Some believe Google represents a symbol of access to information. Others recognize it as a billion-dollar technology company. But the new Google logo may now take on a new meaning.
Google updated its iconic colorful logo on Sept. 1. The redesign incorporates a new logotype that carries the familiar multi-colored pattern, although the blue hue is lighter and the typeface has transitioned into a modern sans-serif style. Google users will still recognize the colorful logo, but many are questioning the change.
Members of the industrial and graphic design departments at BYU weighed in on the redesigned logo.
Industrial design professor Paul Skaggs said that the rebranding of a logo is usually needed when attempting to maintain modern design relevance. “Logos sometimes become tired,” Skaggs said. “They usually need to be updated and moved into the future or else you lose brand equity.”
The Google logo was originally designed for a web browser. Over time, additional services were integrated into the ecosystem that required universal brand recognition. These complexities and design constraints enabled the logo to transform into improved versions. “Creativity is best expressed under contraints,” Skaggs said. “I like the redesign.”
Skaggs said that in industrial design, logos are designed for the products they will be displayed on. Similarly, the Google logo was designed for what it will be displayed on. He said large amounts of time and money were invested into how this new logo will be seen on the different products.
“Much like fashion is constantly being updated, so too are the colors and layout of logos updated frequently,” Skaggs said. This is apparent when looking at the hue of the color blue in Google’s new iteration.
Graphic design professor Eric Gillet confirmed what Skaggs said. “The old logo didn’t hold up very well on tiny screens and took up a lot of valuable real estate,” Gillett said in an email. “It was originally viewed on a desktop computer, which had plenty of room.”
Google has revamped its logo seven times in 17 years. Gillet recalled that the first version was designed by a Google founder. “Google had milked a mediocre logo for all it was worth,” Gillet said. “I have no doubt that the Google brand managers have been complaining for years about the limitations of the logo.”
Gillet said he was surprised when the redesign was published. “This was the most radical change they have made in a long time and it probably scared them,” Gillet said. “When I saw the logo for the first time I was leery — I thought maybe someone was fishing for my personal information or I had clicked on a fake Google page. Not the reaction they wanted, but after a few clicks I was pleasantly surprised with the re-fresh.”
Both professors agreed that it was a necessary change.
In a Google article called “Evolving the Google Identity,” Google designers said the rotated ‘e’ had significance: “a reminder that we’ll always be a bit unconventional.”
Google announced the logo redesign on their official blog. “We’ve taken the Google logo and branding, which were originally built for a single desktop browser page, and updated them for a world of seamless computing across an endless number of devices and different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).”
In August, Google announced that it would restructure its operations. Google now resides under a parent company called Alphabet. Larry Page is the CEO with Sergey Brin as the president, both of whom were executives at Google. Sundar Pichai is now Google’s CEO.
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