Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few days, Google has a new logo. You heard that right, Google has a new logo. Google’s logo, that wonderfully archaic reminder of what was considered cool (Colour! Serif fonts! Letters in different colours in serif fonts!) back in 1999.
Now, even if you’re pretty much computer illiterate (you made it here, which is a start) you’re certain to stumble over the new Google logo in some way, shape or form over the next few days, whether that’s through Gmail, Google Maps or simply Google itself.
But for most of us, it won’t really influence our everyday lives. In fact I reckon in a few months we’ll be hard pressed to remember the old Google logo, in the same way you have to think really hard to recall an old £20 note.
However, when I asked our design team for their opinions on the new logo, I ended up having the longest conversation I’ve ever had over six letters. So what do the experts in design think?
Was it time for a rebrand?
“While the old logo was well-established, the serif font no longer worked,” says graphic designer Toni Baile, “The simplicity is good, it adapts perfectly for screen and works really well offline too. The design is highly visible with the three elements - the logo itself, the dots and the monogram.”
“But I don’t think Google needed a rebrand. They’ve never needed to focus on branding before - everyone knows what Google is and what Google does. It’s become part of our vocabulary - ‘just Google it’,” says Jake Brennan, “It seems to me this is a natural progression with Alphabet. Google seems to be trying to become a ‘business’ more than a service. I think the rebrand devalues Google.”
From a design point of view…
“The new logo is not doing anything special,” says Toni. “I think the simplicity is good. Design is not important when you are Google - it is purely functional. They don’t want something that stands out too much or something that is distracting. The new approach is boring but it’s useful and it adapts well.”
“It’s a dramatic change from a serif font to sans serif,” says Jake, “I think it’s a bit patronising - it reminds me of the Fisher Price logo and looks childish. I think there are far too many things that look like it. What made the old Google logo stand out was the second G - not many fonts used that unique character and that was what made it stand out. Now I don’t think the font they’ve chosen stands out enough.”
From a functionality point of view....
Toni says: “Any brand refresh needs to focus on needs - in this case, is it functional? Yes. From a design point of view, people will get used it it, and I think over time they will realise that the functionality is good and creating a revolutionary design is less important than creating something functional. There was no risk here - this was a simple solution. Google is a technology company and from a technical perspective it works.”
From a business point of view…
“Expectations have been high around the premise of a new Google logo, but there are only three types of people this will affect - the public, who will get used to it and will appreciate its functionality, Google’s clients, and the design community,” says Toni. “It’s only really the design community who are up in arms about it - and they are a group that Google doesn’t even market to.”
Jake says: “I think this is Google’s attempt to try to humanise itself. It’s going from a ‘non-brand’ - a brand who doesn’t need any kind of promotion - to a branded company. By giving itself a new brand and a new face, it’s opening itself up to opinions.”
How will this affect design?
“I don’t think it’s inspiring enough to make a difference in the design community,” says Toni.
Jake disagrees: “I think it will be interesting to see how other companies respond - will they get rid of serifs too? Not necessarily from a design point of view but a business point of view - if Google is doing it should we be doing it too? I think it’s interesting that Google has used warm colours and flat illustrations - these were very popular last year, but lately there’s been a movement towards cooler colours and retro styles such as monoline. Will we follow Google back to 2014 or continue the path we were moving in?”
However, both Jake and Toni agreed that there will be an even bigger shift towards monograms. Jake saysevery brand today needs a monogram, and Toni agrees “I think we will see much less of the word Google and more use of the G monogram or the four dots, just like the Nike swoosh or Apple logo. We don’t need the names anymore - the logos are synonymous.”
Both Toni and Jake agree that it’s too early to tell what will happen. “Everything is speculation at the moment,” says Jake, “I think there are a lot of questions - how will Google adapt? Will there be a new direction? Where is Google going?”
“It will be interesting to see how Google reacts to feedback,” adds Toni, “Like the 2012 Olympic logo, there’s no going back once a logo is out there. Let’s catch up again in a couple of months.”