Why Did Google Change Their Logo?

Michael Burke, the author, has over 10 years of experience working in the Internet sector

Michael Burke

Web & Mobile Expert, Technical Director of Emerald Creative

Your company logo will often be the first thing a potential client see's, and Google's logo is seen by billions across the world every day. So it's no surprise why their new logo has caused such a stir. But what's in a logo? Michael Burke from Emerald Creative talks about the change and what your business logo could learn from Google's logo.

This week Google unveiled a brand new logo for the company, and it's the first huge change the world has seen since Sundar Pichai took over as Google CEO. In case you've been lucky enough to avoid using Google this week, here is the new logo:

This new logo comes after the announcement that Google would be turned in to a subsidiary of a brand new parent company called Alphabet, which will be run by Larry Page (the former CEO of Google). It also follows on from the last logo change which happened in 2014 when they made a huge change to their logo – moving the position of the second “g” and the “l” very, very subtly. Trust me – it did change!

As you can see even from the 2014 logo to the new one of 2015, it's a very dramatic change. Gone is the serif font of the old logo and in comes a new rounded typeface. The colours have changed slightly too, becoming more pastel-like in their appearance. The new change also brings it in to line with the “material design aesthetic” that it launched in 2014 with it's latest Android Lollipop release, and has been designed to make the company look friendly, approachable and fun.

But what does this all mean really? To a lot of people it's just some text and pretty colours. But deep down every logo you come across has an effect on the people who see it, and by pure association will develop either a positive or negative feeling towards your company and business just by glimpsing at your logo.

Lisa Simpson Meets The London Olympics

The biggest logo faux pas I've come across, and I'm sure I won't be the only one either, was in the run up to the Olympics in 2012. In a bid to promote the “youthful”, “dynamic” London that would be hosting the Olympics they released this logo:

It was meant to represent that vibrancy, the modern culture of London, and resemble the year of the games – and paid £400,000 for the privelege. However, the masses were left underwhelmed, unimpressed, and offended. And that's even without including the strange mascots Wenlock & Mandeville.

In one way, it's a good piece of art because it looks different to whoever sees it. To me, it looks like Lisa Simpson head butting her PC. There are others however with a far dirtier mind than myself who would suggest it's still Lisa Simpson performing a sex act on someone. Then there are others who, more seriously, think that it resembled a swastika. And it's also well documented that Iran threatened to boycott the Olympics as they believed that the logo spelt the word “Zion”.

But, that was the logo that was used, and it can't be denied that it was different and memorable. You can certaintly identify that logo to being part of the Olympics. And you can see how different the London 2012 logo is from the new Google logo, as both are portraying different ideas, feelings and philosophies. But how can two companies come up with logo's that are so different, and how can you create something that will do your business proud?

Case Study: The Emerald Creative Logo

When I set up Emerald Creative, I had the exact same problem when it came to designing the logo. I wanted to portray what my business was about, and I wanted it to be clean, attractive, and easy on the eye. After a few weeks of doing a bit, walking away from it, ripping it up and starting again, I came up with the following logo:

When I compare my logo to others in my industry, it is quite different. Compared to some it's quite simplistic, but that's exactly what I wanted to portray. My company's promise is simple; we don't blind our clients with science and big words that sound good but don't mean an awful lot. We are straight to the point, and to me the logo portrays this.

From talking to friends, family, and even new and existing clients, they also mention the triangle with the “E” in the corner of it. Why is it there? Well the answer is simple, and the answer always manages to get a “Ahhhh yes I see it”. The “E” is in the corner of the triangle as it means that the services that we provide to our clients form part of the corner stone of their business. We want our services to be integral to their operations and something that they can rely upon. The triangle itself represents the three core services we provided when the company was founded; websites, web applications, and mobile apps. The design of the Emerald Creative logo meets the criteria that I set out for the company to achieve, and the fact it's modern, has clean lines, smooth edges etc, means that it suits the industry we're part of.

What About Colour? Does It Matter?

It's not all about the design, the colour can also make a big difference to the person who see's it. Each colour has a specific psychological property, with red often associated with impulse buying as well as being seen as a colour of excitement and energy.

With Emerald Creative I wanted to use Green and Yellow as our main colours. Green as a colour promotes balance, reassurance, equilibrium – which I think any business who has dealt with a company building their website would sometimes be in short supply of! With this is Yellow, and this promotes friendliness, creativity and confidence. Together, they promote all the qualities that a creative web agency should have. You can find out more about the psychological effects of colours here.

So What Is In A Logo?

Well as you can see, there is a lot more to a logo than just some lines, text and a colour. A lot of thought goes in to them – and a lot of money as you can see from the London 2012 logo. While big companies like Google can afford to outsource their logo design or have a huge team of designers, a lot of other companies don't have that resource. The logo for Emerald Creative was created entirely by myself when I set the company up, and there will be a lot of companies that have done the same.

But it's easy to just throw something to the wall and hope it sticks. If you do decide to design your own logo then show it to people first before you commit to anything. It can be demoralising sometimes to hear negative feedback about something you're proud of, but that's not as bad as a potential customer passing you by because they judged your logo to be too amateurish.

Finally, remember the colour is all important too. A whole brand can be based off an entire brand, as well as be the final touch to a brand, so make sure the colours that are used promote the values of your business.

If you have found this article useful then please share it with someone who may also find it as useful as you did. Also, if you're struggling with trying to design a new logo for your company, why not contact Emerald Creative? We can help you create something amazing that will definitely set your business apart from your competitors.

Posted in #TopicalThursday, Business, Marketing on 3rd September 2015

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