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Just Slightly Bothered by the Windows 8 Logo Design


Post Update: 19th February 2012

Now that the official statement on the Windows 8 logo published by Pentagram the perspective issue that I pointed out in the post below is now a mute issue.

It also appears that the version of the Windows 8 logo referenced by myself and many other websites is NOT the version designed by Pentagram. You will notice that their design (image above) has the stroke thickness of the vertical and horizontal lines set much much thinner.

Pentagram also cover the reasoning for the equal thickness lines as being based on classical perspective drawing rather than computer perspective. I still think this looks odd, but at least there is an official line for that particular design direction.

"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."

This also is a good example of trying to be too clever for your own boots—that is a direct reference back to me—and not waiting for an official description before going off all half-cocked. I personally wouldn't bother reading anything below mostly because it makes me look like a real dick.

Read More on the Windows 8 Logo by Pentagram

A lot of press coverage over the announcement of the new Windows 8 logo design, and with that has come a substantial quantity of mixed thoughts. Note: There was a story running last weekend reporting that the Windows 8 logo was a fake design, and I pretty much got sucked up with that, but it now seems to be very much official.


The Official Windows 8 Logo Brief

With Windows 8, we approached the logo redesign with a few key goals on mind.
1. We wanted the new logo to be both modern and classic by echoing the International Typographic Style (or Swiss design) that has been a great influence on our Metro style design philosophy. Using bold flat colors and clean lines and shapes, the new logo has the characteristics of way-finding design systems seen in airports and subways.
2. It was important that the new logo carries our Metro principle of being “Authentically Digital”. By that, we mean it does not try to emulate faux-industrial design characteristics such as materiality (glass, wood, plastic, etc.). It has motion – aligning with the fast and fluid style you’ll find throughout Windows 8.
3. Our final goal was for the new logo to be humble, yet confident. Welcoming you in with a slight tilt in perspective and when you change your color, the logo changes to reflect you. It is a “Personal” Computer after all.

To get right down to it I'm not overly offended by this new Metro style of design that Windows 8 is based on.


In fairness to the Windows brand, we have a common theme being addressed (the window pane) as well as the rather specific name in Windows which doesn't leave a whole lot of visual choices for us to base a logo design around. Hard to reinvent a window without resorting to something dramatically stylised which is not really an option given the Windows logo design heritage.

If this has been a logo for something totally different and from a totally different brand than Microsoft then my overall thoughts would likely be quite different, and by different I mean not so, "I'm not overly offended…".

There is, however, one design detail that does bother me, and I just can't stop being bothered by it. I have tried to see a plausable reason for it, but I just keep coming back to it being a design flaw rather than a purposeful feature.


Those pesky window frames.

It's all about the perspective and the simple fact that the white dividing lines would/should/ought to—I like to think this is a reasonable conclusion—increase in width the further left-to-right background/foreground it goes. Instead, the white dividing lines remain constant and seemingly don't work/run/flow with that quite dramatic off-the-page perspective.

It's one of those details for me that makes it look like it's either: trying too hard to not be realistic in any reasonable form, or it was just missed all together. There are no hard/fast right/wrong rules with logo design, but there are some things that just cause murmurings amongst the design fraternity.

So going back to last weekend when I first saw reports that the Windows 8 logo was a fake: it was this feature that led me to assume that it could quite possibly be a fake as  this surely would not have been in an official design? So I was wrong on that front.


I have, so far, not seen design feature this picked up by any other critic so am I am just being particularly particular?

Read more on Windows 8 logo design over on WindowsTeamBlog.


Android Derp Logo

I'm ashamed to say I am quite a fan of the various Derp meme's so when I saw the Android "Derp" logo from I just giggled like a girl—not that there is anything wrong with girls giggling just that for a 40 year old bloke it's not something to brag about.

Curiously the original Android "Derp" logo didn't have the Derpy style eyes so I simply had to Derpify it a bit more convincingly. Moving one eye down and in seems to do the trick quite nicely.

Apple iPhone vs driPhone Brand Trademark

Quite often we hear how Apple will make a move against some company for possible infringement against it's numerous and heavily protected trademarks. Usually I give them a passing look and move on.

I caught another trademark story in TheNextWeb (via Sydney Morning Herald) and this time the story me looking a little deeper. The long and short of it is that a New Zealand company, who have made a range of waterproof iPhone cases called driPhone (their logo on the right), has come under scrutiny by Apple for possible trademark infringement.

I'll be the very first to state that I am no trademark lawyer, and certainly not a shrewd or calculating businessman, so  whatever drivel you read thus is purely my own opinion based on my experience with logo and brand design rather than some brilliant business style analysis.

What I find astonishing is that Hayden Crowther seems a little miffed, apparently believing that Apple's complaint holds "little weight", that Apple has taken this stance and wants to legitimately protect the valuable iPhone brand.

It's not just the fact that Hayden has actually used the familiar "i", but it's that the whole driPhone logo is practically identical to Apple's iPhone logo. That sort of logo similarity doesn't happen, and especially in Apple's case, by accident. One has to make a choice to ride the success of another brand and make that decision to sail ever so close to the trade winds.

In this case the ultra similar typeface used in the driPhone logo along with the "i" is definitely, in my driveling laymen's opinion, treading on Apple's precious, is it not?

On the surface, and taking a simplistic look at logo design similarities and common sense application of the branding of accessories for Apple gear, and assuming that most people are aware of how Apple tends to despatch the trademark lawyers at any whiff of trademark infringement, I find this all a little amusing.

Alternatively, giving the benefit-of-the-doubt: this is one big calculated risk at obtaining some controversial coverage and thus drive some healthy early sales of the driPhone before it all, and expectedly, comes crashing down, then with the money made from the initial sales they can put back into rebranding and remanufacturing the dryPhone minus the "i".

Win—Lose—Win, or something like that.

It's just that reference to, "little weight", that gnaws at my sensitive psychological and emotional being. If you are going to call Apple's bluff out in public you have better be damn sure you really have something meaty to back it all up with. Or just have shit loads of money to play silly sods with.

I would like to finish by saying I really do like these driPhone waterproof cases as they are simply gorgeous. Just a bloody cheeky, or naivé, move on the accused. I will be interested to see how this one unfolds.

Found on TheNextWeb

Suitcase Vintage Logo Design by A. Micah Smith

Just had to show this lovely vintage style logo design by the talented A. Micah Smith. It's a fine line one treads when trying to replicate the aged, worn, reduplicated, photocopied, printed look in modern logo work.

Logo Design by A. Micah Smith

The Arabic FedEx Logo

I may have the opportunity to work on a nice identity project with a client based in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and with this possibility I need to brush up on certain skills: namely how typography, visual brand imagery and the actual finished logo design will need to translate to Arabic whilst keeping a clear brand link between the two.

This potential new client sent me some homework to absorb: examples of famous brands that have been translated to Arabic including the Arabic FedEx logo.

I was also passed some interesting information on the how-to of Arabic logo translation:

"The general trend is to create the exact phonetic spelling of the brand name, and not the meaning of the brand name of which there can be a huge difference."

It is explained further, thus:

"Subway is the name of a famous sandwich shop, and it literally means 'the subway' or 'underground'. The Arabic adaptation is purely graphic, and when read it just sounds exactly like 'Subway' and not the Arabic word for 'underground' which is usually 'Metro'."

Just to make it clear that the image of the Arabic FedEx logo above in this post is NOT the official version. It is vector version I tried my best to recreate from the photographs to hand.

Now I know the Arabic version of the FedEx logo is not new, but I think this is one of the few times I have actually seen it and paid attention to it. There are a few smatterings of the logo around the net, but finding a half decent image of the Arabic FedEx logo has been a fruitless task. The only versions I have found are photographs of the logo on the side of vans, and even then they are of questionable quality.

You can see the official Arabic FedEx logo on the website (below).

Sidenote. The FedEx logo has to have the largest selection of inaccurate colour versions of any brand I know. There are 4 just on this page alone. Bloody nightmare.

The few existing blogs that have referenced the Arabic FedEx logo have pointed out the implementation of the negative space arrow within the Arabic version.

Given Arabic is read right-to-left it then makes sense that the negative space arrow follows this same reading direction as well as the design logic of the original FedEx logo. It's a heck of a loto easier to spot the negative space arrow in the Arabic version due to the typography constraints, but it's still a decent translation/conversion.

Surely not an envious task to have been responsible for the Arabic version of the FedEx logo? Let's hope expectations were suitably realistic.

Interestingly there is a unofficial version of the Arabic FedEx logo on Behance and Deviant Art (above). As far as I can tell is a reimagined idea of how it should look like according to this particular designer.

The important distinction is that the original version has the infamous arrow located entirely in the red type, as it indeed should be? The concept version has the arrow sandwiched between the Fedex Pantone Purple 2685 and Pantone Red 186 letters for some reason I can't fully grasp.

I 'm certainly not in a position to make any kind of judgement on this version given my total inability to read Arabic, but I would be interested to know the rational behind the positioning of the negative space arrow.

The Gmail Logo

Can't say I had ever looked at the Gmail logo that closely enough to notice the mix of the original serif font Catull for the G, and the sans-serif Myriad Pro for ail.

The font mix used in the Gmail logo really isn't a bad pairing given hardly anyone seems to have noticed it before. Read more on this via link below.

► Found on The Atlantic

Wrecking Ball Coffee Branding and Coffee Bean Subscription

Wasn't sure what to file Wrecking Ball Coffee under as it's of interest to me on two fronts, much like Ink Butter (which has to be a typography & logo design highlight for me).

On one hand we have a wonderful brand name in Wrecking Ball Coffee with a delightfully crafted logo and tasteful packaging, then on the other we have the practical aspect of supposedly gorgeous coffee beans on subscription delivered to your door.

Given the double hit it's likely I will not be able to resist getting a subscription.

► Found on UnCrate

The £25 Logo Design Investigation by @MatDolphin

A interesting investigative experiment conducted by Mat Dolphin, and posted on Creative Review, after finding out about a company doing logo design for $42. As far as experiments this is pretty thorough with a good analysis of the results.

The conclusion? You get what you pay for,  and that will usually mean cliches aplenty.

I'm not worried and neither should you be.

Read more on Mat Dolphin

More4 Rebrand by ManvsMachine

We caught a teaser of the new More4 identity a few months back with a showing of just the logo by ManvsMachine. I was a little unsure of it then, and even after seeing it in all its dynamic glory, I am still unsure about the basic logo now.

The new More4 logo feels a little too busy in it's static form, and I am a little weirded out by the hanging E which was more appropriately enclosed in the previous More4 logo by Spin. I still think the original logo just feels far more useable, and easier on the eye, than this multi-coloured version.

Simple vs complex?

But no denying the overall identity has been very thought out and provides a huge number of variables.

Creative Review has a detailed breakdown of the new identity including a number of video's which will give you a really good look at this dynamic identity in action.

► Found on Creative Review