Google is a creative, highly intelligent yet approachable technology titan. With the release of Google’s new logo this past week came strong opinions from various people (as expected). It would be foolish to expect 100% of Google users to fully embrace the new design. Michael Bierut summed it up with, “Graphic design criticism is now a spectator sport, and anyone can play.”
That being said… let the games begin.
Put a check in the “W” column.
Overall, the new identity design is successful. I say “identity” because I am not merely referring to the mark seen on Google’s home page. In fact, the win goes to the entire system (definitely not to the Google logo itself).
The rebrand includes a new series of four dots in the four different Google colors as well as a new multicolored “G” and speaker icon. All of which are introduced/displayed in a seamless animation.
The animations are fun and entertaining. The logotype transforms into dots, which jump over one another before spinning into a lone multicolored G.
Google has created a smart, simple visual system for itself. It speaks to the digital space that it resides in. It maintains the well known color scheme. The scalability and versatility of the new logo is undeniable.
You’re as strong as your weakest player.
Typographically, I have a few qualms:
1. I really miss the two story lowercase “g”. I believe that typefaces that have a two story “g” in are both sophisticated and fun at the same time (a key component of Google’s identity). The two counterforms also were a subtle nod to the double “o” that precedes it. It was something that kept it out of the “modern” era and allowed for a jump between traditional and contemporary.
2. The capital G isn’t strong enough when it stands with the other letters. This could possibly be resolved by making it a little thicker (similar to when it is by itself).
3. The conflicting angles of the bar and the finial in the “e”. Making the bar of the “e” on an angle that lines up with the finial of the “g” creates a harmony across the “l”. However, it’s not “playful” so much as “disruptive” to the circular forms throughout the logo.
There’s more to a game besides winning.
Some say the simplicity of the new logo is what makes it great. As previously acknowledged, it speaks to the ease of using Google to search the web and allows for smooth transitions from desktop to tablet to smartphone to the Apple Watch. It is clean and simple. It is modern.
But Google isn’t “modern”. Google is the cutting edge. Google is the front runner. Google is the future.
Win or lose, we should look at how the game is being played. The redesign of the Google logo raises a bigger issue in design today: Why is everything about modernization and simplification? Ever since Futura and Helvetica graced us with their presence, it seems we’ve settled down on this “modern” couch with no desire to go outside and see other things.
I wonder if the past 60-70 years of design history has me wanting to hate this logo out of sheer boredom. Or maybe the digital age has simply succeeded in killing my capacity for satisfaction. Or maybe I simply have very high standards for one of the most innovative companies in the world. I digress…
Overall, it is another clean, modern, boring logo that will live and breathe with the rest. What makes it a win is what Google does with it. Perhaps on its own, it doesn’t thrill the masses. But when Google adds animation, creativity and inventiveness via the daily doodles and celebratory home pages, the logo still serves as a solid template for design and expression.
About the Author - Lindsay Reynolds
A graphic designer who is easily influenced by the promise of bacon cheeseburgers, books and typography.