Stripping out character or simplifying? Re-brand or Re-vamp?

Microsoft has been rather busy rebuilding Skype from the ground up. The ‘next generation’ of the platform will be rolled out on mobile first, followed by desktop and promises to keep people connected, making ‘life together, every day, simpler’. Alongside the redesign Skype has sneaked in the launch of a new logo…
Now, even if the new logo was plastered across their website, I would forgive you for not noticing. It’s definitely subtle.

Microsoft is waving goodbye to the playful bubble that once hugged the white word-mark. Instead, setting ‘Skype’ in its corporate sans serif typeface, truly welcoming the platform to the Microsoft family. Some say this reinforces Skypes reliability – aligning it with programmes such as word, excel and power point…interesting.

What do you think? I wouldn’t be surprised to hear you cry out, ‘how does this constitute a re-brand?’ and ‘where’s the personality?’ Initially, I would have answered I’m not sure it does… and I think it’s gone. But a brand is so much more than a logo – it’s about defining your business in terms of its differentiation, its proposition, values and personality. A successful brand is born when each of these elements work together to create a clear, concise and authentic identity using supportive elements such as logos, typefaces, colourways and image styles to uphold who they are.

So, on further reflection it was only natural Microsoft would evolve the platform and at the same time tweak visual elements of the brand, align it with their established identity. A reminder that to re-brand you don’t necessarily need to completely reinvent – the smallest of changes can make a big difference.