Look out, world: Google recently announced a brand-new logo. In the company's seventeen-year history, this is its biggest redesign—which not-so-coincidentally followed the creation of Google's parent company Alphabet and the accompanying restructuring of the organization.
WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT THE NEW LOGO?
The new logo is in a sans serif font and the iconic bold blue, red, yellow, and green coloring has been softened. It's similar to the Alphabet typeface, demonstrating a unifying tie between Google and Alphabet.
The logo is utilized across all of Google's many platforms, and this rebrand is supposed to reflect how it “is no longer a site you visit on a desktop computer—it's a huge collection of sites, apps, and services that you visit on PCs, Chromebooks, smartphones, and anywhere you can find a web browser." In addition to cosmetic changes, Google also created different versions of the logo to make it easier for it to display on smaller screens and lower bandwidth connections.
WHY DID GOOGLE CREATE A NEW LOGO?
According to Google's blog post about the logo's evolution, it created the new design with Google's best traits in mind: “simple, uncluttered, colorful, [and] friendly." Since the biggest change from the old logo to the new is the shift from serif to sans-serif font, it's fair to assume that the sans serif font evokes the simplicity and lack of clutter they were going for. It's cleaner, more modern, and intended to mark a new chapter for how Google is no longer just a search engine; Google is a guide to thinking, learning, sharing, and finding your way (literally, with Google Maps, and figuratively, too). Google has grown, and the new logo illustrates this by packaging up what Google thinks are its strengths and making them visible.
WHY DO SOME PEOPLE HATE THE NEW GOOGLE LOGO?
However, the new Google logo has been met with some animosity. Most notably, Sarah Larson's opinion piece in The New Yorker attempts to explain to the haters why exactly they hate the logo. She defends the old logo, arguing that the simple, serif typeface was a callback to literature, newspapers, and printing of yore. For Larson, the new logo “evokes children's refrigerator magnets, McDonald's French fries, [and] Comic Sans." Harsh, but fair. Larson's piece demonstrates how she valued a logo that sensibly intertwined with a company's mission and brand. The old logo reflected a combination of intelligence and friendliness, but the new logo's “refrigerator-magnet silliness" reads false to her.
It's a logo design untethered from her perception of what Google is. Her strong reaction stems from the fact that Google's logo is so inextricable from Google itself. After all, the logo is the basically only thing you see when you go Google.com. For Larson and for others who aren't sold on the new logo, the new design is not only unfamiliar, but it also distances itself too much from its true identity.
Google's new logo elicits strong reactions, both positive and negative. These reactions are so strong because logos matter—they're visual summaries of the organization. Logo updates matter too because they mark how these organizations change over time. No matter what you think of the new design, you have to admit that all growing up is accompanied by some growing pains. If you're interested in learning about what logo updates mean for Facebook and Twitter, click here.
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