‘Pragmatic not pioneering’: Branding experts weigh in on Google’s new logo

Australia woke up to a different looking internet this morning, with Google unveiling its new logo.

The move shouldn’t be entirely surprising given the company’s reorganisation under a new parent company Alphabet last month, as it moves into the next phase of its development.

We asked leading brand and design experts to weigh in on the new logo, and what it means for the company.

new google logo



Richard Curtis, CEO Futurebrand Australia and South East Asia: 

Another overnight unveiling of a new design update from a global tech company has seen us wake up to Google’s latest innovation, its new logo.

Watching the video, what struck me was how relatively small an innovation this new logo is when compared with Search or Maps or any number of the groundbreaking technologies created by the geniuses at Google over the years. All the while they stuck with what was often not much more than a novelty logo, dialling up its kitsch side at every opportunity, from Hanukkah to Halloween.

This latest update is a pragmatic change, not a pioneering one – simplified type, logo as interface, animated system – although it is one that will prove a more useful and valuable platform from which to brand all manner of Google-led initiatives and innovations as the company transitions to its new structure and likely rationalises its branding into a more singular, cohesive ecosystem.

Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about this latest update and believe it’s the right thing to do for the brand as the business evolves…but it’s the equally ubiquitous Fast Company that sums it up best for me in the opening line of their report: “You will very soon notice that Google has a new logo that’s sleeker, brighter, and for the first time, animated. And then, you probably won’t notice it at all.”



Vince Frost, CEO & executive creative director Frost*Collective:

Refreshing the worlds most visible brand. Google, the place and the brand the whole world looks to for answers, probably the most viewed logo in the world today.

As expected when you search for Google’s new logo on line there are dozens of reviews already up. And it seems that its well liked except for the usual cynical bastards!

I think what has been done to modernise it is a logical and an expected solution. It feels simple, clean, fresh and still feels very much google.

I am not sure that they needed to drop the serif. In a world of characterless sans serif ‘modern’ logos, a serif stood out and had own-able personality.

I am not a huge fan of the G with the full word mark but it looks good when its by itself in all the colors on mobile as an icon.



Hans Hulsbosch, executive creative director Hulsbosch:

Today, successful communication/cut through depends on how it is ‘read’ on mobile devices and Google clearly understand this. The previous Google logo did not have the clarity/strength.

I am not a fan of new iteration because it has lost the quirkiness and looks bland but it works much better on mobile devices and other (small devices) applications. Apple has changed their product name typefaces for the same reason.

I have always been an advocate of ‘simple’ and ‘bold’ and that is more pertinent now than ever before.



Clinton Duncan, creative director Designworks Australia:

The new brand mark is in clear contrast to what it replaces, yet immediately familiar thanks to a few Googley gestures; the multiple colours and a whimsically tilted ‘e’. This reveal will be met with a collective “finally” by designers everywhere, most of all the product design teams within Google itself.

The brand mark is not a bold new beginning, but the proverbial cherry on top. For a number of years, the tech giant has been iterating the design of every aspect of every product, bringing them together within a unifying system known as ‘Material Design’. As the system became more pervasive, the logo seemed increasingly anachronistic.

The story isn’t so much “my what a big change”, but “what took them so long!?”.



Chris Maclean, creative director of RE, M&C Saatchi’s branding and design business:

Google has historically been incredibly modernist in its design approach where form follows function. But as the modernists discovered, pure utility doesn’t connect with human beings – there needs to be some joy.

Google’s new logo recognises this with a system that beautifully balances utility with joy. It’s a living, breathing expression of Google, designed to interface with humans across its multiple products. It’s responsive, informative and playful in order to provide a joyous experience in every interaction. That’s important for a faceless, engineering focused mega-corporation like Google. This is design at its best.



Charlie Rose, strategist Designworks Australia: 

The new Google master brand and its visual identity system is a playful and simple evolution that reflects the multi-channel experience that Google has become. It’s a contemporary word mark that has removed the serifs to be more legible in an increasingly smaller and mobile digital world. To reduce the logo height the recognisable lower looped g had to go. The new logo may lack the previous font’s distinctiveness but the simplicity in the word mark creates flexibility for alternative applications of pattern and colour in the future.

It’s a solution that has a strong design link between Google and newly established parent entity Alphabet. By keeping the tilted ‘e’ Google keeps an important dash of personality and your eye follows the mark to the end. The revitalised colour palette is particularly pleasing, adding more punch and vibrancy while leveraging the previous palette’s equity. A refreshingly simple brand launch, that’s unmistakably Google.



Mark Clayton, head of design Affinity:

Not knowing the massive success story they had in their hands, the original Google logo was a sort of “design accident” by one of the original founders. A random serif font set in a multi-colour treatment that probably wouldn’t be out of place in a high street children’s wear store during the mid 90s.

Google polished up the hurriedly thrown-together wordmark over the years, making it seem a little more crafted, but never truly designed it.

Today sees the biggest evolvement of the logo since their early beginnings. A relatively pedestrian, yet inoffensive sans serif typeface with the traditional multi-colours still shining through. Those colours  are now so iconic for everything they do with the Google brand. And with a big shift from a mere search engine to a gargantuan global suite of products and services, the timing is right.

It’s probably a valid move forward in design terms, but I’m so familiar with their previous  logo, it feels hard to say goodbye to such an old friend.


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