What, no serif? Three designers assess the new Google logo
Social Media Marketing

What, no serif? Three designers assess the new Google logo

The new Google logo popped up in front of my eyes this morning and immediately I felt affection for the previous logo. The Germans probably have a name for that - something between sehnsucht and weltschmerz – or do I mean a variant of the French déjà vu?

google-1Anyhow, I suppose I’ve seen the Google name on a screen hundreds of thousands of times, if not millions. A change of logo is a small thing in the rich brocade of life but its arrival was notable enough to shoot to the top of the Techmeme news aggregator. The Google blog announcing the new logo and related “identity family” for use across devices attracted almost 9,000 comments within a day. Why do these brand logos affect us so much, I wonder. And, more importantly, is the new Google logo any good? I asked three of my favourite designers for their thoughts.

“My first impressions are that this is brand evolution not revolution,” says David Watson of independent design agency Trebleseven.

“As a brand known for changing its appearance at a drop of a hat, when I first saw the new logo on a colleague’s screen I thought it was another ‘Google’ adaption to celebrate a date or occasion. Everything about the redesign makes sense - clean, simple geometric sans serif, clearly legible to work on small device screens etc. The new ‘G’ device, dots and icons work well and colours are retained on brand. The design / logotype is a definite improvement from the outdated serif version but ultimately this redesign is hard to get excited about. It will be interesting to see if the redesign / brand has synergy with the holding company Alphabet?”

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Firuzé French of the digital marketing agency agent3 commented on the dropping of the serif logo.

“Some brands become ingrained: the Google logo is the first thing I see when I click on a new tab. They might have shot themselves in the foot with the Google doodle of a hand chalking up the new logo; it immediately makes you think of it as childlike, but Google is always talking about simplicity for their users and their new logo embodies simplicity through calculated thought.”

“A new brand launch in the wake of Alphabet parent company announcement is pivotal and I wonder how much time, how many years even, if might have been in the offing. I would give it a B- for first impressions thanks to that doodle, but after I saw the video with the rationale behind it I’d give it an A+, as would a lot of designers I've spoken to.”

“Serif fonts are more widely used now thanks to the advances in web fonts, and work for readability on screen, for example in iBooks. But sans serif is suitable for logos if a brand wants to appear friendly. In terms of trends we’ve seen skeuomorphism turn into flat design and then material design, and we’re on the cusp of seeing serif fonts for logos, so this is Google being different and branding at their own pace.”

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IDG Connect designer Matt Vickers agreed that this was Google going against the design trend.

“At first I just wondered why a company like Google wants to reinvent its logo so often as there have been several minor changes in recent years. There were the first ones then the drop shadows and the shaded font… I kind of preferred the old serif font and the new one is a bit childlike. But I always prefer what I know to start with and I’m sure in a couple of months I’ll like it. They know what styles people like today and they intentionally buck the trend.”

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Editorial Consultant for IDG Connect

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