Despite eight redesigns in 26 years, the Microsoft logo needed a 21-year-old’s eye to break free from the 4-paned window. And judging from the web’s reaction, student designer Andrew Kim’s Microsoft rebranding is exactly what the company needs for the tablet age.
In this article for Fast Company, Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan describes how, for a 3-day design charrette, Kim created “the slate,” a parallelogram logo he says was inspired by the fact that “windows in the metropolis never look like 4 squares.” Concerned about the lack of cohesion in Microsoft rebranding, Kim built his logo with the company’s new Metro UI design standard for phones and tablets in mind — albeit with a few tweaks.
While Kim’s slate follows the flat, purely digital Metro style that promotes a UI without drop shadows and rasterized textures, it remains adaptable to the tech giant’s wide range of products. For Windows phones and tablets, Kim makes room for a few skeuomorphic elements — those design touches that are unnecessary from a functional standpoint, but instill a sense of comfort in users adapting to a wholly digital interface.
Kim was free to create without the constraints that a designer faces when working with a company the size of Microsoft. But startups and expansion-stage companies can learn from this student’s lesson: sometimes the best ideas come from the freshest minds.