Opinion

Microsoft Edge's new logo is a disaster - and here's why.

Abdellah Rholem

November 10, 2019

Microsoft has just announced their new and extremely controversial logo for the infamous Edge browser formerly known as Internet Explorer. As we all know either by having used it or by being exposed to the sea of memes surrounding it, this was unfortunately a failed product. It is only understandable that Microsoft would want to leave this haunting memory behind by retiring the old "e" mark, but as a logo designer and branding strategist I believe that they did it all wrong and here are the reasons why.

It's Not Different Enough

I'm not referring to the shocking similarity in style the new logo has with the Firefox one, even though that's a bit sad, but the new Microsoft Edge logo still resembles the old one in many ways. If this was Microsoft's way of turning the page in order to sell us on a newer and much better product, then I can't help myself but ask why the color blue? Why make it look sort of like an "e"? Why even keep the name Edge?

I believe that the right approach would've been to change it completely, to give this new creation its own shot, instead of just having Internet Explorer make another comeback to redeem itself, because at this point the reputation it has built over the years is hard if not impossible to change. This situation is literally the exact opposite of the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". It's undeniably broken, just change it.

A Bad Logo Is Just A Bad Logo

Unlike what a lot of people might think, logos are not supposed to be creative, cool or expressive. In reality, a logo is just a tool used to help us identify different entities and organizations just like a signature at the end of a document. For this to be achieved, a logo needs to follow certain rules - the following three were made popular by one of the most established logo designers in the field Sagi Haviv.

1. Simple: That way it's easy to remember. A test we use often to assess a logo's level of recognition is the doodle test, where we ask a group of people to draw a logo from memory. This logo would score badly on this test because of its weird and complex shape and excess of colors. In the other hand the logos for companies like Apple or Nike do very well because of their simplicity.

2Distinctive: Unique enough for it not to be confused and mistaken for something else. The last thing you want is to be your competitor's twin and as established at the start of this article this new Edge logo looks like Mozilla came out with a new product called "Waterfox".

3. Appropriate: Imagine if Harley Davidson had a pink flower as their logo, you wouldn't be able to make this combination less appropriate even if you wanted to. Now ask yourself this question "Who SURFS the Web in 2020?" I don't know about you but to me this makes this new wave-looking logo either a bad joke or a fossil from the Precambrian era.

A New Logo Is Not A Solution For All Problems

My conclusion is that because a logo is the face of a brand, we tend to overestimate the power it actually has. By itself and without a strategy and visual identity system to support it, I could even argue that any logo - no matter how good or bad - is not enough to make a difference. Yes, I'm certain that Microsoft changed many things other than the logo but they certainly made it the center of attention for this rebrand. I really believe that it would have been much smarter if they had showed us an all new product first with a new name and a new logo, and after that told us they killed Edge, effectively separating the new product from the bad reputation associated to the old one.

The author, Abdellah Rholem, is a branding strategist who has worked in the creative field for many years and has collaborated with Castle Lab repeatedly. You can learn more about him, or his work, right here
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