In one of the biggest changes since 1999, the web company’s new banner uses a simpler sans-serif typeface while retaining the four colours — red, blue, yellow and green — for the name Google, the company said in a blog.
The revamp, which will apply to all of the company’s branded products, are meant to make it easier to identify the search giant on the smallest of screens.
The effort to come up with a new look began earlier this year, when Google’s designers convened in New York to begin the project in a week-long sprint, the company said on its site, as explained in a post on the Google Design blog that goes in-depth on the new visual identity.
Among the goals: The new logo had to work well in constrained spaces and maintain consistency across many products. And it had to be fresh; several ideas didn’t make the cut, Google said.
“We started by distilling the essence of our brand down to its core — four colours on a clean white background — and built it back up,” the company said.
“Stickies were stuck, pins were pushed, and beziers were animated. With the cutting room floor littered with hundreds of hours of design work, we set out with a few directions that excited us.”
The end result is a logo that departs from a style that existed even before Google became a publicly traded company in 2004. Some of the small details include tweaks to Google’s four colours so they stand out even if combined within a single letter, G, used on mobile devices. The letter e at the end is slightly tilted, a trait carried over from the old logo. There’s also a new set of dynamic dots in the four basic colours, which move during transitions or interactive actions. Hundreds of employees were involved in the process.
Sans serif, which eliminates the small flourishes at the end of lines within a letter, is becoming the de facto standard for corporate typefaces. Yahoo! unveiled a new logo in 2013 without serifs, and other companies such as Apple haven’t had serifs for years. Facebook never had them, but it redesigned its logo in July for the same reason as Google — readability and scalability.
“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),” the company said.
Google is looking for new ways to ensure that its products reach mobile users as consumers increasingly pick up smartphones, tablets, wearable devices and other gadgets when they want to access digital services, such as video, messaging, maps and email.
The logo redesign follows an even bigger shift in the company’s structure. Google last month unveiled a plan to break out its main web operations from ambitious new endeavours such as the Google X research lab and Calico, which seeks to extend human lives. The new parent company will be called Alphabet.
Google has made small tweaks to its logo over the years. It once included an exclamation point at the end — and used to have a green G instead of blue. Still, the basic design hasn’t changed much since 1999.
“They’ve almost taken a step toward Sesame Street with this change,” said Allen Adamson, chairman for the North America region of Landor Associates, a branding firm. “It feels far less corporate and far more friendly. And I think for any tech brand, the friendlier and more approachable it can be, the better — because it just feels easier to use.”