Andrew Kim, Indie Designer and Rebrander Hired by Microsoft

Remember when Andrew Kim redesigned Microsoft’s branding, with his ideas entitled “The Next Microsoft”? These logo and design suggestions not only felt strangely right for the company, but they were also sufficiently fresh and different enough to cause a stir within the technology press. Look familiar?

The general idea behind these designs, both from Andrew himself and technology writers, is that Microsoft’s summer 2012 branding was simply out-of-date and uninspiring to their target audience. ReadWriteWeb went so far as to suggest that Microsoft employees should seriously browse the designs and images Andrew put forth.

It looks like Microsoft paid attention: Andrew’s just been hired by the Xbox team. A new blog post by Andrew explains:

It’s true. I’m going to go work for Microsoft. When my Microsoft rebranding project went viral, I frequently got asked if I was approached by them. “Yes” is the short answer but this relationship has actually been going on for nearly 6 months.

Now, what does this mean? I guess it means that if you post something which goes viral, lots of opportunities just… sort of, present themselves to you — Andrew explains Microsoft wasn’t the only company to offer him a job: “I was approached by countless companies with offers, ranging from electronics manufacturers to ad agencies.”

With regards to Microsoft itself, it shows the company isn’t stubborn with regards to design but willing to try to improve, change and evolve. It’s certainly arguable that Microsoft hasn’t always had the most tasteful branding, but at least there’s no delusion within the company suggesting otherwise. They’re willing to hire whoever they can to improve things.

Comparing Apple’s branding to Microsoft is surprisingly similar to comparing a Microsoft product to an Apple counterpart. As I wrote back in October:

Apple’s products say, “You can’t do that because we think it would suck.”

Microsoft’s products say, “We’ll let you try to do anything on anything if you really want to, even if it sucks.”

Apple has the balls to say no. Sometimes it’s difficult, sometimes they take shit for it and sometimes they’re plain wrong. But not often.

Hiring Andrew Kim is an example of how Microsoft uses this same process internally — the company is not afraid to hire quirky designers who propose radical changes to their branding.

I can’t see Jony Ive and the Apple design team taking too kindly to an up-and-coming designer rebranding the company, but with Microsoft this seems more welcome. Let’s hope Andrew’s hiring works out well for both parties — and maybe, just maybe, there might be some changes made to improve Microsoft’s compromised design taste.

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