If you look for news about Google’s new logo, you’re bound to find either love it or hate it reviews all over. The idea behind the redesign was to make Google more accessible as technology advances and the once plain, white canvas that comfortably housed their colorful logo is ever changing.
The three components are the logotype, the dots, and the G. The new logotype is set in a custom, sans-serif, geometric typeface that keeps the same colors as the original logo, but with the simplicity of schoolbook letter printing. While I’m all for using sans-serif, modern typefaces in many of my designs, I think their use can only go so far. Try as it might, it’s just not appropriate for everything. Some brands just need their serifs.
And I hate to admit it, but I think Google is one of them. Maybe it’s because Google is just a few years younger than me, so I’ve grown up with it. I’ve become accustomed to the traditional typeface. Those six serif letters atop a single input field were so simple, but had so much personality! And I can still remember the first time I ever used the search engine. How revolutionary it was. How clean and functional the search was, without being bogged down by all the news that Yahoo wanted to share with you, or the results that Jeeves of Ask Jeeves retrieved that weren’t even kind of what you were looking for.
Rebranding can do a lot for a company, but it just seems like this is a step back for Google. The old logotype was solid,trustworthy and strong. While the idea was to keep with the quirky, simple, approachable identity, it feels more like the trusted professor at your university was replaced with his much younger predecessor who is fresh out of college himself and is more interested in being your friend and probably playing hacky sack with you than being your mentor. It’s just hard to take either of them seriously.
I agree that some updates needed to be made to keep up with technology, and I do believe that the dots are a nice addition, but I just can’t get behind the typeface change. In our mostly sans-serif world, it is nice to be able to rely on the serifs to keep us grounded. Google used to be one of those grounding serifs, but now just seems to blend in with the rest of the modern world.
When thinking of some of the more well-known rebranding flops, such as Pepsi and Gap, where companies either slapped a sans-serif typeface onto their stuff and called it a rebrand or made their brand a little TOO basic, has made me wonder if this new brand identity will really stick or if Google will have another go at this rebranding thing and step back to basics.
Pepsi reportedly spent $1 million on their latest logo, and the backlash was horrible. The branding remains though, as does the fun that the internet has had with it (see example below).
The same goes for the The Gap. Their unveiling of their new logo was so bad that they immediately withdrew the new design and went back to old reliable.
I’ve played this over and over in my head, trying to figure out exactly why the new logo is so unsettling, and what maybe I would have done differently in this rebranding. But the only answer I can seem to come up with though is to leave it the same more or less. I just believe this is one of those logos that can stand the test of time, and doesn’t need to be tampered with. What are your thoughts?