For the first time in 16 years, Google has a major design upgrade to their branding. And the roll out will affect you in more ways than one!
The search giant – and default search verb for many – isn’t just a search giant anymore. Google now makes operating systems for laptops, smart phones, home products and even watches. They are creating driverless cars. They’ve mapped the planet, even down to your local neighbourhood. They’re mapping the solar system too (maybe a little further away from your neighbourhood!) Their reach into other, diverse, markets started years ago. Google went from being how we found cat memes on the interwebs to the core infrastucture of our digital lives.
But that serif logo was always a constant – until now. Gone are the serifs at the end points of each letter, and ushered in is a new sans-serif set of letters, created in a new typeface called Product Sans. The name hints at one of the fonts main strengths, that of scalability. Given that Google makes products now, having a consistent design across all such products is key to brand uniformity. Sans serif fonts scale much better than serif fonts, so can be used at a small size (on a watch face, for example) or scaled up (to fit on a monster TV) and still give a consistent, legible look and feel. Keeping with the familiar colour scheme also helps reinforce the brand.
But one major departure from previous branding is that Google have, like many companies, moved away from a paper-first, static logo to a dynamic, animated feature that is only possible on screens of devices. When Google search is asked to perform a task, the letters transform into dots that rotate and orbit with life. When you talk to Google, these dots become a waveform, mimicking your speech pattern. The brand interacts with you on a new, personal level.
Whilst this new branding exercise isn’t revolutionary in function, it is a decent update to a company that most people already know and use. It is tasteful, flexible and very much from Google’s own DNA. Looking at the old version, it is easy to see that an update was certainly due.