The History of the Google Logo

While the company now dominates the search industry, it had humble beginnings. Much the same thing could be said about their logo as well.

Who was Involved in the Google Logo Creation?

Larry Page, one of the co-founders of Google, is credited as a contributor to the initial logo’s design. Page served as the CEO of Google from 1997 to 2001 and from 2011 to 2015. Sergey Brin, another co-founder of Google, worked alongside Page to develop the Google logo’s debut design. Until 2019, Brin served as the president of Alphabet, Inc., Google’s parent company.

The next iteration of the Google logo was designed by Ruth Kedar, an artist and designer who was selected by Page and Brin during a competition to find the company’s next graphic designer. The Google logo version designed by Kedar was used as Google’s official logo from May 31, 1999, to September 1, 2015.

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When was the Logo First Made?

The original Google logo was launched on September 15, 1997. It appeared prominently in the top-center of the Google home page, in the same position where you can still view the current logo version today. The company used that version of its logo until September 27, 1998. Page generated the original version of the Google logo using GIMP, an open-source graphics editor. It featured mainly primary colors arranged in a folding layout.

How Often was the Logo Design Changed?

The Google logo has undergone several design changes in the more than two decades of the company’s history. One of the characteristics of the logo that has always remained the same throughout its numerous updates is the general format of only including the text of the company name. All of the official versions of the Google logo over more than 20 years have remained sans any illustrations or other graphics.

After the launch of the co-founders’ initial logo design, the next version appeared on September 28, 1998. The changes included the use of Baskerville Bold font and a different combination of colors. The “G” in that version was green.

The next version of the Google logo was used from October 30, 1998, to May 30, 1999. This version mirrored Yahoo with the use of an exclamation mark. The “G” in that version was blue.

Then, another version of the logo was created with the Catull typeface and no more exclamation mark. This version lasted from May 31, 1999, to May 5, 2010.

From May 6, 2010, to September 18, 2013, the Google logo featured flatter letters with slight changes to the primary color hues. The spacing and general layout of the letters in the logo remained the same. The next logo version flattened the letters even further and eliminated a slight shadow outline surrounding the letters. This version lasted from September 19, 2013, to August 31, 2015. Since then, Google has used Product Sans, its proprietary typeface, in its current logo design.

Most Recent Change

The current version of the Google logo has been in use since September 1, 2015. The most recent iteration of the Google logo incorporates the company’s own font design while sticking with the primary color combination of the previous version. Google’s current logo design is mainly distinguished from its previous version by the typeface and letter spacing. Google has not released any plans since then to modify the current version of its logo in the near future.

Notable Trends &  Significant Changes

Along with Google’s rapidly increasing profits came more resources to hire graphic designers and artists to design its logo. This included investing in the creation of its own proprietary typeface designs, which feature prominently in the most recent versions of its logo. One of the more distinguishing hallmarks of Google’s logo is the use of the company’s own typeface design because the basic primary colors of red, yellow, blue and green all appeared in various combinations across all updates of its logo.

The fact that Google’s logo is currently one of the most iconic and universally recognized logos should come as no surprise after Google’s meteoric rise to tech dominance. One of the graphic designs and marketing choices that contributed to the widespread recognition of the Google logo was the creation of Google Doodles to commemorate major events, holidays, famous birthdays and awareness campaigns. Google Doodles are festive or funny modifications to the Google logo. They typically retain the Google name in their design but may drastically alter the typeface and include illustrations for the special occasion. The first Google Doodle was designed by co-founders Page and Brin in honor of the 1998 Burning Man Festival.

Subsequent to the release of the initial Google Doodle, Page and Brin utilized outside contractors to modify versions of the logo into commemorative Google Doodles until they settled on their current renowned Google Doodles designer. In honor of Bastille Day in 2000, the Google co-founders tasked Dennis Hwang, an intern and budding graphic designer at the time, to design a new version of the Google logo for the holiday. That launched the beginning of Hwang’s tenure as the head Doodle designer for Google, a position that he maintains to this day.

Related: How to trademark your logo

Final Thoughts on the Google Logo

In sum, the iconic Google logo has been revised multiple times since its initial launch on September 15, 1997. The co-founders of the company were intimately involved in the design process of the logo in Google’s early days, but they later relied on expert designers, such as Kedar, to update and modernize the logo in subsequent versions.

The Google logo retains its iconic status and continues to be recognized around the world partly due to the company’s relatively consistent design updates. Google reserved its most drastic and timely graphic design updates for its Google Doodles, which Google graphic designer Hwang continues to oversee. This marketing strategy served to preserve the overall look and feel of the Google logo in terms of public recognition without restricting Google’s design creativity and relatability to current events.

Xavier Morales, Esq.

About the Author:

Xavier Morales, Esq.

Mr. Morales founded his trademark law practice in January 2007 with the goal of providing intellectual property expertise to entrepreneurs and businesses around the country. Since then, he has filed more than 6,000 trademarks with the USPTO. You can learn more about Xavier here.

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