Doing some investigative research via Google and digging around the portfolios of designers, I've stumbled upon a number of design ideas and mock-ups for various Microsoft Web properties; namely, MSN and Microsoft's main Web site, microsoft.com. Included are ideas for a re-branded MSN logo (pictured on the right and down below), a redesigned MSN Life and Style, a refreshed MSN Video site (it closely resembles the current MSN Video site, but the differences are easily spotted), a new approach to navigation in MSN via "auras," and a Silverlight-based microsoft.com.
Important to note is that while these designers were hired by Microsoft to design these ideas, there are certainly plenty of others they hired to do the same task, so what you see in this post may very well not represent the final ideas they choose to go with if/when they do decide to go through with MSN and/or Microsoft.com overhauls. With that said, below are all the images I've dug up so far. Click them to see higher-resolution versions. Lastly, I've provided source links to the origin of the images so that you can verify for yourself the validity of the images in addition to the descriptions accompanying them.
The Next MSN Logo?
Source: Elise Wade
MSN Life and Style
Source: Michael and Chloe(The password is "hello" (without the quotes) as can be found simply by viewing the source code of the page. Ouch.)
Source: Steve Boulton
Source: Adam Lee
Microsoft.com Silverlight Design
Source: Shaun Rene
Bonus: Various MSN Logo Ideas
As you can see, there are some drastic differences in some of these designs. Again, which ones -- if any -- Microsoft decides to implement is anyone's guess at this point. Personally, I think the logo design is pretty spiffy and I like the idea of MSN Auras. Overall, some good ideas but I'm not sure how well they would all work in real-world usage.
What are your thoughts? Do you like any of these designs? Would you even use MSN at this point if it had a new look and feel to it?