Are you a Mac or a PC? While many people have a strong opinion about this, if you are using a Mac you are probably using several programs that are generally associated with the PC, such as Microsoft Office. In fact, three-quarters of all Mac owners use this software. However, Microsoft knows that Apple users are very identity conscious, which is why they have redesigned the Office icons that will be used on Mac computers.
These new logos were developed over an extensive design process that began with over thirty different concepts submitted from different offices in the design company hired. These were entered into a three week ‘shoot out’, which left only three survivors. Of these three, the new winner emerged. Only a few of the logo entries have been shown publically, but so far all seem like viable and appropriate icons. It must have been a difficult decision!
The logo concept that won is one that is commonly seen in logo design right now, that of a three dimensional shape that appear to have been created from ribbon. However, this concept was slightly modified to be a little more abstract, with deeper shadows, rounded edges, and a more solidly 3-D feeling.
This new logo design style relates directly to certain changes in the product. One of the most notable new features of Office 2011 is its ability to predict what you are trying to do and bring up a ribbon of buttons related to this. While Office 2011 has almost infinite options for commands, this ribbon will hopefully ensure that you access the ones you need with as little confusion and searching as possible.
The ribbons also tie into the key market that Windows Office for Mac is trying to reach: the entrepreneur. Many people are using their Mac to earn money, and the ribbons represent their ability to create. These icons were placed in a three to one ratio that is often seen in classical art, a subtle suggestion of creativity that will be picked up by many people on a subconscious level.
The plain, elementary colors are those of the programs themselves, keeping some of the brand aspects that are traditionally associated with Microsoft Office. This is a wise plan as it allows people who are not generally Mac users to immediately identify their favorite programs in their Apple format.
Microsoft takes branding very seriously, so why design an entirely new set of logos just for a different type of computer? Mac users do not see themselves as the average computer user, and in many ways they are not. Offering them slightly modified brand identities will keep them coming back by respected their self imposed sense of difference. Further, because these logos are similar in color and shape to those seen in PC versions of Office, a congruent sense of brand is maintained. These new logos represent a fine line walked by the software giant, between keeping a cohesive brand and creating products for important niche users. In this case, Microsoft once again shows why they are the market standard.