Microsoft's unused Windows XP logos are pretty wild

Windows XP logo
The final WIndows XP logo (Image credit: Casey Potter)

The iconic Microsoft Windows logo has seen a few transformations over the years, from the decorative swoosh of Windows 95 to today's more minimal affair. It was 2001's Windows XP that introduced a 3D take on the four coloured squares – but it could have looked very different.

Creative agency Frog Design has shared several unused prototype logos from 2001, and it's a tantalising glimpse at what could have been. Perhaps most the most interesting takeaway is that inclusion of the four coloured squares wasn't always a given. (Looking for inspiration? Check out the best logos of all time.)

The designs, shared by creative director Casey Potter, came about because "Microsoft wanted an outside perspective for the design of its next-generation operating system, Windows XP." 

"The Windows mark needed to maintain the brand equity it had accrued in its long history while expressing the evolution towards a more flexible, user-friendly brand," Potter explains on his website. "Our team developed a slate of fifty new logos, ranging from simple to radical alterations." The designs recently resurfaced on Twitter, and users have been fascinated by the glimpse behind the curtain of the design process.

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Just like those unused Nintendo Wii logos, these prototypes show that for every final logo, there are often dozens of rejected prototypes. If you're inspired to create a design of your own, take a look at out guide on how to design a logo.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).