Every Microsoft company logo from 1975 to 2022
Since its inception in 1975, Microsoft has experienced spectacular growth. As new products and eras emerged, the company changed its brand image over the years. Here’s an overview of all its major logos from the past 47 years.
Groovy Lines: 1975-1980
Back when Microsoft was “Micro-Soft”, graphic designer Simon Daniels created the company’s first corporate logo using the Aki Lines typeface in 1975. The typeface, created by Akihiko Seki in 1970, uses sets of seven scan lines to form the shapes of the letters.
Microsoft’s main product at the time was Altair BASIC for the Altair 8800 microcomputer, which sparked the personal computer revolution in a big way. Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, NM in 1975 to be close to the creators of the Altair, but moved the company to Bellvue, WA in 1979 as their product line expanded to also serve as other microcomputers.
Microsoft Goes Metal: 1980-1982
By 1980, Micro-Soft had become “Microsoft,” and the company was on the cusp of a new era in Microsoft history: its first hardware product. This coincided with a major rebranding of the logo. In retrospect, the result is reminiscent of the classic logos of heavy metal rock bands such as Metallica (whose logo actually debuted three years after this one).
Simon Daniels created the “metal” Microsoft logo using the New Zelek typeface (with some modifications, such as “M” and “R” extensions), and can be seen in early advertisements for the Microsoft SoftCard ( which added a Z80 processor to the Apple II computer so it could run CP/M) and Microsoft’s RAMCard, which added RAM to the Apple II.
The Blibbet: 1982-1987
After only two years with the “heavy metal” logo, Simon Daniels went back to the drawing board and came back with a more conservative design based on the ITC Avant Garde Gothic Demi Bold typeface. The stylized “O” in the logo, which somewhat evokes the hole in a 5.25″ floppy disk, has been referred to as “the Blibbet”. Others have dubbed it the “Death Star” after the computerized graphic designs featured in star wars (1977). Microsoft has used the Blibbet prominently in corporate signage and watermarks on its stationery.
After it was announced that Microsoft had paid a lot of money for a new logo design in 1987 (see below), Microsoft pranksters Hans Spiller and Dave Norris distributed a memo and pin button that read “Save the Blibbet “. But the love for the Blibbet apparently ran deeper than just pranks in the business. “A lot of people collected Blibbet stuff and had collections in their offices,” says Microsoft veteran Steven Sinofsky, who became president of the Windows division. “Even when I started, people were still talking about the Blibbet, because it still had a bit of that ATT/Death Star feel. There was a lot of attachment.”
The “Pac-Man” logo: 1987-2012
While Windows was created in the Blibbet era (see above), the operating system became a global cultural and commercial force under the reign of a new logo introduced on February 26, 1987. The logo featured for the first time the use of lowercase letters, and it also relied on an italic typeface (Helvetica Italic Black) and a special notch in the “O”. In 1987, logo designer Scott Baker remarked, “The new logo, in Helvetica italics, features a slash between the o and s to emphasize the ‘soft’ part of the name and convey movement and speed. »
The notch in the “O” reminded some people of Pac-Man’s mouth, which is why it became informally known as the “Pac-Man” logo. This logo, which has featured a few minor revamps over the years, has not only witnessed the success of Windows, but has also seen the rise of Xbox and dozens of other product lines throughout its 25 years. years of history, making it the most enduring Microsoft logo to date. .
The Grid: 2012-2022
On August 23, 2012, Microsoft unveiled its first new logo in 25 years, designed by Jason Wells. It integrates the Segoe Semibold font that the firm uses in its software interfaces. For the first time, the Microsoft logo includes a symbol independent of the logotype: four squares, colored with the four traditional Windows colors (red, green, blue, yellow) found in its famous “flag” logo.
The grid is also perhaps a nod to the Metro design language found in Windows 8, an operating system that debuted just before the logo unveiling. Metro featured rectangular panels instead of icons. Although Microsoft no longer uses Metro in Windows 11, it borrowed that Microsoft logo when unveiling its new Windows logo in 2021, taking the four squares and turning them blue.
With some minor modifications, this “grid” logo is still in use 10 years later. As long as there is a Microsoft, the company will always need a logo. It will be fun to see what the future of Microsoft logo design holds as the company continues to evolve.
RELATED: A visual history of Windows icons: from Windows 1 to 11