Messing with the logo | How does Google get away with it?




You’ve probably noticed how Google brightens up our day from time to time with one of it’s cheery or educational customised logos.  Google calls these illustrations “Doodles”, and the artists who create them are “Doodlers”.  Today they are celebrating the life of Mary Seacole, and are using the image shown top left.


Not many brands could get away with messing with their logo like this on a regular basis – so how come Google can?


Firstly, it’s to do with context and familiarity.


We visit the Google page a gazillion times a day, and we know what we will find when we get there: logo, box, white space.  The google logo and search box are etched in our consciousness, so we still see “Google” even when it has changed completely beyond recognition, which as you can see from the pencil designs, sometimes happens.


If we saw a bus shelter poster featuring these pencils, would we still recognise them as Google?  Probably not.


Secondly, it works because it’s on-brand.  Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information, so these colourful and eclectic Doodles demonstrate the wide reach and ever evolving nature of their brand, plus their quirky won’t-fit-the-mould personality.


It’s one thing adding a seasonal sprig of holly to your logo or covering it in goo for Halloween, but if you are considering playing with typeface, colour, proportions or other key elements on a temporary basis, be warned: you need a rock solid visual identity, strong brand awareness and a clear message strategy before you play this game.



Meanwhile, I’m resisting the temptation to draw googly eyes in the double “o” in my surname name.



Leave a comment