– Aaron Keller, Managing Principal, Capsule

Whether it’s a natural tendency to write the underdog story or just a desire to see big get crushed by little, we tend to favor the small over the large. The economics of change have provided plenty of stories for us and plenty of small heroes to back.

For instance, when Apple was small in comparison to Microsoft, the fight was in our corner and we knew for whom to root. Now, things have changed. Apple is big and Microsoft—though by no means small—is starting to garner empathy from us because Apple is such a dominant force. Odd, sad and true: we are starting to root for Microsoft, the other “little” guy.

Then, this happens.

Microsoft has a new logo.

Someone took all that was good, distinctive and memorable about the old logo and flushed it down the closest public toilet. Sorry, nothing against public toilets, but you know experience. The typography is less distinctive. The logo is less distinctive. The entire design leaves us with a “less than” feeling.

Microsoft has been on the edge of taking a design leadership role for many years. This would be a great moment to signal the new Microsoft in all its glory while making a visual statement. This article from Forbes points out how “boring” the new logo is, but it also identifies a more important piece of what’s lacking.

The intention for the yellow square. Watch the video  and you’re left with a feeling of, “did I miss something?” Design leadership means you consider every detail, and leave no bit unthought. This yellow element is either unthought or the big reveal is coming soon—let’s hope for a big reveal on the meaning of the yellow square.

A distinctive design in almost any form can, for the originator, obtain some rights of ownership. While Microsoft has been brilliant at intellectual property on the software side, they still don’t seem to get that they need to be visually distinctive. This tells us they have not yet earned the privilege of a design community rooting for them. Yet, we still hold out design hope for the Microsoft brand.