Say hello to the new MSN butterfly

New MSN butterfly logo

A trademark application filed earlier this month has quietly revealed a new logo for Microsoft’s online content brand MSN and, presumably, also its many regional subsidiaries.

Unfortunately with only a black and white preview to work with, it’s not fair to judge the new logo just yet but its obvious it still retains the now iconic butterfly which was actually not that well received when it debuted in early 2000. And like many recent logo redesigns, this too seems to be all about simplifying the elements with the body of the butterfly removed and wings rounded off to roughly stretched ellipses.

Ever since parts of MSN was (painfully) rebranded under Windows Live, the brand has lost some of its meaning and mojo. I can only hope with this new logo will also come a refresh of the entire brand that clears the slate on what they do and where they’re heading.

Update: Thanks to an anonymous Microsofty commentor, a full color version of the logo with a new lowercase font as well has been posted in all of its Web 2.0 glory above.

Update 2: The new logo along with the new website is now for public preview at

84 insightful thoughts

  1. Sorry, that logo is garbage. And so is the MSN’s so 90’s. I think they need to stick more than 1 guy on their marketing front.

    Why a BUTTERFLY.

    1. butterfly, because it shows freshness and forward thinking. the colors blue, red, yellow and green catches the eye. watching it fly while waiting for the opening screen, draws attention, relaxes and is breifly entertaining. butterfly forever please.

  2. The new logo makes my eyes go funny.
    Long, what do you think of the new Visual Studio and MSDN logos (
    I think they look really cool and modern, quite similar style to this new butterfly actually.

  3. Holy crap. I was going to say “people bitch about everything these days” but then I remembered the zdnet article was from nine jears ago. Yes, it’s a butterfly. Yes, it has more than two colors. Go cry me a FREAKING river.

    I wonder why no ‘tech reporter’ ever whined about Google’s multicolored logo, cutesy robot, cupcakes, doodles, and what not.

  4. I like, by the way, how the headline for that article is “MSN Logo Subject To Ridicule”, but the only person ridiculing it is the author him/herself. I’d wager somebody had a deadline approaching and no idea what to write about.

  5. I remember working for MSN UK and after the Metro version of MSN (when the logo was an Oval) – They came up with the Butterfly which I actually loved. Its a great brand. The new version looks like 2 eggs with massive eyes. Not nice at all.

    And Microsoft were doing so well with their re-brands…

    MSN really went down hill after it stopped being an ISP (though was it any good in the first place?) Anyway, for MSNs sake, lets hope they don’t stick to the new version.


  6. With Live becoming such a strong brand, remind me again why they still have “MSN” and the butterfly at all?

  7. >the brand has lost some of its meaning and mojo

    Some of its meaning? It has no meaning whatsoever and even less mojo. It is just a confusing remainder from a long dead era in which it as never even that successful. More than anything it represents MS online futility. I’m actually shocked that they are keeping the brand at all. Terrible job. Just another pathetic half-measure.

  8. I hope this is an indication that MS is about to rehaul the MSN portal. It has become so left behind, very Web 1.0

  9. The MSN colored butterfly is, in my opinion, the best icon Microsoft has ever done. All this new “glass” crap makes me wanna vomit. But too glossy like most linux distros is also terrible. This logo just has it.

  10. Ugly! Stick with the old MSN logo, or come up with a better modification. It’s hard to not to discriminate because it’s black and white, but it looks way too flashy and doesn’t look much of a butterfly anymore.

  11. I bet this logo is designed by the same person who did the new (urgh) Visual Studio logo.

  12. Hello Koogle! Next time, you might want to choose between either “products” or “offerings”, not “products offerings”.

  13. I like the old one better. Maybe if the new one had a body I’d like it better, but it looks weird. Not to mention it’s at a strange viewing angle, too.

    And lol at that 9 year old ZDNet article. The guy sound homophobic or something.

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  15. I think it’s a very nice update to the form. The original was a little …. spatially schizophrenic. This updated form has much nicer shapes making up the whole with the overlapping shapes proving even more modern.

    The fact that its at in interesting perspective makes it all the better

    of course just my opinion ; )

  16. This isn’t the real logo. Just a grayscale version. i work for Microsoft and have seen the new logo in full color with the new MSN font. It’s not bad….WAY better than the thing they are showing on this page.

    It’s nothing revolutionary, but a BIG imporvement.

  17. @J Town:
    Hmm, so I wasn’t that far off, was I? 😛

    I should have accounted for the Web 2.0 palette, though. And that’s a cool font! Reminds me of Blue Highway Extended… I agree it’s a good improvement over the old version.

  18. I believe “Live” is / was suppose to be the next msn incarnation with cloud based services. But “Live” has stuggled to have the same brand awareness and appeal MSN first had when it launched as a portal.

    I think M$ have been clever to revamp the MSN logo and NOT struggle to compete in trying to get brand awareness and a following for “Live” when all this already exists in MSN.

    I really hope the re-design of the MSN logo is a sign of M$ pushing out all its disjointed apps under one already distinguishable brand which is MSN.

    If M$ were to offer my wishlist of apps under one unified brand – Office Live, Photosynth, Thumbstacks not forgetting the bread and butter apps Hotmail, Messenger etc then we would all be registering for a address as well all did that many years ago!

    Its not the logo that makes the product(s) its the product(s) that makes the logo.

    This was really fun to write and the site is awesome.

  19. @Paddy

    Subject to bias/wrong.

    And can I just say Microsoft have a truck load of online services and “Lab” experiments… They probably could do a better job at keeping it all together and unified but for heaven’s sake give them a break…

    Also, they are in fact making a massive push with the Live brand… Haven’t you seen the children making their fish photos better?

    MSN isn’t what it used to be, it’s evolved and will continue to along side of Live.

  20. @Tommo

    Im not dissputing the fact they are not marketing Live, im trying to empasize that fact that they are masters at marketing confusion! BING, MSN. LIVE, VISTA

    MSN is a great brand, my 2 pennys worth is M$ should run with MSN and bing + its apps

    M$ have great products and an echo system unrivaled by any other OS which must be damn hard to look after which I thin they do a good job of.

  21. @Paddy

    But “Live” has stuggled to have the same brand awareness and appeal MSN first had when it launched as a portal.

    I think M$ have been clever to revamp the MSN logo and NOT struggle to compete in trying to get brand awareness and a following for “Live” when all this already exists in MSN.

    Can you see why I may be slightly confused…

    Live !- MSN…
    As the Microsoft employee has said, MSN is content where as Live is service… You can’t just throw it all together… And I must be missing something, where is the confusion?

    Bing = Search
    MSN = News and other content.. kind of like today’s newspaper but online, it has weather, money and all the goss
    Live = communication, file sharing/collaboration and the such, etc.

  22. @Tommy.

    Yep! They used to be together, and it wasn’t all clear, but now MSN and Live are 2 two different things:

    MSN -> Online portal
    WIndows Live -> programs and services for your PC, on the desktop and web.

  23. You know, they could correspond the colors of the major parts of the butterfly, to the actual Windows flag logo. You know, like red at the top left, green at t he top right, blue at the bottom left, and yellow at the bottom right. It would kinda fit better with Microsoft…

  24. People don’t even think of the NBC peacock as a peacock any more. Who knows, if MSN kept at it for long enough, the same honor could be bestowed upon them.

  25. For me it’s very obvious that this new “branding” is all about shapeshifting old stuff into Windows-7-ish stuff. But the new logo is somewhat appealing. I like the butterfly. I don’t like the typeface used for “MSN”. That sucks.

  26. Really nice design, super clean. Well targeted for its core image users too. Unlike some other areas of Microsoft, it just works – like MSN.

    An I’ve produced a somewhat derivative logo for kMess, the KDE Messenger clone.

  27. Pingback: MSN evolution - AC

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