With a whopping 3.5 billion searches per day, ‘Google’ is undeniably a staple in todays technological world, and the branding behind the search engine is one of the key reasons why this Californian company is so popular.
However, as I was examining their logo once I learnt about them creating a sister brand for all of their innovative projects, named ‘Alphabet’, I couldn’t help but realise just how different their logo is compared to so many other logos, not just in their own field, but in the world of graphic design in general.
Therefore, I thought it would only be wise to further examine the three things which make ‘Google’s’ logo as wonderfully innovative as it is.
It’s a Technology Brand That Uses Old Style Typography
You don’t have to look far nowadays to realise that todays technology brands rely on sans-serif typography. The reason for this can be because typography like this was originally idealised by modernists in the early 20th century to bring a utopian appeal to the global aesthetic. This is certainly an appeal many technology brands try to mimic.
Even the few brands which use serifs typically resort to slab-serifs, most likely because having serifs of an identical width to the bars and stems of the characters allow the text to be crisply reproduced using pixelated screens. Popular examples of this would be ‘Sony’ and ‘Tumblr” (the latter of which is technically considered to be a Bracketed Slab Serif font).
Because of this, the fact that ‘Google’ uses an Old Style font, a category which is more commonly associated with print-based branding, is highly unusual. And yet, at the same time, highly bespoke. The logo is rarely ever displayed on a small scale, and therefore the company don’t need to worry as much about pixelation of their font as much as other brands may have to. On top of that, the ever-increasing quality of screens used in todays technology mean pixelation is no longer nearly as much of a concern as it used to be, meaning other brands can follow in ‘Google’s’ footsteps of using seriffed fonts for digital products.
EDITORS NOTE [1st September, 2015]: By complete surprise, only 6 days after this was originally posted, ‘Google’ have undergone a major rebranding by replacing their classic Catull font with a new sans-serif typeface. If you ask me, I much prefer their old logo, since the new one feels more like a knock-off of ‘eBay’s’ logo. Nevertheless, ‘Google’s’ logo, both old and new, is still a marvel of innovation, because of the remaining two points…
It Disobeys the Rule of Using Minimum Colours
One of the most common mistakes that non-designers make when trying to create their brand is to use all of the colours of the rainbow, which rarely ever works since the use of multiple bright colours is generally associated with a youthful, playful image. So, why is it that the ‘Google’ logo is an exception to this rule, and maintains the look of a mature, serious brand?
Well, for one thing, the brand tends to use the four main colours individually when it comes to the various sub-brands of the company, such as only using the red shade for their ‘YouTube’ brand, and the blue shade for their ‘Calendar’ app.
However, the main thing which makes the logo get away with multiple colours is the fact it ordered them in a very smart way. The designers use conventional practices to create an unconventional order for the colours, as can be demonstrated in the diagram above.
The palette isn’t too different from that of one of the logo (pictured above) used on the companies inception, of which was designed by the sit’s co-founder, Sergey Brin, who isn’t famous for being a designer.
The Company Changes Their Logo Every Few Weeks
By far the most innovative things about ‘Google’s’ branding is that, regarding their logo, they disregard the most vital rule regarding brand identities… consistency. Companies rarely ever let anyone temporarily change their logo, even if that change is only by a fraction of any of the dozens of factors that go into the creation of the companies vital brand identity.
The reason ‘Google’, and the main designer behind their ‘Doodles’, Ryan Germick, can get away with this is because practically their entire target market already know their logo and name off by heart. The moment that somebody opens up the ‘Google’ Home Page, they automatically know that’s what they landed on, regardless of what they see. Therefore, the company can make minor changes to their logo whenever a national holiday or major event arrises, maintaining the essence of the logo either via its font or colours, yet giving it a whole new spin to mark the given occasion.
These logo-changes have, as mentioned earlier, been given the appropriate name ‘Doodles’, and have become a staple of the companies branding. The fact these doodles can appear on practically any day have created a compelling form of brand loyalty, making those who visit the site excited to see what creations the company has come up with, and both to get creative juices flowing, and to learn something new every now and then.