When the company called Google was officially launched back in 1998 by Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, none of them had any idea just how big it would become. Now, it is the most popular web-based search engine with one of the most iconic and easily-recognizable logos. However, it wasn’t always like this and since its release, the company switched up its logo numerous times.
Apart from its basic logo, Google is also famous for always changing it to mark certain holidays, important events of all kinds, births of famous figures, or to commemorate tragedies. Dennis Hwang is the mind behind all of these special Google logos which, in time, have become known as Doodles. Still, the original logo remains, even if it’s in a different form than the ones that have originally been used over the years. It’s worth noting that, as it’s the case with most other companies, these changes have not always been for the better and many have criticized the company’s choices. Which is why, in this article, we will be talking about some good and bad things that Google did with their logo over the years.
Larry Page was the one who, back in 1998, managed to successfully create a computerized Google logo using the famous free graphics program called GIMP. According to the graphic designer who actually developed the iconic logo that we all know today, Ruth Kedar, they first tried many color combinations for it. Finally, they decided to only use the primary colors which was a good thing because it offered people a sense of familiarity. However, instead of following the normal color pattern, they decided to make the “L” a secondary color.
The idea behind this change was to mark the fact that Google doesn’t follow any rules, and that everyone should know that. The Google old logo was a tridimensional doodle that appealed to the late 90’s vibe. In time, it evolved to the simpler, more elegant version of today. Of course, we can’t forget about the doodles. You can see a couple of the most iconic doodles in the linked article.
The name of the company came from a misspelling of the word ”googol”, which is a name for a number represented by 1 and followed by one hundred zeros. Page and Brin said that they chose this name because it fit the company’s purpose, which was to create the largest search engine ever.
In October 1998, the company decided that it was time for a change once again. This time, the logo is a bit different than the original one. Apart from the rounded letters with increased shadow and different hues, the biggest change came from the addition of a blue exclamation mark at the end. Moreover, the first “G” in the logo also changed its color from green to blue, probably to match the second “g”.
It’s interesting to note that this is the same color sequence that the Google logo still uses today, and it hasn’t changed since 1998. It is a clear proof of the fact that this change was for the better. People loved it, even if it wasn’t a huge difference but the logo clearly became a lot more professional and modern.
However, one year later, the company abruptly decided to remove the exclamation mark at the end of the word. Also, it completely changed the typeface and used Catull. A reason for this change was probably the fact that the exclamation mark at the end made it look too similar to the Yahoo! logo. The fact that both Page and Brin didn’t want their company to resemble any other one most certainly prompted this quick change. It was probably a good thing because it made the logo even more unique. This simple design remained the basis of the Google logo up until 2015, even if other small changes happened in-between.
A Big Overhaul:
In 2010, the now-famous Google logo changed once more and surprised everyone. The shadows behind the letters were now drastically reduced, the “o” became slightly more orange than before, and the letters were a lot flatter than in the previous logo. The color scheme remained the same.
Three years later, in 2013, the company decided to completely remove the shadows and established a logo that only had flat letters. It was a beneficial change because it simplified the text even more. However, many people disagreed and said that the new logo was too simplistic and difficult to read over a colored background.
The Final Adjustment:
In 2015, Google shocked the world when they announced the introduction of a new identity family and therefore, of a new logo. Because the age of smartphones had already begun, the company wanted a new logo that worked on multiple devices. So, the typeface changed once again into a sans-serif one called Product Sans and it all became possible. It’s interesting that this particular typeface was created at Google and was later used for the new Alphabet logo too.
Over the years, many people have criticized the logo choices that Google was making, especially since the company constantly updated it. Some called them too simplistic, while others saw them as not worthy of such a big company. Interestingly enough, there have been people who have said that too many companies have logos that look like each other. For example, Airbnb, Pinterest or Spotify, they all have simple logos only based on their names. According to experts, this is not a mistake but a great way of helping the brand if the brand name is unique.
The more generic and simple the logo is, the more reliable it becomes. Apart from this, these kinds of logos work very well on smartphones and tablets, which are the norm nowadays. The flat letters are there for a purpose and that is to make the brands more popular on all mobile devices and not only on computers.
All in all, it seems that there have been both good and bad eras in the history of the famous Google logo, but the company has stayed the same through thick and thin. People loved and hated their logo changes but ultimately, nobody stopped using the search engine because they didn’t like the logo. It may have been a matter of perspective or maybe some were tired of the forever-changing letters and colors. However, throughout the years, Google has searched for the best possible alternative and it seems that they have finally found it.