The Next Microsoft - Minimally Minimal

A lot of people have been raving about Los Angeles based design college student Andrew Kim's Microsoft identity redesign that he did in 3 days just for fun. Although it's an interesting proposal and I like the new Microsoft logo a lot, I believe it's fundamentally flawed. Let me tell you why.

At first glance the proposed identity looks solid and with all those pretty designs the presentation is quite convincing as well, but just because something is aesthetically pleasing, it doesn't automatically become a proper identity. If you take the time to stop and really think about it for a while, you'll realize why it wouldn't work.

A proper identity leaves an imprint in your brain. What I see on these slides however is a generic looking but currently fashionable typeface (which is Microsoft's own brilliant Segoe) and some kind of unrecognizeable geometric shape accompanied by slogans presented in an Apple-like fashion. See? That identity really left an imprint!

The problem is that these elements are completely interchangeable, and one could come up with hundreds of good looking identities for all kinds of companies with the exact same template just by replacing the emblem. Need one for your local water utility company? Just use a blue water drop shape as an emblem and some underwater shots to accompany it instead of space imagery. It'll make awesome boxes for water meters... If the elements are so generic and interchangeable and there's nothing unique in the identity whatsoever, it cannot fulfill its most important purpose, which is to make people remember.

Don't get me wrong, I love minimal design, but it's probably the hardest thing to do. Sure, you can come up with something good looking relatively quickly, but since you have so few tools in your arsenal, making it stand out is extremely difficult. Andrew Kim is a passionate and talented young design student and he'll definitely learn a lot as he gains more experience. What he's doing is definitely worth the praise, but we shouldn't set this project as a great example of branding.

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