Microsoft's new logo fails to enthuse

Microsoft decided to change its logo and the move was greeted by a large yawn from the world and its dog.

Basically it is the old logo which has been ironed out so that it looks like Vole’s god-awful “I am not metro” Windows 8 interface. Given that the “I am not Metro” interface is widely expected to kill off Windows on the desktop, this is probably not the best idea for a logo.

Corporate image is jolly important for marketing, and changing a company logo involves lots of different parts of a company arguing about something which is pretty much subjective. However one of the more amusing things about the process is the symbolic rubbish that the artists and the advertising people come up with to justify their recommendations.

Unfortunately Microsoft cut a lot of this out of its announcement.  It said that the logo has two components: the logotype and the symbol.

According to Microsoft: “For the logotype, we are using the Segoe font which is the same font we use in our products as well as our marketing communications. The symbol is important in a world of digital motion (as demonstrated in the video above.) The symbol’s squares of color [sic] are intended to express the company’s diverse portfolio of products.”

Actually the colours are the same as the old one. All that has happened is that instead of it being displayed as a flag, it is being shown flat.

We handed the logo to our tame symbolism expert Dr Dirk Thrusting of the University of Paekakariki. Since he does not get out much, he was not aware what company logo he was interpreting. He told us what the symbols suggested to him: “The central theme of the logo is the four square tablets of colour united by a white cross. This is a reference to the four elements, or the four directions united under a single commonwealth,” he said.

“Each of the four squares indicates that the company is pulling itself into four different empires under the control of a single unifying force. It is a typical symbol of a large company which has been broken down into four competing divisions, which is ruled by a CEO who spends all his time trying to keep them from each other’s throats. However it would appear that this is failing as the only way that the central force can unify the force divisions is by converting itself into a swastika.”

We asked Thrusting if the logo suggested mobile to him and he said: “Don’t be silly. The square is a symbol of stability. So this logo indicates that the company is not going anywhere and is attempting to maintain a status quo at all costs. The fact that the square is repeated four times and two of the squares are on top of each other means that it can’t move at all. Imagine if someone was sitting on top of you. You could not move, and neither could they.”

In summary the symbol suggests a large flat, inert company which is squabbling between its various divisions, with a weak and ineffective leadership, he said.

Who says corporate logo symbolism interpretation is rubbish eh?