Did Microsoft Shamelessly Rip Off Apple When Designing Their New Logo?

Did Microsoft Shamelessly Rip Off Apple When Designing Their New Logo?
Did Microsoft Shamelessly Rip Off Apple When Designing Their New Logo?

This image claiming that Microsoft ripped off its new logo from Apple is pretty funny, but is its creator, Andrew Brett Watson, really being fair? Check it out in full below:

Did Microsoft Shamelessly Rip Off Apple When Designing Their New Logo?

Watson claims to be a trained graphic designer, but he doesn’t seem to really know much about fonts. In my opinion, the logic here is a little bit rich: the font that Microsoft uses is called Segoe, which Microsoft first registered and has been using since 2004. They’ve been using it extensively for years.

Watson claims that Microsoft “ripped” off the design of Myriad Pro for the font, but that’s silly. The reason they both look so similar? They’re both the same “type” of font: they’re both sans serif (or “without feet” at the end of each letter’s strokes) and they’re both from the Humanist family of typefaces. Just like loads of other fonts, like Gill Sans and Optima.

Fonts from the same family tend to look pretty similar except for a few individual letters; pointing out those differences as being attempts to cover up a rip-off is pretty silly.

What do you think?

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  • matrix3D

    Shamelessly shaming the shameful. Shame! Shame!

    I’m sure you’re probably not aware that you’re doing it, but every article you’ve written over the past several months involving somebody copying Apple has included the word “shamelessly” in it.

  • amaezm

    lol you’re serious? really?!…

  • tee1up

    Apple has always maintained a clean minimalist style which has always been well received by the public. To suggest that Microsoft has followed suit is a mere coincidence is being pretty disingenuous. Apple should buy Microsoft and end the reverse engineering charade that has made Windows what it is today.

  • Brandon Olsen

    It’s Segoe, the typeface Microsoft has been using in all of its products and marketing materials since 2006. In fact, Segoe UI, the variation used by Xbox, Zune, and Windows 8 for readability onscreen, was developed by Microsoft itself: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/fonts/family.aspx?FID=331

    You are a bad journalist because:
    1. You are more biased than a Fox News anchor.
    2. You do not research your subject matter.

    I really would expect this article to appear on the Onion.

  • mr_bee

    I strongly disagree with the conclusion in your last paragraph.

    Gills Sans and Optima are indeed from the same family and look absolutely *nothing* like Segoe or Myriad Pro. Segoe and Myriad Pro however do look very much alike.

    You also don’t mention that while Microsoft has used the font for “years,” it hasn’t actually been that many years and they switched at pretty much the same time as they started to copy Apple’s retail and advertising strategy. So even when they were picking Segoe back then, it was still part of the same “copy Apple” strategy.

  • Tallest_Skil

    Wow. Finally coming out of the woodwork are all the Microsoft fans again…

    Anyone that thinks Segoe and Myriad Pro don’t look alike needs to shut up about typography forever.

    Note that I’m not commenting on this article itself or Microsoft’s decisions here. I am commenting simply on the ludicrousness of thinking the two fonts are not alike.

  • Brandon Olsen

    They switched at pretty much the same time as they started to copy Apple’s retail and advertising strategy. So even when they were picking Segoe back then, it was still part of the same “copy Apple” strategy.

    Except it wasn’t. Segoe first came into use in Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Zune in late 2006. Vista and Office were by no means copying Apple, and while some people claim the Zune was copying the iPod, the only similarities initially were that they were both PMPs – if anything, Apple learned a thing or two from the Zune by realizing the iPod needed more than just music and video capabilities to remain successful.

    So basically… you’re wrong.

  • Brandon Olsen

    Wow. Finally coming out of the woodwork are all the Microsoft fans again…

    No, I just think it’s ridiculous how everything has to be a ripoff of Apple according to this site’s authors and devotees. I like my MacBook Pro and iPad, but that doesn’t entitle me to think every other product is an inferior copy.

    Anyone that thinks Segoe and Myriad Pro don’t look alike needs to shut up about typography forever.

    I’m not going to discredit you as an armchair typographer. You might look through Font Book all day and cream yourself over all of the different ways a word can be presented, but that doesn’t mean you’re a real typographer, nor does my knowledge make me the same. One amateur to another, Myraid and Segoe are similar, but not alike. They are both sans serif, and they are both humanist. Any fonts in that criteria will look similar when bolded, but have you see the two side by side at a medium? The difference is stark, and it becomes even more apparent at light weights, which Microsoft uses most frequently with Segoe UI. Yes, they both have curves, but that is the nature of humanist fonts. However, they are quite different in their subtleties – stem slants (vertical in Segoe), overhang length (shorter in Segoe), ligatures (present in Segoe), and so on.

  • Skywaytraffic

    How… The hell…. Do people have this much time on their hands?

    This is so pointless.

  • Christoffer Hald

    I think there’s actually quite a big difference between the two typefaces.

  • lowtolerance

    Wow. Finally coming out of the woodwork are all the Microsoft fans again…

    Anyone that thinks Segoe and Myriad Pro don’t look alike needs to shut up about typography forever.

    Note that I’m not commenting on this article itself or Microsoft’s decisions here. I am commenting simply on the ludicrousness of thinking the two fonts are not alike.

    If we are basing the originality of design on the degree of alikeness of typefaces among popular brands, then Apple is about as unoriginal as it gets. Myriad is everywhere. Segoe? Not so much.

  • Ralffy DipSwitch

    You can take a Cow Turd and wrap it in pretty paper and ribbons. It still smells like a Turd….so does it really matter what MS tries to copy?

  • volodoscope

    Umm, the font is called Segoe. Research first!

  • Tallest_Skil

    …Apple is about as unoriginal as it gets. Myriad is everywhere.

    Sweet mother of frick, has everyone on Earth forgotten about a time before 2003? You know, before Apple started using Myriad?

  • Boris Terekidi

    This is the lamest article i’ve read on Cultofmac… ever.
    The fonts are completely different (take a look at rounded parts of letters… like “r” and “o”).
    Here is a newsflash – all logos use fonts, 50% of them use simple fonts like Helvetica, Myriad Pro. Doesn’t make them copycats. Apple’s logo is an apple (with gradient), MS logo is a 2-d 4 color squares.

  • Nicholas Randio

    Did any of you morons see that he quoted another author? He said that the whole thing is laughable. Get your heads out of your asses and read people.

  • Frank Andersson

    Come on….you are seeing ghosts everywhere now!!!

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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