We all know that Google is far from being a conventional company. In fact, the founders themselves stated this in a 2004 letter from the company’s securities registration form “Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.”
What initially started as a search engine invented by two friends in a Stanford college dorm room eventually became the company that dominates most aspects of online and offline life. As a result, it is no wonder why the logo’s history is as rich an interesting as the company’s. Here are ten amazing facts about Google’s Logo Design History.
The Logo Initially Had an Exclamation Mark
Many of you might not remember this, but way back before Google became one of the biggest companies in the world, the company’s logo had an exclamation mark between 1998 and 2010. Although you might think the punctuation sign was meant to represent the excitement of exploring the wonders and vast knowledge of the internet through the simple push of a button, the reasoning behind the design choice was much simpler.
In fact, it was a deliberate move from the founders to mimic the Yahoo! Logo, which at the time was one of the top players in the tech market. Since Google has long surpassed its initial competitor in terms of reach, sales and influence, it is no wonder why the company deemed the exclamation mark redundant and dropped it altogether.
The Pre-Launch Logo Was Created in Microsoft Word
The company’s first ever logo was created in Microsoft Word, a fact that will surely amuse professional web artists and people interested in the Google’s logo design history. In the founders’ defense, the logo was actually created when the project was still in the research stage, so they never went public with it. Fortunately for our eyes and the company’s sake, once they decided to launch the project for public use, Sergey Brin created a better design using the open-source image editing software GIMP.
Google’s Logo Designer Wanted an Unconventional Design
But the true creative force who came up with the original design of the logo was Ruth Kedar. According to her, she wanted a simple, played down design, as to suggest that it was not even designed: ‘’It was playful and deceptively simple. The design subtle as to look almost non-designed, the reading effortless.’’
Google’s Initial Logo Had Nothing To Do With the Current One
Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have already demonstrated their love for silly wordplay time and time again, and this appreciation can be tracked to the mid 90’s. Back in 1996, when Google was just an ambitious project, the company was called Backrub.
As a result, the logo showed a hand gently caressing a bareback. Unsurprisingly, this bizarre company name and logo choice have a story a weirdly logical explanation. The name, as well as the logo, were chosen because the program analyzed the Internet’s ‘’backlinks’’ to determine how important a website was, and how it connected and related to others.
Realizing that this name was not good enough, they decided to change it. In a weird turn of events, the current came from a Stanford graduate named Sean Anderson. He suggested “googolplex” during a brainstorming session, and when he went online to check if the domain was free, he accidentally typed ‘’google.com’’ instead of “googol.com”. The group liked that name better and have since stuck with it.
The Google Logo Was Not Centered Until 2001
Another fact that might surprise you (because let us be honest, who notices these things?) is that the logo was not centered until 2001. We do not know if this was a deliberate design choice that reflects the founders’ playfulness or love for unconventionality or an honest rookie mistake that stuck around. Nevertheless, in 2001, the company’s designers finally got around to centering the logo, which had a slight bias to the left-hand side.
The First Google Doodle Was a Burning Man Stick Figure
The first Google Doodle, now used to celebrate human achievements and historical events, was an out-of-office message displaying a burning stickman figure behind the second “o”.
While the thought of the now biggest search engine in the world announcing a breakthrough their logo is quite amusing, this happened back when Google did not actually exist as an official entity and a mere two years after they built the technology at Standford. Google was officially incorporated as a company a week later. As a result, probably sensing the chaos and responsibilities that will follow, the founders decided to spend the last week of August 1998 at the Burning Man festival in Nevada.
The Logo’s Design Was Simplified As The Company Grew
In the past few years, many multinational companies changed their logos and adopted simpler designs. Obviously, Google followed this trend, and in 2013, the company implemented a couple of typographical changes. The designers decided to increase the brightness of the logo and gave it a flat look by removing their famous drop shadow. But not all people were pleased by the revamp, some of them regretting that the logo lost its playfulness in favor of a blander look.
Each Color of The Google Logo Represents Something
The company’s logo contains four colors: three primary colors (red, blue, yellow) and one secondary (green). This color selection was deliberate, as each color stands for a principle that Google values. The red, blue and yellow represent the colors that are common in computer use as nature. The “L” represents originality, innovation, and uniqueness, as well as the company’s desire to break all rules and take unconventional approaches to solving problems.
Google’s Latest Logo Is Inspired By Its Parent Company
For its newest logo, Google created an in-house font called Product Sans. The font’s visual characteristics consist of a lack of shadow and high contrasting colors. Google probably adopted this new font in the hopes of creating a modern logo, a design philosophy which was implemented by other companies such as Motorola and Microsoft. But a more likely reason is that Google wanted its logo to resemble the logo of their parent company, Alphabet.
The 2015 Redesign Is the Biggest Departure in Logo Continuity
The last logo, which was implemented in 2015, is probably the biggest departure from the original logo since the company decided to remove the exclamation mark. Since Google buys one company per week on average, the company wanted its new logo to reflect its extended family and still increasing reach in a variety of tech sectors.
In just 20 years of existence, Google has slowly entered all aspects of society through innovation and creativity. It could be argued that they have more impact on our lives in such a short time span than other companies who have been around for longer. Its long, rich history is full of interesting events that both history and tech buffs will surely enjoy. Make sure to read through this article, and you will find out all sorts of amazing factoids about the company’s logo.
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