Back in 2015, Google changed its logo. According to a Google blog post, it was to represent the new ways people interacted with Google. Think about it: Google is no longer just a simple search engine. Google is now a vast collection of sites, apps, and services accessible on your Internet-ready device.
Of course, changing a logo – or even designing your first one – is more than having a neat design. If you don’t have reliable methods or clear intentions, you might end up with plenty of critics and disappointed consumers. Or worse, you’ll end up just like Gap’s infamous logo disaster. They spent a ton of money for a terrible logo no one liked – $100 million to be exact. After facing extreme criticism, they went back with their original logo. Remember, designing or changing a logo can be costly, especially if you hire an experienced design firm.
If you’re thinking about creating an emblem or freshening up your current one, read these ten things you can learn from Google. They’re all essential things to know – and it’s not just about how they did their new logo design!
- Change is a good thing.
According to a post on Essential Design Principles to Learn From Google’s Logo by SharpSuits, Google has changed its logo many times. And as times shift, so should your business and how you represent it. Design can be as fast as fashion; what was once “in” becomes unfashionable over time. If your logo looks outdated, your potential customers may also view your company in the same way. Don’t think that aging design trends may not cause a lot of damage to your company image. In the long run, they can and will deal a blow to your success. Don’t be afraid of change in your business or change in your design.
2. A change doesn’t have to be enormous.
When looking at how Google’s logo has changed over the years, you’ll notice two things. First, the emblem always retains its red, blue, yellow, and green colors. Secondly, the font periodically changes to reflect modern design. So if you make a change, it doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul. One lesson about Google’s logo changes is that changing your logo may actually be harmful. Remember, your logo is your brand’s identity. A complete rebuild with no traces of an older, more familiar emblem may confuse customers – or even signal that your company no longer exists. Subtle changes signify that your company stays fresh and current.
3. The font is critical.
Google’s primary logo spells out the company’s name, unlike, say, Starbucks or Apple. With that in mind, Google actually created a font called Product Sans. They were that serious about the font for their new logo. And if Google is serious enough to create a new font just for their logo, you should be as serious as they are. Always keep in mind that fonts are critical because they are an aesthetic element. If the typeface looks boring, your logo might look unexciting. If the typeface is too complicated, your logo might end up unreadable. Make sure to choose a font that represents your brand and messaging well.
4. Your logo should be responsive.
Having a responsive logo means it can be placed anywhere and still be identifiable. Your business should still be recognizable whether you put your logo on a billboard or a small business card. Google accomplished this. Google can actually remove their full name and simply use the letter “G” at a smaller size. The company can do that because the font it uses and its color scheme are recognizable and associated with Google. People familiar enough with their brand will still recognize the telltale elements. Think about your own logo. What elements about it are the most recognizable? Use those for your smaller-sized logo placements.
5. Plan well.
When Google decided to change its logo, it wasn’t on a whim. Google didn’t just come up with a random design and replaced their old logo. Instead, they put together a team of designers to conceptualize and solve challenges in creating a new logo. Not only that, but they also developed the elements of the logo and instructions for using the logo in different applications and more. In short, it’s not a random, thoughtless logo; it’s something considerably well-thought-out. Do the same if you’re planning to make some changes to your own emblem.
6. Don’t change your logo for the sake of changing.
Take note that when Google changed its logo, many restructuring changes were happening in their company. At that moment, there was a point for a slight adjustment to their logo. Therefore, if you’re going to change something fundamental to your brand, you’d better have a substantial, underlying reason to do so. It can’t be just because you feel like it. Also, just because competitors or other companies are changing their logos, it doesn’t mean you have to change yours. Do a study first and see if it is absolutely vital to the success of the company.
7. Keep things simple.
An intriguing aspect of the changes in Google’s logo, aside from the changes previously mentioned, is that it kept getting simpler as time went by. Imagine, Google’s logo started as a very colorful, three-dimensional design, then went to a black logo with different design elements. The end result is now a logo that has pops of color on a plain white background. From this, you draw the conclusion that the simpler the design, the better. A simpler logo actually looks classier and more elegant. The new, flatter design of the Google logo allows more flexibility when smaller devices feature the symbol.
8. Play with your logo.
On special occasions like Christmas or Halloween, visit Google.com. The Google logo will look very different from its typical appearance and will even vary among countries. That’s the magic of Google Doodles. Digital Trends mentioned the two men responsible for Doodles were Larry Page and Sergey Brin created the Doodles in 1998 to show they were out of the office and attending the Burning Man festival. And now, Google uses Doodles to reflect world events. And they often have little to no resemblance to the original Google logo. So don’t be afraid to play with your logo to reflect local or world events. You don’t have to do it all the time, as it can get repetitive. But when done well, it’s a great way to stay top of mind with your customers. It also helps them look forward to what you have in store for them on memorable days.
9. It’s okay to be a rebel.
As mentioned earlier, the primary colors of the Google logo are blue, yellow, and red. You might be one of the many people wondering why there’s suddenly a green letter “l.” The story of Google’s logo is that designer Ruth Kedar chose to do this to show that Google doesn’t follow the rules. It’s common knowledge that Google doesn’t mind standing out from the pack, dares to be different, and tries new things. And their boldness has certainly elevated them to great heights – that’s why we’re studying their logo! So if you want your company to stand out, be like Google. Be bold and be innovative. And remember to make sure that boldness reflects in your brand.
10. You will always have critics.
When Google’s new logo came out, a lot of people didn’t like it. In fact, a lot of dissenting articles came out saying that there was something wrong with it. So how did Google respond? They didn’t. As of this writing, Google is now worth $223 billion. That only means that Google and all its services are doing very well, despite criticisms from certain people. And that also means that Google’s core audience found the changes all good. So, just because someone criticizes your business moves or logos doesn’t mean you should respond. Their criticism may not be valid. Just push on with your vision and changes, especially if they’re for the good of your company.
Ready to create a logo or change your current one? Ensure you keep these ten things in mind and communicate these to the designer you hire. You’ll avoid upsetting customers, unclearly representing your brand, and making costly mistakes. Most importantly, you’ll get a logo that will best represent your business and mission and help you stand out from the competition.
Charlotte Smith is a writer and content contributor. She’s generally interested in writing about designs.