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Microsoft Employee Badge Redesign

Ahmet Alp Balkan recently posted his redesign of Microsoft’s employee badge or “Blue Badge.” Balkan:

It’s over a year Microsoft has started to rebrand itself, starting from its logo to a brand new looking OS, from campus shuttles to direction signs on the campus and so on. Many employees are wearing this badge on their belts or pockets every day. So why not redesign this good ol’ beast?

A nice premise. Plus, I always enjoy seeing designers try their hand at everyday objects that need a little time and love. However, while I like the direction that Balkan went, I had two observations:

  1. Balkan only shows us the front of the old Blue Badge, while his redesign has both a front and a back. Was there anything on the back of the old one, or was it blank? Perhaps there are printing limitations that limit painting to the front.
  2. I like simplifying the front face of the badge to just the employee name and their picture, but I get the feeling that this design gets in the way of the primary reason for the cards in the first place: security. Having all the information on the front of the card, which I assume is worn on the shirt or belt, allows any security personnel or cameras to see everything without having to flip the badge over.

Having worked at a global company where these sorts of badges were used, I know the pain it would be to 1.) redesign the card and 2.) reissue them to employees. However, I feel that if Microsoft is dedicated to their new brand and image — and new CEO — this year, if any, might be a great time to start. It’s a personal way of unifying everyone under the “One Microsoft” mantra.

UPDATE: Looks like they’re doing it.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014