Windows Recession Sweepstakes #4: What’s a Picture Worth?

Windows Recession Sweepstakes #4: What’s a Picture Worth?

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Everyone needs a new look from time to time. After all, you might not know Stefani Germanotta or Norma Baker, but I bet you know Lady Gaga and Marilyn Monroe. The same holds true for companies fighting for eyeballs in a world saturated with imagery.

For reasons large and small, some of today’s familiar logos started life looking quite different – the original Starbucks logo, for example, was brown and advertised tea and spices. Most, however, have been through a gradual evolution. Coca-Cola remains one of the world’s most recognizable brands and Wal-Mart’s evolving design is as impressive as its global retail reach.

Logo design evolution plays a pivotal role in support of brand strategy, whether it’s signaling a change in direction, supporting a new promise, or merely taking a familiar mark and making it more modern, arresting and relevant. There’s always a balancing act between preserving visual equity and moving the design forward.

In Windows, we’ve also had our share of new looks. Below, you’ll find what our iconic Windows logo looked like at the time of each major new release:

Windows 3.1

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Windows 95

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Windows XP

clip_image006

Windows Vista

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Windows 7

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Round 4 of the Windows Recession Sweepstakes is now open! To win, leave a comment and let us know which logo you like best. You have until 6:00 am PT tomorrow (July 23) to enter.

Remember to follow me, Brandon, Ben and the Windows Blog on Twitter to find out more and hear about future rounds of the sweepstakes.

Full Terms & Conditions of the sweepstakes are here.

Good luck!

482 Comments
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  • I really like the round Windows 7 logo the best.

  • I like the Vista logo the best

  • Billy C
    1 Posts

    Favorite Logo - Vista

    ... not the OS, just the logo

    :-p

  • Don
    1 Posts

    I have to go with the Win XP logo its a clean look, the Win 7 logo is nice but the XP version is still better...

  • Call me nostalgic but I like the Windows 95 logo.

    @BarryWallis

  • I like the Vista logo the best. It shows the Usage button and communicates how easy Vista and now Windows 7 is to use. southbound62@hotmail.com

  • rogue3
    2 Posts

    I think I like the vista one the best, its the most modern looking

    r3fx@yahoo.com

  • I'm partial to the pixelated win95 fade.

    eknizram [at] gmail [dot] com

  • Jes
    1 Posts

    Vista

    @jesgear

  • Windows Vista is still my favorite logo.

  • Brian
    1 Posts

    Windows Vista for the win.  Is says everything and nothing at the same time.

    Windows is a huge corporation and everyone knows of it.  Some people love it, some people hate it, but everyone recognizes the multi-colored squares that make up the wavy-window of the future.  No name, just the logo.  If you don't already know about Windows, you don't deserve to know.

  • The Win7 logo does it for me - I like the Vista orb as well, but the Win7 logo is cleaner.

    Twitter: @aaronhawryluk

  • I love the Windows 7 logo on boot up when its glowing!

    Twitter: @Rmbootsman

  • I like the Windows 7 logo as it reminds me of the logo of the best desktop OS ever, XP! The Vista logo looks like a power button, to be exact, a power off button.

    @rychlytrabant

  • MPack
    3 Posts

    Having used Windows XP for the better part  of my IT career, I am partial to its logo.

    MPack

    Mark Packard

  • Nancy B
    1 Posts

    My favorite is the Windows 3.1 logo! I love the primary colors because they brought me out of the darkness (black/green) of Dr. Dos!

  • santosh
    2 Posts

    windows 7 is best

    but i also like classic look of windiws 95...

  • Among all the logos, Windows 7 is more appealing for me.

  • I did like the Vista one the best, but that is because I like blue and I tend to like Orbs.

  • I like Windows 7 the best.. the spotlight on the flags looks great.

  • I like Windows XP logo, second place goes for Win7

  • etrees
    3 Posts

    windows xp or windows vista were the best looking. I still love my xp computer, but my windows 7 is more used

    twitter: trilliana

  • I prefer the Windows XP logo (although I'm all about Windows 7 the software!).

    @nihilmatters

  • I like the "wave" of the Windows 7 logo. It represents the movement that Windows 7 will have in the OS world.

  • I like windows 7 the most. @eichorsmith

  • mherg
    4 Posts

    I like the round vista logo! @faststinkface

  • I have always like the Windows XP logo. Vista and 7 seem to be modifications of that one, but I always liked that rich, 3D effect it brought to the logo.

  • The vista logo is my favorite. I like the blue circle background for the four windows as well as the coloring and rendering of them.

  • The. Clouds behind the logo of windows 95 bring back memories. - @calebu2.  hth

  • Gil
    1 Posts

    I prefer the Vista logo. Don't like the name of the product in the XP or 7 logos

    twitter: @glc68

  • I like the newest logo the best. @peaceful

  • Nicho21
    1 Posts

    It must be windows 3.1 the first and best what every one remembers.

  • i really like 7 and vista, but the way the win7 logo shows up in the startup screen blew my mind the first time i saw it, so i'll have to go with 7

    dannyp077@ufl.edu

  • Shalan
    2 Posts

    I like the Vista logo the most. Its even there in Windows 7 on the stat button :)

    Very stylish and modern looking.

    @obiwan007

  • KEPKE
    1 Posts

    Windows 95 and 98 was the best.

    @KEPKE

  • MPJ
    6 Posts

    While I love Windows 7 and it is loads better than Vista was pre-SP1, logo-wise I have to say the Vista logo is the best of the lot. That logo created the best association with the Start orb, which Windows 7 still uses. It represents a tipping point in how confident Microsoft was that the Windows logo would be recognized as the start button even with no text on it. The orb design remains part of Media Center & Windows Phone as well. Plus, the text on the Windows 7 logo somehow irritates me, with the word Windows being bold & 7 being light variants of the font.

  • Personally, the Windows 95 logo is, and always will be, my favourite. My first ever computer was a Windows 95 PC, and I have very fond memories of it! Windows 7 logo would be 2nd and Windows 3.1 3rd in my book.

  • While nostalgia beckons, I have to go with Vista.  But what gives with 2000 not being here?  That was certainly a great OS, Windows at its best (for the time).

    jasonrwalker

    that's both the name, and the email address at yahoo.

  • I'm kinda attached to the 3.1 logo for nostalgic reasons...

    Twiter: @Lumpia1979

  • Gotta love the Windows 7 logo :]

    @Omega192

  • trucvh
    1 Posts

    I like the Windows XP logo the most. Without doubt it's the beginning of the modern-looking series of Windows logos.

  • I like the Windows 7 logo, but you can't beat the 95 logo.  Seriously, how cool was the cloud wallpaper back when...?

    @chriswong13

  • Overall, I'd say the Windows 7 logo is my favorite. It's modern and and sleek while keeping the style of the original logo. It's non-intrusive and, well, pretty.

    @emprovision

  • anonymuos
    87 Posts

    Forgot my twitter. It is madhurikale18 but I can't seem to post a comment now. Its blocking for some reason.

  • Jared
    3 Posts

    It's nearly a toss up between XP and 7, but I think I lean slightly toward Windows XP as far as logos go.

    @stonepestle

  • anonymuos
    87 Posts

    Btw forgot my twitter it's madhurikale18.

  • anonymuos
    87 Posts

    Some comments are getting filtered or what? I forgot to post my twitter. It's madhurikale18 but I somehow can't post any more?

  • anonymuos
    87 Posts

    Oops forgot my twitter. It's madhurikale18.

  • anonymuos
    87 Posts

    Forgot my twitter. I am madhurikale18 on twitter. Some of my comments are not appearing btw. Had to try three times to post successfully.

  • anonymuos
    87 Posts

    I am madhurikale18 on twitter btw. Forgot to post that.

  • anonymuos
    87 Posts

    The raised letters xp are such a brilliant idea. I like the XP one as it is the most balanced logo but would you only give prizes to ones who say Windows 7? Lol just kidding.

  • someone
    156 Posts

    XP easily is the best. I love the font in the XP logo more. The XP logo had a 3D screensaver as well with a flying flag and it looked unbelivable when it faded in gradually on the black startup screen. The Vista logo is nice but the blue as mentioned earlier blends in too much into the flag colors. Windows 7 is too pastel colored. Mail: xpclient and domain is live.com

  • I like the Vista one the best. Simple and eye-catching.

  • I like Windows 95 logo the best because it takes you places where only the sky's the limit. Like many birds in the sky, it will make us fly and do what we want.

    Twitter: @chailinz

  • Hedwig
    12 Posts

    Forgot my twitter sorry: @wincomplete

  • Windows 95, the background brings back fond memories. :)

    @ibzrg1570

  • Hedwig
    12 Posts

    XP defined Windows in a new avatar. Bold groundbreaking logo! Experience the best. Experience Windows XP. XP is the longest-lived, most-loved Windows. Marketshare speaks for itself. XP will be a perennial landmark in Microsoft history.

  • mrajesh
    2 Posts

    I like the logo for Windows XP cos the four squares are the best I have seen for a long time. When it was released there was not much about 3d rendering or graphics card werent used much but then this logo would be so crisp and stand out on plain desktops.

    Cheers to Windows XP for ushering in a new era in theming.

    @coolrjm

  • Personally, I love the Windows XP logo.  Though it is old, and not as beautiful as Vista and Se7ens logos, the Windows XP Logo represents the change in time and Windows itself.  Going from a bland 'faded-in' flag, to a new look.

    The Windows XP logo was the introduction to an OS Revolution.

    Email: proxic[at]live[dot]com

    Twitter: @agentzachxda

  • rpardee
    1 Posts

    I like the Vista logo best--I've always been a sucker for that faux glass look.

    @rpardee

  • tgmd
    3 Posts

    I actually like the Windows 3.1 logo best, it is simple and direct. @afreegoat

  • I am a fan of the Vista logo. It was pretty simplistic and didn't need "windows" to describe it. For me, a logo is not with words but a picture "telling the story."

    BKcomputerpad@live.com

  • adamson
    8 Posts

    I am a fan of the Windows Vista logo.  I like the circle in the background and the reflected light around it. Also a fan of the shadows. It's kind of cool that I remember most of these :) @t_rim

  • gzkzy
    2 Posts

    I like the Windows 7 logo the best.  Windows7 logo relatively prettier than others vrison logo beautiful. There’s has happen over (Windows 3.1、Windows 95、Windows XP Logo) ,Vista logo is no marker system of full singture .Windows 7 logo It’s look simplely and clean as soon sa to in my opinion.

    gzkzy@126.com

  • gzkzy
    2 Posts

    I like the Windows 7 logo the best.  Windows7 logo relatively prettier than others vrison logo beautiful. There’s has happen over (Windows 3.1、Windows 95、Windows XP Logo) ,Vista logo is no marker system of full singture .Windows 7 logo It’s look simplely and clean as soon sa to in my opinion.

    gzkzy@126.com

  • I really like the Windows 7 logo.  @WigglyFire

  • I like the Vista logo the best. I like it simple and just letting the image and design speak for itself.

  • Nauna
    1 Posts

    While the Win95 logo fills me with nostalgia, I'd have to choose the Vista as my aesthetic favorite. Everyone knows the Windows logos, so I like that it doesn't feel the need to label itself with any letters or numbers.

  • Vista for me.

  • I like the Microsoft Store Windows Logo even though it isn't listed here. But excluding that Windows 7 version is the best.

    @jdshald on twitter

    jdshald@gmail.com

  • cooltaj
    1 Posts

    I Say Windows 7. it looks minimalist and futuristic with a hint of glow towards the center. But, the question really comes down to whether Microsoft wants to be recognized as Microsoft or Windows for Brand name recognition. Cuz, frankly i think they are not representing the bigger "microsoft" picture by having just Windows in their name. After all, Windows is just one of the product, major product i know, but it is still a mere product. I say the focus should be on making the Microsoft brand more recognizable and therefore the logo should have Microsoft instead of Windows.

    twitter: @cooltaj

  • someone
    156 Posts

    WOW! XP goes head to head with Windows 7!! Of course eXPerience is the best. The raised letters in superscript (xp) make it even more exciting!!!! Mail: xpclient and domain is live.com.

  • anonymuos
    87 Posts

    XP! (But would only the guys who say Windows 7 win the sweepstakes?) Just kidding.

    I am madhurikale18 on twitter.

  • 7flavor
    352 Posts

    I think Windows 7's is the best because of the glow in the middle and the red is red, not vermillion. XP comes close. Vista's okay. Very dark colors. Doesn't symbolize energy and richness. Twitter: @tuxplorer

  • This is like a dream come true. I always wanted a poll sort of decision on which logo is the best. The Vista logo is gorgeous.

    winsight [at] msn dot com

  • I like the new Windows 7 logo. Depth and simplicity. @jdnorthwest

  • I attempted to post a comment, but I don't think it actually did. If this is a duplicate, I apologize.

    I thoroughly enjoy the Vista icon, it's simple with no words. And honestly, I just believe that it's the most aesthetically pleasing.

    @crystalislupe

  • I lovelovelove the windows 95. I believe it's a "classic" logo.

    twitter: cip1234

  • i love Windows XP logo....although i'm not sure why....but looking all those logos above . XP logo just hit my mind....

  • I like Windows 7 logo because of how simple and clean-looking it is.

    @kohenkatz

  • KZEE
    1 Posts

    I like the Windows 7 logo the best. it's clean, simple.

  • pmnite
    3 Posts

    Like the crisp fond of the "Windows 7" and the 3D effects of the flag

  • I prefer the Vista orb, one didn't  need to read anything to know it was Windows.  To me, it's the most simple, yet impacting logo of them all, it's also the one on the thumbnail for the webpage so that proves it's also the most versatile.

    @john_espada

  • I like Windows Vista Logo as it is sooths my eyes and Reminds Me of Earth is Blue Planet ,Oceans All over it with microsoft windows logo. Very Innovative.    Twitter Id  @pantherchd

  • I like the Vista Orb, but with the updated logo from the windows 7 logo.  It's a little brighter with nicer shadows.  Like the orb on Windows 7.  :)

    @JasonColbyBrown

  • jscarpe
    5 Posts

    I really like the simplicity of the Vista logo.

    @jscarpe

  • I like the xp logo the best. the colors seem more vibrant than the similar windows 7 logo. also the 3d effect looks better. @primeval_god

  • Vista logo stands out of the five logos. It's the only one that is wordless, and the only one that is circular in shape. This reflects the radical change from XP to Vista.  At the same time, it preserves the familiar Windows flag, keeping the brand's integrity but making it more sleek and modern, as Vista was intended to be.

  • I like Windows Vista's logo the most.

    @omarali

  • I personally like the Windows 7 logo. It is clean, sharp, and reminds me that the best keeps getting better!

  • Old Windows logos will be a fashion trend in the future. Still love the Vista logo...and vista for that matter.

  • skirock
    7 Posts

    i like vista the best!

    @daringlyorganic

  • I've used Windows from 3.0 and have to say that I prefer the simplicity of the Vista logo.

  • bflac1
    4 Posts

    Personally i like the Vista logo the best mostly cause it is different in the way that it is round and not as the blocky like the others. I think it just stands out a little more.

    bflac1@hotmail.com

  • Of the logos displayed, I do like the Windows 7 logo best even though it closely mimics the Windows XP logo. It just seems crisper.  Going outside the list, I actually like the "leaked" logos on Engadget today, even if they aren't legit.

  • Logo's from this company always keep me guessing what new look they're going bring to table. The simplicity of the Windows 7 logo works very well. I can identify it much better than the Vista Orb. Please keep us guessing what's coming next....

    Twitter: PowerA

  • Soonerfan
    10 Posts

    Sorry, that email address should end in dot net, not dot com

  • Soonerfan
    10 Posts

    Windows 7 Logo, but the Windows XP is a close second. ousoonerfan[at] tds[dot}com

  • I like the Vista logo the best, but 7's visuals in OS were really good.

    @jimbo_sims

  • Rich
    6 Posts

    I thought the windows vista logo was the best but I still like the windows 7 icon as well. All in all i think each had a unique roll for Microsoft gaining new customers.  

    Richard Smeltzer

    twitter

    @rsmeltzer91