Designing for the Future
Brand New’s wrap-up of the best and worst logos of 2009 is a good read. Their choice for worst logo of the year is Bing, which I can’t say I disagree with. It just sort of looks slapped together, which was probably the point to make it feel a little more cuddly like Google. Also interesting was going back and looking at the comments on the original MSN redesign post Brand New did, which they suggested because of the fight in the comments between folks at Futurebrand, the original branding agency responsible for the MSN butterfly, over who actually did the work.
Leaving the fighting aside for a second (it’s just sort of amusing), I found this explanation from one of the designers for how the logo stuck around so long quite interesting:
Ten years is several lifetimes at Microsoft, so for a logo to last that long there is a little miracle. One reason I think it lasted so long was that the next version was designed at the same time as the original. The first version was with flat colors, and the subsequent version was with gradients. In 1999 monitors couldn’t handle gradients very well but we knew the advance was just around the corner.
The idea of designing future iterations at the same time you’re designing the original is a pretty interesting one. Of course it’s much easier when there’s a known known, like monitors that can handle gradients, in the pipeline, but it’s still impressive.