it.

 

Whatever.

 

I think MS's new logo is fine. Clean, simple and elegant. Their thinking around Metro is decent as well. Not perfect. Not great. But decent.

 

Apple doesn't have it all figured out.

 

And I've been friggin' Apple fan/"disciple" (and generally despised MS) for over 25 years!

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post #122 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

AI, It's not called Metro anymore...
It has more catchy name.. Windows 8 User Interface!

I prefer to call it the Windows Phone 7 User Interface to properly date it's arrival. 1wink.gif
post #123 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

Here's a rejected version of Microsoft's new logo:

 

(click for full size)

Now that's just mean! Funny, very funny, though! :)

post #124 of 171

I'm sure the faithful will appreciate the white cross in the logo, but why crucify windows with a grid interface.

 

OK I'll admit this really is in bad taste!

post #125 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

I find many of the criticisms of MS in the logo issue interesting and deeply ironic given how closely it draws from the bauhaus design ethos...as Apple has for decades both directly and indirectly.

 

Microsoft's new logo is much closer to a bauhaus aesthetic than anything Apple has done.  

 

I think you are really confusing or confabulating "bauhaus" with "modernity."  I would argue that Apple follows a "modern" aesthetic instead.  While bauhaus is by definition modern, not all modernity originates in bauhaus design aesthetics.  

 

No one in the bauhaus school would use rounded rectangles like Apple does for instance, or if they did, certainly not in anywhere near such profusion.  

post #126 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Windows Metro Sexual.  The new sensual windows.

 

Nah, "metrosexuals" are fashion leaders; ahead of the curve; daring and interesting; they follow no one and flout convention.  

 

That doesn't sound at all like Microsoft.  

post #127 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

For the first time in 25 years, Microsoft has updated its logo, with a tiled symbol that evokes the logo for its Windows operating system, as well as the new tile-driven Metro interface being pushed by the company.
 

"We're excited about the new logo, but more importantly about this new era in which we're reimagining how our products can help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential," Hansen said.

 

So now MS has a logo for the tile-driven Metro Interface that they just un-named. Also, MS is "excited about this new era..." WTF are they getting all excited about the "post-PC era?" 

 

What a bunch of corporate double-speak. The logo is flat and bland, just like the company it represents. Even though the new logo ties back to the old one in some ways, Microsoft feels they need to still put the company name there with the logo, or include the name into the logo. Are they that insecure? I'm surprised that they didn't add a tag line, like "A Ballmer corporation" under the company name, and then list all their products on the faces of the logo so no one could not forget what MS does...

post #128 of 171

Hi All,

 

Probably everyone has said this already, but it's boring, does not get me excited.

This feels like government initiative launch, whatever the government does (except for lower taxes across all wage earners), we never get excited, too much spin.

Not that I hate Microsoft, it just that they never make you passionate about what they are doing, do not touch core of me and say "DAMN THIS IS CUTTING EDGE'

Look at their executives  bio pages all in some suit or look like they are working for the government, reminds me of the BIG BLUE in 80s.

post #129 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenfingers View Post

it has squares, so it's already patented by apple. haven't they been following the apple/samsung case?

You should read more. Apple patented the rectangle.ᵢ

To be fair, a square is an equilateral rectangle...

post #130 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

Sleepy. This logo is making you very sleepy.

 

...zzz........

That's why it took them 25 years...

They wanted to get the snores just right!

post #131 of 171

Heh, a new look?.....how about a Google Chrome look (idea from the site we aren't allowed to talk about and pictures courtesy of my dock and AI):

 

 

 

lolz. itz kindaz copyinx zeres, huhz?

 

 


Tim Cook using Galaxy Tabs as frisbees

 

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Tim Cook using Galaxy Tabs as frisbees

 

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post #132 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Microsoft's new logo is much closer to a bauhaus aesthetic than anything Apple has done.

 

Agreed that it is purer representation of that design movement.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

I think you are really confusing or confabulating "bauhaus" with "modernity."  I would argue that Apple follows a "modern" aesthetic instead.  While bauhaus is by definition modern, not all modernity originates in bauhaus design aesthetics.  

 

No one in the bauhaus school would use rounded rectangles like Apple does for instance, or if they did, certainly not in anywhere near such profusion.  

 

I wasn't claiming that Apple was so much using the bauhaus movement as influenced by it as was Dieter Rams (who has also influenced Apple). But the influence goes back further to the original Macs (I think the influence has become more pronounced in recent years actually). Steve Jobs has even admitted this. It's actually not that hard to see either.

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post #133 of 171

And this is news? As if a redisigned logo would improve a product. It's all making majorcrap LOOK like it actually has desirable products. NOT!

post #134 of 171

ZZZZzzzzzzzz

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post #135 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmelapple View Post

I'm a graphic designer and this sort of blows my mind. There are a lot of logos and identities out there that blow my mind. For example, http://www.firstalliancecu.com here in my own city of Rochester, MN. Three rounded rectangles layered over each other. This took what...3 minutes of the president's son playing around in Illustrator? Some of the stuff I see here in Rochester is real garbage that doesn't take much thought, effort or any creativity, but I'm sure was well paid for. Or maybe it's an indication that more companies are doing the logo on their own in Microsoft Publisher to save money than actually paying someone who can build something visually engaging and represents an actual concept and brand strategy.

 

Microsoft's old logo wasn't that exciting either, but it sort of does that FedEx implied arrow thing with the O and S and is sort of more visually engaging...not by much, but more visually engaging. This new logo is just the name without any tweaking of the typeface and then 4 squares. Big deal. The old logo is boring but it's more iconic than this. This is too simple. I love simple, but this isn't that amazing. It probably did cost Microsoft a pretty penny to have this developed and built...but I don't think it's going to do them much good. Its like they've been developing this new UI (Metro) and then decided that they should build an identity that follows that new UI which is going to be prevalent throughout it's products. It makes sense, but it's too simple. Like someone here said earlier...they could have designed this in a span of 20 minutes. I could have done the same. There's no real thought involved. "Make it look like Metro" was probably in the creative brief. Some creative professional somewhere just made bank cause they did the one job on earth that required no thought and no effort yet yielded a massive check. 

 

Now if they staggered the tiles and changed the sizes and shapes it would be more like the Metro UI since not all tiles in the UI are the same size and shape and are staggered. This would indicate motion better than 4 squares of the same dimensions sitting static next to boring unaltered text.

Soooo true. Good post and whoa... that FACU logo takes me back to the 70's man! 

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post #136 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

Clever.

Microsoft is aping Apple by being influence by the Swiss and Bauhaus design schools.

Apple is original for being influence by the Bauhaus design school.

I guess because Apple did it first.

I got it.

Whatever.

I think MS's new logo is fine. Clean, simple and elegant. Their thinking around Metro is decent as well. Not perfect. Not great. But decent.

Apple doesn't have it all figured out.

And I've been friggin' Apple fan/"disciple" (and generally despised MS) for over 25 years!

Speaking as one who has been involved in this industry from the birth of both Apple and Microsoft, my first thoughts were it was an ad from the era of 8 bit computing. It seems to totally capture that 8 bit look and feel.
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post #137 of 171

Reminds me of Steve Bummer's physique. 

post #138 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by knightlie View Post


Great, the Windows Apologists have arrived. Sorry buddy, you're in the wrong place for crowing about Microsoft products.

 

Apologist? I'm just trying to correct false statements. Saying that MS has done 'nothing' in the last 7 years is obviously a false statement.

post #139 of 171
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Originally Posted by Evilution View Post


wtf?

First computer was an Apple //e, after that Macintosh (128K).
Now: MacBook Pro 13" 2.26GHz 8GB RAM

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First computer was an Apple //e, after that Macintosh (128K).
Now: MacBook Pro 13" 2.26GHz 8GB RAM

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post #140 of 171

Looks like they're dumbing down the logo as well now. Goes with Windows 8 well I think. YUK lol.gif

post #141 of 171

Well, it looks really good when seen really small in the upper left corner of their website. Brilliant! Not.

 

And the typeface is even more boring than before. They should've at least kept the little slit in the "o".

post #142 of 171
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post
Well, it looks really good when seen really small in the upper left corner of their website. Brilliant! Not.

 

Their old favicon is still there. But then again, no one will ever pay attention to favicons again… 

 

They should've at least kept the little slit in the "o".

 

They kept the "ft" joined, at least. "Respecting our roots", I imagine. F for fraud, T for traitors.

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post #143 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

I would seriously reconsider your statement, whether it's wise or not for MS to define everything with an OS experience.... that at the moment seems to be rather disliked. Dangerous stuff!
Whereas Apple can produce an ad campaign any way they choose to... and even pull it as they recently did... but the brand and that iconic Apple logo... didn't suffer a smidgen. Not in the least.
It's called having a logo that eclipses trends, is flexible, and is timeless. The newest retro-rage fonts, such as that used by Pinterest... sit's perfectly well next to the Apple logo. Not so much next to either the logo or the word mark from Microsoft. Just as an example.
 
Yeah. And that's exactly why I consider the design shortsighted. You really MUST put it into it's comfortable surroundings, BEFORE you know who it is, and what it is supposed to be representing. Just 4-squares is NEVER going to be as iconic and easily recognizable as the Apple logo. Ever.
Also, what happens when the "squares" become stale? When the "Microsoft" wordmark doesn't fit, or is not wanted? For instance an embossed "4-square logo" in glass. What if those 4 squares visually translate into a "Suisse" product... without also going to the trouble and expense of adding "Microsoft".

When I first saw the logo I thought it looked quite clean and a nice tie in with "metro" tiles.

The mark is easily forgettable without set colours or microsoft name. It becomes far too rigid for the sake of simplicity.

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post #144 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

They kept the "ft" joined, at least. "Respecting our roots", I imagine. F for fraud, T for traitors.

I know your just poking fun but it is common to use ligatures as overlapping occurs and can make a clean design look busy, unprofessional and unsightly especially for logos! 😉

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post #145 of 171
Originally Posted by Fillie View Post
I know your just poking fun but it is common to use ligatures as overlapping occurs and can make a clean design look busy, unprofessional and unsightly especially for logos! 😉

 

Sure thing, and I did mean what I said at the beginning* about how they're probably doing it as a throwback to their old logo/font. They probably could have picked one that avoided the issue, but it's difficult to copy Apple and fuss with typography at the same time.

 

*and the end

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post #146 of 171

 

It sure didn't take Microsoft long to kick this logo to the curb...  It no longer shows up anywhere on their site.

post #147 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post
I don't know what they're teaching you in school (I'm assuming you've went to design school)... but either you skipped too many classes, or it's as bad as some of us ol' Xacto/Rapidograph guys think it's become. Because I hate to break the news to ya, but the 50's and 60's were... and still are... easily the most influential decades of image branding, creative design and advertising EVER.

i went to Art Center 15 years ago. never skipped class, though fell asleep in quite a few from exhaustion. fun times. of course the 50s and 60s were highly significant. modernism is the foundation of contemporary design. herbert bayer is why i haven't used a capital letter in personal writing for...um... maybe since school. however, design has certainly continued to evolve, and in this digital age the brandmark/logo is hardly the end all be all of a brand. it seems to be for apple, but clearly not now for microsoft. 

 

of course it won't be as iconic as the apple logo. it would almost be stupid for them to try to compete at that level. which is likely why they did not. i don't really get how it is disliked. here, on an apple rumors message board where 98% of the people are fanboys, sure. everywhere else? and, often, initial polarization of opinion is a sign of something good. and, without a doubt, microsoft now owns the square. not only is it an iconic AND highly functional foundation to their UI work, it is now part of their branding.

 

never in a 1000000 years would i have imagined that microsoft would come to represent purity and minimalism when it came to design or UI. but, they are definitely heading that way, in a good way. i think it is just a short matter of time before the metro UI team starts integrated and influencing the core windows UI team. have you read their UI guidelines? i checked it out when windows phone 7 was new, and the voice is really well defined, and i gotta say, stronger than the OSX and iOS HIGs. 

 

i think sagoe looks more contemporary than helvetica, specifically because of its sharp points and such. helvetica i love, but it is not the end all be all. it is quite possible a timeless modern design, but it still shows its age. i want my devices to accomplish tasks, i want them to be precise and fast and consistent tools. i don't want them to be all over the place. you can't argue that apple's design experience now looks unfocused when compared to microsoft's. helvetica on iOS. lucida sans on mac. garamond in print and advertising, along with myriad also. and, as you mentioned, basically off the shelf adobe fonts, that they clearly didn't adjust themselves to make better (again, apple helvetica's number kerning irks me so much). 

 

and, trust me - if years ago me knew i'd be lauding microsoft's graphic and UI design approach, i would have been shocked. i am. i think they are doing everything right. i have a classmate working there for the last couple years, and a previous UI/UX design coworker working there (he knows his stuff). my impression is they have been stocking up over the last 2-4 years on pretty high quality creative folks, and it is starting to show. not sure if their CEO gets that at all, but at least he seems to get it enough to get out of their way and let them do what they need to do. 

 

btw, frutiger is quite nice. and, thanks for the real thoughts. this thread has actually been worth reading thanks to posters like you. usually, it is 100% fanboism. cheers. 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
post #148 of 171

They must have done soooo much brain storming with the advertising agencies spending millions of dollars to design this logo. 

Its not good. Not good at all. 

How about - now its Microsoft's turn to copy - a logo.  How about Samsung (Samscum) logo? ;) ;)

post #149 of 171

Looks virtually the same as the old one, BORING!  Everyone move on, nothing to see here.

post #150 of 171

I like their new logo.

post #151 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenfingers View Post

it has squares, so it's already patented by apple. haven't they been following the apple/samsung case?

Corners are sharp, so they are safe 1wink.gif
post #152 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpsx View Post

i went to Art Center 15 years ago. never skipped class, though fell asleep in quite a few from exhaustion. fun times. of course the 50s and 60s were highly significant. modernism is the foundation of contemporary design. herbert bayer is why i haven't used a capital letter in personal writing for...um... maybe since school. however, design has certainly continued to evolve, and in this digital age the brandmark/logo is hardly the end all be all of a brand. it seems to be for apple, but clearly not now for microsoft. 

Great school. I considered going there in the early 80's, but instead went to Parsons downtown, and also took classes at USC. It's at both of those schools that I made acquaintances that later allowed me to get a Mac in '84. In '85 I started working for the agencies, as well as on some films and music projects... with my Mac in tow. Sadly, I never graduated with a degree.... HOWEVER, I met and worked closely with so many great professionals in photography, film, graphics, typesetting, music engineers, etc.... I maintain to this day, that it was the better "educational" choice by far! I showed them what could be done on the Mac... and they showed me what problems they wanted solved, and what would make their profession, easier and better. Absolute "win - win" experiences.

Critique: Capitalizing properly in the language you're writing in is for "communicating quickly" your thoughts. It allows the person/people you're trying to communicate with, the luxury of "speed reading" to find relative places, people... and other main subjects to refer back to.

Herbert Bayer: it could be theorized that at the time (early 1900's), Communism and Marxist philosophies were the rage among intellectuals. By choosing to bring everything down to "lower case", thus communizing type and communicating ideas, it could be argued that Herr Bayer was making a political statement with his typography and graphics. Fitting that he also lost that fight, considering that capitalization (Capitalism) won the battle on all fronts for good reason....uhm... regardless of how it has evolved.

Off topic: actually, the underlying principles of Communism and Capitalism are "pure" philosophically... until you mix in the impurities known as the "human factor and condition". It's only then that the practice of either philosophy becomes... well, rather flawed. You could apply this to design as well.
Quote:
of course it won't be as iconic as the apple logo. it would almost be stupid for them to try to compete at that level. which is likely why they did not. i don't really get how it is disliked. here, on an apple rumors message board where 98% of the people are fanboys, sure. everywhere else? and, often, initial polarization of opinion is a sign of something good. and, without a doubt, microsoft now owns the square. not only is it an iconic AND highly functional foundation to their UI work, it is now part of their branding.

Read the above posts from others that have pointed out how many ways MS is trying to copy Apple... and even Goggle... their 2 main rivals.

And no, Microsoft does NOT now own the square. Just as much as Apple does NOT own rounded corners and is not claiming to (sorry to p** on the Android fans... but really, Apple is not maiking that claim at all. Google: "sum of it's parts" for explanations).

Question: have you taken a trip to Europe, and/or visited Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands... or Scandinavia?

I'm writing this from Germany, and have lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe for 23+ years now. If you haven't been here before, you would not believe how much ALL of the design in the Germanic and Scandinavian countries, still take their design cues from the Bauhaus movement. The "square" has been re-invented, colored, and used so many numerous times, that Microsoft has to be extremely careful what they do with their "square" here in Europe, especially if they ever choose to use one color. There are many trademarks and logos that they are already coming painfully close to mimicking: major banks and corporations, assorted non-profit organizations, museums and public works, national identities even.
Quote:
never in a 1000000 years would i have imagined that microsoft would come to represent purity and minimalism when it came to design or UI. but, they are definitely heading that way, in a good way. i think it is just a short matter of time before the metro UI team starts integrated and influencing the core windows UI team. have you read their UI guidelines? i checked it out when windows phone 7 was new, and the voice is really well defined, and i gotta say, stronger than the OSX and iOS HIGs. 

I'm going to agree with you, that at least they are trying to pull the "pieces into a whole" concept. However... as much as I love minimalism.... you have to still know why and where it should apply.

For example:
Apple has recently caught some flak over their insistance to use gray icons in the Finder window sidebar. That choice has caused many users to bemoan the fact (for them), that it is too difficult to "quickly" differentiate the icons, and then becomes a GUI liability, rather than a "user friendly" enhancement. Regardless of the fact that it adheres to Apple's "minimalism" design philosophy, it flies in the face of SJ's desire to always consider the USER first, and the function/feature later. (Note: I personally am not hindered in any way... but some users are.)

Microsoft will run into the very same problems sooner rather than later. The rigidity of the square dictates that eventual fact. People will become "lost in a sea of squares". Is that desirable? Immersive is an adjective that has opposite meanings depending on the context: drowning or engaging.
Quote:
i think sagoe looks more contemporary than helvetica, specifically because of its sharp points and such. helvetica i love, but it is not the end all be all. it is quite possible a timeless modern design, but it still shows its age. i want my devices to accomplish tasks, i want them to be precise and fast and consistent tools. i don't want them to be all over the place. you can't argue that apple's design experience now looks unfocused when compared to microsoft's. helvetica on iOS. lucida sans on mac. garamond in print and advertising, along with myriad also. and, as you mentioned, basically off the shelf adobe fonts, that they clearly didn't adjust themselves to make better (again, apple helvetica's number kerning irks me so much). 

If you haven't done so already, you really must take a look at Helvetica: The Documentary
Quote:
and, trust me - if years ago me knew i'd be lauding microsoft's graphic and UI design approach, i would have been shocked. i am. i think they are doing everything right. i have a classmate working there for the last couple years, and a previous UI/UX design coworker working there (he knows his stuff). my impression is they have been stocking up over the last 2-4 years on pretty high quality creative folks, and it is starting to show. not sure if their CEO gets that at all, but at least he seems to get it enough to get out of their way and let them do what they need to do. 

Again... it's laudable for trying only. MS is applying an all encompassing and rigid design philosophy to a very complex and flexible (at it's core) set of devices and software. Yes, they've done a 360... but have not truly considered the implications down the road. They are trying to "be cool" and re-imagine themselves... but their fans and user-base, by choice or by situation (work), may just decide it hinders productivity rather than enhances it. What then?
Quote:
btw, frutiger is quite nice. and, thanks for the real thoughts. this thread has actually been worth reading thanks to posters like you. usually, it is 100% fanboism. cheers. 

... I still disagree about Frutiger...
... I take your fanboism quote as a bad generalization, since there's some really, REALLY smart and influential people on these AI forums. Look up posts by Dick Applebaum, mdriftmeyer, Marvin, solipsism, etc.
... I thank you for the compliment... and say "Cheers" in return since you're buying 1smile.gif

Finally... you need to take a closer look at the "who, what, why and where" regarding your chosen design philosophy to follow. You make the same mistake as Microsoft by not applying it for a good and solid reason, other than for "design's sake".
Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
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post #153 of 171

Looks good! I saw a preview of Office 2013 and it seems that FINALLY MS have taken a leaf from Apple's book -- it looked NICE and was pleasurable to use. So many tiny graphical touches. Very nice indeed.

 

Good job MS. The more decent competition for Apple, the better for everyone.

post #154 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

 

It sure didn't take Microsoft long to kick this logo to the curb...  It no longer shows up anywhere on their site.

 

That's the Windows Logo (minus the 2012) and it was featured in the video in the news article.

post #155 of 171

Really? 

 

Well, I guess now microsoft can say that they also stole their logo from Apple.... 

 

 

 

....Boot Camp.... 

post #156 of 171

Microsoft are going to spend gazillions on marketing and this will work as far as selling new PC's and tablets etc.

Make no mistake, Microsoft have a strong hold on the corporate environment with the server software and network groups, I think this will never change (Apple have certainly dropped the ball on this one).

I don't think Microsoft will do so well selling products like Apple do though and I think this is what they are aiming for with the new logo.

I think this could end up being another Zune move.

post #157 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by NotRs View Post

Really? 

 

Well, I guess now microsoft can say that they also stole their logo from Apple.... 

 

 

 

....Boot Camp.... 

 

What?

 

 

Yup. Microsoft definitely borrowed that logo from Boot Camp, introduced in 2006.

post #158 of 171
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

 

Yup. Microsoft definitely borrowed that logo from Boot Camp, introduced in 2006.

 

He was making a joke. But then you made a fool.

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post #159 of 171

I think its funny that they put some much "work" into finding a font. I find the font as boring as any, not even pleasant to look at.

 

I have no gripe against simple and clean, but 4 squares just doesn't feel new.

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post #160 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

Meh, it's a nice logo I guess. Maybe I'm over-thinking this, but from the video, it looks like the blue square represented Windows, then the orange square represented Office (but they showed a 3-D square or something), then the green square seemed to be XBOX (but they just showed the round normal XBOX logo there) and then the yellow square.....wait.....what about the yellow square? Were they going somewhere with this???

actually, those colors for a long while were a way to represent the different MS Office Apps since at least Office '97.

Yellow = Outlook

Green = Excel

Blue = Word

Orange/Red = Powerpoint

 

Granted, those colors have been on the "Windows" operating system logo since forever, I think it was at least since Windows 3.1.

 

I think that's where the disconnect happens for me.  I have always though using the colored squares in Metro and Windows phone UI had no logic.  The colored squares seem to have an arbitrary look to them.  If they really wanted to use colored blocks like this, they should have come up with a strategy for the colors.  And if they did, it's not obvious to me, and I work in a highly graphics-related field.

 

For example: (this is only one concept)

 

Yellow = communications and networking (i.e. email, phone, text, contacts)

Orange = Social Media and 3rd party apps.

Red = Productivity apps (word, excel, PP, etc.)

Purple = Music, video, photos and other media

Blue = Internet related apps

Green = Gaming

 

This way you have the primary 4 colors of the logo representing the core functions of the OS, and the other colors can be worked in as 3rd party or secondary apps.  At least with this one example, you could quickly know what is what visually by color.  Of course that sucks for color-challenged folks but then you could supplement it with a white or black silhouetted logo in each block, and/or text.

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