I'm pretty tired of hearing people complain about Google's new logo. Whether it's a cultural correspondent on The New Yorker, an aging Emmy-winning art director, a self-dubbed "opiniated typographer", or a crudely snarky BuzzFeed article, every attention-seeking nobody is ready to jump on the "hate-the-logo" bandwagon in hopes of internet fame.
As a designer, I'll say I love the new Google identity. Key word: identity. Google announced a new brand identity, not a logo! Let me define the difference between those:
brand identity (n.)
The visible elements of a brand (such as colors, design, logotype, name, symbol) that together identify and distinguish the brand in the consumers' mind.
Recognizable and distinctive graphic design, stylized name, unique symbol, or other device for identifying an organization.
What does that mean? The logo is a mere cog in the huge machine of branding. It's just a mash of the new, brighter official colors in the new font, Product Sans, written to spell out 'Google'. You must look at the big picture to understand the significance to that puzzle piece.
To cut the metaphors, the new Google logo isn't the tech giant jumping board another wave of generic sans-serif logotypes among young startups (the rise of which they pioneered with Google Fonts & Material Design–I'll come back to this later). The Google logo is a symbol of some of the things that define Google: simplicity, creativity, and playfulness. The logo symbolizes the foundational idea in technological innovation that to build an idea, one must build the simplest iteration first and scale from there–the very idea that built Google from being incorporated in a garage in Menlo Park to the empire now called Alphabet. Thus, they chose the logo that produced the smallest file size possible. The logo symbolizes the Google's long-standing corporate motto, "Don't be evil," with it's childish, do-good look. Most obviously, the logo includes the tilted 'e'–symbol of Google's unconventionalism.
It's remarkable to think in the age of minimalism and flat design, people wouldn't think to look in the white space before judging a logo. That being said, now for a designer's defense of the logo itself. I'll attempt to address all the qualms I've seen so far:
What Google has here is not a new logo. As Geoff Cook and Min Lew from Base said, "What is clear is that the new identity is not about a logo but rather a smart system-a visual language." I'm not alone in appreciating the new logo; in fact there are many of us–especially within the design community–but it seems our voices are drowned out by the more clamorous dissidents. Just a few designers opinions below:
- "...they've modernized the logo in a way that feels very true to who they are and what they stand for.", Debbie Millman
It seems consensus–at least among designers–that this is a genius identity built around a brilliant logotype. Ultimately, the knee-jerk reaction to any change is aversion, and that may explain the widespread dismay with the new Google logo. Regardless, whether you like the Google logo or not, chances are you'll still use it.