About three hours after I first saw the new Google logo, I was used to it. A few of the other Opus designers and I agree that the kerning is too tight, but basically, the new logo picks up where the last one left off with little or no disruption. Brand New’s article on the new Google logo, by Armin, is a terrific explanation of the design and why it works. The last Google logo was introduced in 1999. It was ugly then, and ugly a month ago, but grew rich in brand equity.
The first thing I learned in the story is that the logo was designed in-house. Awesome. Having googly designers refresh their own logo was probably a big part of retaining the value of the original logotype. I also learned that the logo elements are all part of an elegant infographic system design. Each element from the big “G” to the dots, to the way the logo “o’s” represent pages in a search, are all meaningful symbols that help people use Google. I generally think of logos as visuals for a brand, and infographics as the visuals for the data, but in this case, Google’s new logo acts dutifully as infographic; and is as user friendly as you can get.
Armin writes, “Foremost is the scale at which is deployed, both in terms of its physical appearance and the number of instances it has to be served in a variety of mediums. This isn’t just a logo that needs to print on a business card, embroider on a polo, and work on a website — it has to do all those things plus live in smartphones, watches, TVs, tablets, eventually car dashboards, and who knows what else in the near future. A lot of visual solutions to a logo wouldn’t adapt well to this challenge, which is why the simplicity many people are reacting to as boring is the right approach.”
Looking at the history of Google logos over the years it appears that tight letter spacing may be part of the legacy?
The primary source is “Evolving the Google Identity” article from Google Design, where authors Cook, Jarvis, and Lee, describe the design challenges and discuss each element in more detail. Check this article out for the lovely motion graphics of Google’s new logo G and dots.