There are few things that I follow more than Microsoft.
I use their desktop OSs every day, I use their servers every day, I'm Microsoft Certified and I secretly have an affair with Visual Studio 2010. So, I guess this puts me in a perfect position to explain why Andrew Kim's latest design The Next Microsoft
makes me bubble with RAGE AND HATRED.
As this article is ass-long and I barely ever finish point-by-point rages, I will make my OUTBURSTS OF FIERY FURY directed at some of the most gross stupidities in this article.
Now, will someone please correct me here if I'm wrong, but I CAN'T SEEM TO READ SHIT ON THIS SLIDE
IF YOU CAN'T MASTER THE SIMPLE ART OF FUCKING CONTRAST
YOU SHOULDN'T BE MAKING BRANDING FOR ANYTHING
Anyway, here we are. Apparently Microsoft is 'outdated and slow', 'corporate and conservative' and associated with... gaming and Kinect. ...so, you're saying that a company that is corporate... and conservative... is also associated with THIS?
Apparently Microsoft needs to represent the future. And by 'represent the future', Andrew Kim means 'be a hipster trash brand that is 2deep4u rather than ACTUALLY FUCKING MEANINGFUL'.
Oh dear fucking god.
WELP, LIKE A CHEESEFUCK BARREL OF TITS, LET THIS SET THE TONE FOR THE REST OF THE ARTICLE.
LET'S HAVE A LOOK AT THE DESIGN WANKERY CHECKLIST
- REMOVING THE DOT ON THE I:
- ALL LOWER CASE COMPANY LOGO:
- PICTURES OF THINGS THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PRODUCT:
CHECK, CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK RIGHT UP TO THE FUCKING INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
- RANDOM, UNNATURAL CUTS OF THE TYPOGRAPHY:
CHECK, THAT T WANTS TO SHIV YOU
- BAD TYPOGRAPHY:
CHECK, THE F AND T SHOULD NOT BE JOINED
- NO RELATION TO PAST BRANDING:
CHECKEDY CHECK CHECK CHECK
- WHITESPACE OUT THE ASS:
INVERTED, NOW IT'S BLACKSPACE IN
Look, I'm frothing and I've barely gone in A FIFTH OF THE DESIGN.
The Windows brand, in particular, is indeed a legendary brand. Everyone knows the little flag, and getting rid of it IS WHY WINDOWS 8'S DESIGN SUCKS, AND RIGHTFULLY SO. The Windows logo is a FLAG, I don't give a shit if it doesn't make sense. IT IS AN ESTABLISHED BRAND.
Also, apparently the Windows brand is "not helping" Windows Phone and Surface. Do you really think that's the reason why Windows Phone 7 is a failure, and why Surface may be as well? Let me sum up why WP7 sucks, just quickly.
Windows Phone 7 is a bad phone OS. There is no ifs. There is no buts. There is no upside to it, only downsides. The UI is crap on a biscuit, the OS is limited by its kernel (limited to a single core! In 2012!), it's late to the game, is ditched by its hardware partners and it just overall sucks
. Let's have a look at the traditional target audience of Windows Phone. Is it:
a) The Regular Joe
If you answered anything other than b and c, then you are wrong. You are the wrongest wrong that has ever wronged even if you were in the Wrong Central District, Wrongville, situated in Wrongistan. Windows Phone 6 was a business tool
. Windows Phone 7 isn't, and that is why it is failing. It is closed as hell, it isn't very customisable, and IT DOESN'T FUCKING WORK WELL
THE PROBLEM WITH WINDOWS PHONE IS NOT WINDOWS. THE PROBLEM WITH WINDOWS PHONE IS WINDOWS PHONE.
...fuck. You've got to be kidding me. Apparently, everyone lives in a metropolis. Apparently, everyone can see a SHADED BOX and instantly think OMG WINDOWS! This is so pretentious I don't even know where to begin.
The reason the current Windows branding works is for a few reasons.
a) LEGACY - EVERYONE KNOWS THE FUCKING WINDOWS FLAG
b) IT SORT OF KIND OF LOOKS LIKE A WINDOW
c) IT HAS COLOURS. DISTINCTIVE COLOURS. COLOURS THAT EVERYBODY FUCKING KNOWS.
But, this slide also sums it up quite nicely. Windows' current logo is a 4-paned window, as you would find on houses. It's homely. However, this 'slate' sums up what Andrew Kim seems to be all for - endlessly repeated, featureless, where every product is just another brick in another carbon copy wall, mass produced to no end.
So, Microsoft's brand is now known as such:
- Single coloured bent box thing (Surface).
- Two coloured bent box things (Windows).
- Two coloured bent box things, like Windows, only one fucking the other in the mouth (Office).
All of these can be summarised in two words: fucking retarded.
They say nothing about any of the products without you having to explain them. True, Microsoft has 'stylised' their current logos to the point where you need to nowadays, but let me go back in time a bit.
Here we are, the Microsoft Office XP logo. It is four interconnecting puzzle pieces, each representing a cornerstone of their suite - Blue is Word, Orange is Powerpoint, Yellow is Outlook and Green is Excel. For someone who is familiar with the products, it has strong brand awareness - people barely look at the icons, but they do
know that Word is the blue one. Contrast to the 'redesigned' Office logo, where it seems to only contain Powerpoint and Word. I mean, that might actually fit for someone like Andrew Kim - spreadsheets and email are Real Work tools, they're no good for making flashy but pointless designs with no thought, reason or rational logic.
FRO THE FUTURE
But, yes, ahem. "Bold and Mysterious" should not be used to describe anything but the lead male character in a really bad vampire slash fic.
"HI, I'M STEVE BALLMER, AND I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M BEING ASSOCIATED WITH THIS CRAP."
Also, heh, Microsoft cars. They crash the most out of any car in the world.
So, here is the worst part of it.
Windows Phone and Surface become "Surface Phone" and "Surface Tablet". There are a few things wrong with this - mainly, you're associating a terrible product (Windows Phone) with something that might have a chance (Surface). Additionally, there's now more ambiguity to the brand - since there's two Surface devices. Or, potentially, tens, since there is more than one Windows Phone manufacturer. Andrew, you know this, you rage at HTC's Windows Phone offerings and their INHERENT LOGO POLLUTION
Windows 8 Pro becomes Windows. Forget for a second that Windows 8 Pro != Windows, and Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 RT != all of Windows. RT is for ARM, and it's called RT as it only runs Windows Runtime applications. There is still a Windows 8 Home (called simply Windows 8). It is different than Windows 8 Pro. Windows 8 Pro is for businesses - it supports more back-compat than the consumer version and has some enterprise-oriented features (such as Domain joining, DirectAccess, etc). Further than that, there is also Windows 8 Enterprise.
Windows 8 RT + Metro going to "metro" is even more confusing. Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone are two seperate products
. They have been announced to use the same kernel, and share RT components, but they are a different SKU, a different target audience and therefore a different product
. And Metro doesn't even have a logo, it's just the fucking word!
The Office redo is terrible. The logo is unbalanced as hell. The monochrome rendition looks terrible. It says nothing about the product. There's two 'slates', but that an office does not make. The four squares/jigsaw bits are memorable. This, however, is not.
There is also no Windows Server rebranding. Let me propose one.
Here you go. What does it stand for?
Except that ASUS did it first and did it better. One of the new Transformers even runs Windows 8 RT. The TFs have batteries in the base. They don't need a kickstand to be held up. They have something approaching an actual keyboard
as standard. And they're awesome - I know, after all
Windows Phone is not advanced, even by 2010 standards. It's still catching up, both in features and usability. Maybe the new WP8 phones might even be dual core? :O
Also, he refers to it as 'Surface' - not 'Surface Phone'. If someone sees an ad for 'Surface' - will they know if it's the tab or the phone if it doesn't picture it? The average consumer can't differentiate Windows
, let alone two featureless slabs with similar names.
Yes, by thowing out everything everyone knows about the computer, only then
can it be simple. Nevermind that Windows 8 is a fucking tablet OS on a desktop screen, no, nevermind that. Nevermind the breaking of compat, the Secure Boot DRM fuckery or the complete raping of the ecosystem - it's simple and colourful and we all
know that makes it good!!!!!1!11!1
And why the hell is the 'Windows' purple now? Fucking consistency, what the hell is it?
This. Fucking. Orange. This is not a good colour to throw about. It is not a good colour at all. All it says is "I DON'T KNOW WHAT USER-FRIENDLY COLOURS ARE, LOL, LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME" while the user is doubled over, throwing up and covering their seared eyeballs.
At least he's using a recent Android screenshot.
I like how he says their colour choices are questionable. Theirs?
I'm still fucking recovering from the Orange Phone Boot Of Death!
This isn't even funny. Andrew, you can stop trolling now. Like, seriously.
And here, Andrew Kim turns "Fast Cards" into "slow cards". They are in a square of 4 for a reason. You click one of them, bam - no other movement. You can scroll over to the right (YOU CAN SEE THE EDGE OF IT ON THE SCREEN FOR FUCK SAKE) for your card list. There is more than one view in this application, after all.
But now, you have to scroll up and down or something. I can't even see how you'd use this. Does pressing a card open it up? Are some cards always minimised? What?
AAAAARGH MY EYES
GET IT AWAY
GET THE ASSFUCK ORANGE SHADE OF DOOM AWAY
Holy fuck, that is a bad colour. It could be weaponised, even. Like, every Microsoft store has doors that lock every half an hour, turning the walls to this orange until people scream "I'LL DO ANYTHING, MICROSOFT, I'LL BUY YOUR PRODUCTS, JUST PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME LOOK AT THAT ORANGE AGAIN PLEASE
". Or, Microsoft could patent it, and sell it to Boeing, who will be able to fit their fighter planes with it. Assfuck orange is 100% proven to make AA-guns vomit in disgust.
This is not a good rebranding. This does not approach a good rebranding. This rebranding is the poster child of why hipsters need to leave it to people that know what they are doing - nobody will instantly associate this with Microsoft or Windows, it will only lose them brand loyalty and awareness, and it's not even that good. Because that comes down to two things.
a) The Microsoft logo is a mangled font.
b) The rest of the logos are derivatives of boxes
. Not meaningful boxes, like the Windows 8 logo - just, random boxes apparently taken from a skyscraper that absolutely nobody will stop and think and get the connection without being prompted.
The best brands are simple and communicative. The worst ones are simple and non-communicative.
And that is why this is a bad rebranding exercise. I don't care how pretty the stock pictures behind the featureless box may be. It's still a fucking featureless box.