Launched in 2009, Bing is the search engine from Microsoft and the closest thing to a rival Google’s search engine has. And by “closest” I mean not even remotely close. Bing, however, is attempting to position itself as more than just a box where you search things, stating that “Voice search works in Xbox because of Bing. Office documents can embed images and detailed maps because of Bing. You can hover your Windows Phone over a sign in a foreign language and get an instant translation because of Bing.” Still, we all use Google because of Bing. Yesterday, Microsoft introduced a new logo for Bing designed in-house and explained in detail in this blog post.
The wordmark is a customized version of our corporate font Segoe. We retained the lowercase ‘b’ in tribute to our Bing logo heritage and to provide a slightly less obtrusive stance. The descender on the ‘g’ has been slightly modified to curve upward in a friendlier manner and the cut on the top of the ‘b’ mirrors the angle on the cut of the ‘t’ in our Microsoft logo. The kerning pairs of the ‘i’ and the ‘n’ are exactly the same as the ‘i’ and the ‘n’ in the Windows wordmark. The symbol, a stylized ‘b’, evokes a sense of movement, direction and energy. The color loosely pays tribute to the orange dot from the previous Bing logo while also fully embracing the Microsoft color palette and taking inspiration from one quadrant of the corporate flag logo.
In addition to color, photography and typography, we’ve developed an extensive set of graphic and motion graphic elements that will be used in our communications. We’ve taken inspiration from the new Bing symbol by taking all angles to infinity and adding in levels of color and transparency to add depth and energy. We call this the Searchlight graphic as it uses the Bing symbol as a prism of light and inspiration. We created it as a visual device to show energy and motion between experiences and the visual connective thread that ties our products together.
The new Bing identity is more than a new logo and color palette — it’s a system of brand architecture that allows us to strategically and visually evolve Bing in line with our mission and our products.
The previous logo was, and still is, an abomination — here is my original review (plus its 300+ comments) and here it is taking the number one spot in 2009’s Worst list. With logos that I hate upon launch I usually tend to soften my feelings as years go by. With this one, three years in? Still hate everything about it and I’m quite satisfied that it is now gone. Unfortunately we didn’t get much in return.
It’s a crazy-looking lowercase “b” that is, well, crazy and doing crazy contortions in a crazy way. Why? I dunno. In context it’s perhaps trying to emulate the Office logo, which is another headscratcher itself. It looks like part of the new Microsoft family of logos because of the Segoe font and the flat color but in terms of true integration with the other members of the family it isn’t the epitome of brand and visual consistency that Microsoft thinks it has. The one interesting thing that starts to happen is the “Searchlight” graphic but we’ve seen that done much better by the Canadian Olympic Team. I don’t hate this new icon as much as I hated the old wordmark but it surely does not make me root for Bing over Google, which seems to be taking 100% of the effort of Bing — just read not-too-in-between-the-lines of the full blog post I linked to in the opening and you’ll see passive aggressive jabs at Google in almost every paragraph. It’s not attractive. To dethrone the best search engine, Microsoft is going to need something better than an over-rationalized, crazy “b”.