Kim proposes “the slate” as a new universal Microsoft logo. It’s still a window pane, the designer explains, but seen from an oblique angle.
Kim, who is finishing is degree at Art Center College of Design, had three days to carry the project through from concept to completion.
Ideas, sketches, and notes tacked on the wall of Kim’s studio show the evolution of his proposal.
A comparison of “the big three,” Apple, Google, and Microsoft. “I decided that Microsoft needs to be… slightly aggressive, unlike Apple and Google’s friendly marketing,” writes Kim.
Microsoft’s current logomark.
Kim’s proposed redesign changes the typeface to an uncapitalized sans-serif, with a well-adjusted kerning.
It’s a “new start,” writes Kim, whose visual identity appropriates outer space imagery in stark black and white.
How the current logo works with Microsoft’s diversified product lines was a major concern for the young designer, who thinks that the perspective angle of the current logo clashes when it’s stamped on hand-held products.
On the left, Kim points out some of the company’s newest, coolest products. On the right, their over-friendly branding for Microsoft Office–”a branding effort that simply does not inspire people.”
The centerpiece of Kim’s proposal is the new logo, which he calls “the slate.” It was inspired by the oblique perspective of windows in corporate office towers.
Adapting the slate for the company’s many product lines, from tablets to software, shows its flexibility.
Meanwhile, a super-sized version frames a re-written brand philosophy:
“The Next Microsoft is built around a belief and passion for the future…expressed in a bold and mysterious fashion.”
The slate becomes a window pane, like Microsoft’s past logos, which can be super-sized to frame the “mysterious” imagery Kim sees as essential.
Another iteration of the slate shows crowded city streets.
And a third, the city itself.
Stamped on a Surface tablet and Windows phone, the slate is a less “busy” visual identity.
Which also extends to Microsoft’s packaging. Here, boxes for the company’s newly-unveiled line of tablets.
Kim demonstrates that the slate could be a ubiquitous presence in the multi-armed corporation, fading into the background at any scale.
Again, we see how Kim has imagined the new logo adapting to Microsoft’s various brand families.
He’s even reimagined print ads–here, we see a full-page spread (or billboard?) for the Surface tablet.
The designer thinks the brand isn’t properly conveying the excitement and vision of their new products–here, he redesigns an ad for the Windows phone.
The same goes for the company’s newest iterations of desktop software, from Office to the Windows app store.
Yes, the slate has even colonized a Manhattan billboard, one of the areas in which Apple has done such an excellent job marketing their brand.
A “loading” screen shows the slate being filled in, while the Windows phone loads.
Here’s how Kim explains the differences between Apple, Google, and Windows UI. On the left, Apple’s interfaces rely heavily on “skeuomorphics,” or design details that make it seem old, worn, and familiar. On the far right, Microsoft is the opposite, with a purely digital interface. In the middle, Google is somewhere in between.
Kim seems to be a fan of Microsoft’s Metro UI language, but he has a few bones to pick. For example, the current super-bright color palette makes certain things tough to read. He proposes a more somber alternative.
As to the “pure digital” UI, Kim appreciates the notion, but argues that it makes certain apps illegible, like the Wallet app. Here, he introduces a few design “metaphors” to increase legibility.
Kim sees his proposal as a way to make good on the company’s history as an innovator. “Microsoft: A promise made, a promise kept.”