When two Ph.D. Students decided to create a search engine back in 1996, no one realized that Google would eventually become a multinational company. In addition to being the most popular method for searching the internet, the company has worked hard to create social media, email, cloud storage, translation, and mapping products for the modern technological age. Despite the company’s evolution, the Google logo history has always been characterized by the company’s name written in stylized font.
There have been some minor alterations throughout the years, but Google logo history has been remarkably stable. It still looks very much like the original 1997 logo. Read on to discover how Google created a logo that would represent their company for years to come.
Font and perception
To begin with, it is important to look at the importance of font. Largely ignored unless especially irritating to the eye, the font is something that the reader accepts as a given. However, the typeface can have a serious impact on the text itself, and the Google logo changes make no exception. In his 1964 book Understanding the Media: The Extensions of Man, University of Toronto professor and philosopher Marshall McLuhan first noticed the importance of the medium within any form of communication.
According to his pioneering studies, besides the various modern electronic channels of transmitting information, the text itself is such a medium. As such, it influences the way in which the information it transmits is received. Writer Erroll Morris’s experiment with a quiz in the New York times proves just that.
Google logo history
Despite some alterations throughout the years, the Google logo history has been remarkably stable. It still looks very much like the old Google logo from 1997. Read on to discover how Google created a logo that would represent their company for years to come.
Google Logo History: Old Google logo 1997 (Source)
Changes and Evolution
Google Logo History: Google Logo 1998 (Source)
The shape of the Google logo design has always consisted of the letters in the company’s name. Originally, these letters were three dimensional letters that were tilted sideways. In 1998, the letters were straightened instead of being slanted, and for a brief period of a year, the design featured an exclamation point at the end, but this was deemed to be too similar to Yahoo’s own logo.
Google Logo History: Google logo 1999-2010 (Source)
The same logo was used from 1999 to 2010, and it featured the text with a shadow and rounded edges. The shadow was slightly reduced in 2013, and by 2013, the letters were completely flattened and un-shadowed. The most significant change came in 2013, when the text font changed from a classic typeface to a custom font.
Google Logo History: Google logo 2013 (Source)
All the options in Google logo history show multicolored text. The color of the letters composing the company’s name was a different shade, with an order entirely alien to that which we have come to know. At first, the sequence of coloring was red, red, blue, green, yellow, red. A year later, this changed to green, red, yellow, blue, green, red. The color sequence changed one last time in 1998, when it was shifted to blue, red, yellow, blue, green, red. This is still the color sequence used, but the newer versions used slightly lighter, muted colors instead of the bright primary shades. The most notable color change has been the green, which has changed from a bright lime green to a deeper, kelly green.
The first few logos used by Google featured traditional fonts. At first, Baskerville Bold was used, but it was changed to the Catull typeface in 1999. After years with a Sans Serif typeface, Google decided to change to a custom, sans serif font in 2015.
According to Poole, the Sans Serif font style is not suitable for the usual text. The Serif style alone increases legibility and improves identification through contrast. Sans Serifs, although not very different, fit better in the small pixel grid used by computers. In this way, with one, seemingly incremental, fell swoop, Google enhanced the marketing capabilities of its logo with one simple logo change.
New Google Logo: Google logo 2015 (Source)
New Google Logo Design Elements
The modern logo at Google was unveiled on September 1, 2015. Ruth Kedar, the overseer of the Google logo evolution, came up with the original design. It is a sans serif logo featuring gently bent text that reads, “Google.” Both G’s are blue, while the first O and the E are red. The second O is yellow, and the L is green.
The text is completely flat, without any shadows or third dimensional text. The font used for the new Google logo is very similar to the classic Futura font, but there are some slight differences in length and shape. The same font used today by Google is also used by its mother-company, Alphabet.
Though the Google logo gets its inspiration from the Futura font that Paul Renner designed back in 1927, it is slightly updated. The crossbar of the E is slanted to give the logo more of a friendly and organic appeal.
It may not seem important, but this simple sans serif text with a slanted E has influenced many other technological companies and their respective logos. One example of a tech company with a similar logo is Lenovo, a Chinese-based computer and phone company.
For Google, it was Ruth Kedar, the graphic desginer, who chose the colors of the Google logo. She wanted three primary colors to emphasize the basics while including a secondary color to show that Google does not follow the rules.
In the end, it was the company that overtook and gave meaning to the colors. Any project name, like Chrome or Google Maps, needed only to be attributed the same colors as the main logo to attain instant recognition as belonging to Google. To the colors, Kedar added a playfulness of design with the Catull typeface, again signaling that Google is not just another company.
The First Google Doodle (Source)
Why did Google change its logo so many times and what is up with all these changes to the home-page? Google is known for replacing the logo on their homepage with a “Google Doodle” that looks similar to the logo but marks some sort of significant event. The first doodle appeared in 1998 and featured a stick figure of the Burning Man because the Google founders wanted to warn their audience that the site might go down while they were attending the Burning Man Festival.
Google continued and expanded this practice, adding more and more doodles corresponding to holidays and special events. While the first doodles were addressed to the United States audience, referencing holidays such as Thanksgivings, Google soon moved on to non-US holidays. Bastille Day, Korean Liberation Day, St. Patrick’s Day and even the Chinese New Year soon joined the list.
Aside from logos pertaining to holidays, the Google logo history also includes multiday doodled logos. If most are also related to events such as the Olympics, some of them are displayed for no apparent reason, such as the May 2000 series that featured aliens. Two years later, the famous cartoon character Dilbert made a multi-day appearance.
Example of Google Doodle (Source)
Starting from 2008, the Google doodles increased exponentially, numbering in the hundreds. The new doodles commemorated historical events, personalities, famous cartoon characters and most of all, they celebrated the national day of quite a populous list of countries. Scroll lower for more Google doodles.
Though Google’s logo has remained very similar, they are constantly making tiny changes to coloring and shape. With four different logos used in the past six years, Google has changed their logo more times than any other major company. At the same time, the company managed to retain a sense of familiarity for its users.
Google logo history helps to prove that logos do not need to be complicated or abstract to work well. The simple colors and design of the Google logo help to create instant brand recognition. The iconic logo is now featured on everything from self-driving cars to the architecture at the Google campus and it has long been used as a verb.
More Google Doodles:
You can view all the Google Logos on www.google.com/doodles
Article updated on 19/04/2017