The before and after of the Google logo change revealed today
My swell friend and fellow voice-talent Elaine Singer pinged me on Facebook tonight regarding the recently revealed Google logo change, asking “So, Peter K. O’Connell, what am I supposed to think about the new Google logo?”
It occurred to me that I really have been lax in my logo reviews. Mostly because I was of the mind that I was one of the few people I know (who aren’t graphic designers and I aren’t 🙂 ) who notice these things and have strong opinions on them. I was beginning to feel like when I was writing about logos, I was coming across as more obnoxious than usual. So I trailed off – plus this is primarily a voice-over blog with a dash of marketing and advertising thrown in.
Clearly, though, some people have been awaiting my logoed opinions. So for this post, blame Elaine.
You might have missed this announcement today, subtle as it was, with Google making the first major Google logo change in, like, 15-16 years. It’s a pretty big change for one of the world’s biggest brands (which is why it’s news).
What’s the same: The colors and the font spacing are pretty much the same (the colors might be a shade softer). The new logo is also flat, no dimension, like previous most recent Google logo. This flat logo design has been a trend in much of the tech industry’s branding coming into the past 5 years (boy, there’s a real broad brush stroke of logo analysis – don’t ask me to back it up with evidence as I have no time).
The old and the new logo layered on each other to highlight differences
The biggest difference for me: font and attitude. Going from a serif font to a sans serif font is change enough but this logo has attitude, I think. My first thought was that it was childish. Then I changed my opinion to child-like and then I settled on fun.
Fun is the attitude that this new Google logo came to mean to me. Why.
A couple of things stood out to me that made me think “fun” was the objective (in my totally subjective opinion) of the new Google logo.
Start with the second “g”. In that font, that small “g” always looks like a smile to me. In fact, for years, Goodwill took that smile to the forefront of their logo.
Then I looked at the “e”. They kept it very similar in angle to the old “e”, which really looked like a laughing “e” except in the old logo (with it’s formal Garamond-like font) the rest of the work mark’s formality didn’t make the “e” seems as fun as this new font does.
BTW, my guess is this new font, like the old one, is specially designed with it’s own name and patent- meaning it’s like a million other fonts with a millimeter of a pixel difference just so Google can, with full hubris, call the font its own. Whatevs.
Then there is the big “G” (not to be confused with General Mills‘ big “G”). To me, it seems jolly, certainly softer and more easy going (as are all the letters in this word mark) than the old logo. Note also that these are pretty straight on “o”‘s too, not angled like O’s in the most recent Google logo. Together with the rest of the letters and the colors, this all combined to make me think Google is going for the child-like wonder we enjoy when we explore the web and discover something for the first time. Child-like fun and wonder.
Now, just so you know, I’m not the only idiot that writes this kind of drivel about logos. There are hundreds of blogs tonight writing about this same topic. Many/most/all of them have much better artistic and design analysis on this logo than I can offer. And they will probably offer the insights of the company and the designers who can tell you what it’s REALLY supposed to mean (and, thereby, just how far off I am in my opinions).
But screw all them. Brand perception is all individual anyway. 100 people shown the same logo will have 100 different reactions. The designer and the marketer’s hope can only be that the majority of opinions have something positive to say about a logo (which then reflects on the brand).
I like the new logo (not love). I don’t know why in this age of high-end resolution we can have logos that has some (even a little) reproduce-able depth to them, but that’s not the trend. If they were going for fun, child-like exploration of learning new things with Google and its products, then it works.
What do YOU think of the new Google logo? And while you answer, here’s what Google thinks…
OK, so I like logos. Anyone who’s read this blog over the years knows that.
But beyond the art of it, to which I am drawn, there should also be some real thought put into a logo’s place in the complete branding of a product or service and some sound reasoning behind the change.
Often times when companies change their logo or publicly address their branding, they issue fluffy, non-sensical press releases usually written by their design agency team who have drunk their own Kool-Aid based on the content of their reasons for making the branding change (hint: the real but never stated reasons are usually about low sales, change in management or a self-inflicted catastrophe). They also craft cool videos (for which many times I am a sucker ) telling the story of the logo’s development.
In this case, Levi’s Jeans (to whom I have been a pretty loyal customer) really kinda came clean on their logo missteps over the years and laid out a very simple, straight forward case for the new branding going forward. I’m not sure there is any business category where branding is more important than clothing (maybe alcohol or perfume).
But I think when any business is thinking about how to explain the graphic part of their branding, this video shares a pretty thoughtful base upon which you might start a discussion about your own branding.
With half a year left some folks are just cruising along without taking a moment to review their marketing plans. Some other folks are now reading this realizing that they don’t HAVE a marketing plan.
All is not lost in either case.
A marketing plan is an evolving document that allows a voice-over business (well, any business really) to switch those programs that didn’t get much return or start programs that they just conceived. So whether you want to write a six-month plan or a 12 month plan, you can still impact your business right now.
What do you write? In it’s most simple form, first list the marketing channel (things like “direct mail”, “public relations”, “networking events”, sponsorship etc.)
Then write down your marketing ideas under those marketing channel columns (for example â€“ a postcard mailer to your best prospects would fall under “direct mail”). Try and be as specific as possible about the audience you are targeting (in the last example, the targeted audience is your list of best prospects).
Then plot that event and any others you conceive on a monthly calendar â€“ start with the day you want to execute your marketing. From that date, work backwards on your calendar identifying when you need to complete tasks to get all the marketing project’s elements done (for example, you’ll have to figure how long printing production will take in order to accurately hit the mail date; before you go to print, you’ll have to work with a designer, before you work with a designer you’ll want to work on a creative idea for your postcard and before that you’ll want to organize your mailing list).
You’ve just started on your marketing plan and a simple to-do list. Marketing isn’t so overwhelming when you look at it in bites, not gulps.
Of course, with any marketing activity, one of the first things you’ll want to work on is a budget, estimating via quotes from vendors who would provide the services needed to help accomplish your marketing activity.
See? There’s still time to get some excellent impactful marketing started and implemented for your business this year.
There are many things that frustrate me about the current state of radio. But one of the things that drives me the most crazy are some of the absolutely not attractive logos that radio stations come up with for their formats! The stations are probably great but what’s with these logos?!
I want YOU to send ME your least favorite broadcast (not internet or LPFM) radio station logos. I will post them here (for fun only – we’re not trying to cause problems here). Let’s try and keep them modern – these would be active radio station logos – nothing from decades past, in other words. Send your files to peter at audioconnell dot com.
These are logos that it seems somebody created on their PC or had their child create on their Etch-a-Sketch or that somebody pasted together without any professional, graphic sensibility at all. They are unworthy of the great station they represent and should be re-designed. These station very likely sound better than they look — they need better visual branding and maybe this blog post will help encourage the stations to do that – or maybe this post will be as ignored as all the others posts :).
But of course ugly is in the eye of the beholder and since it’s my blog, I will be the beholder and thus the final arbitrator of whether a radio station logo is truly unattractive enough. Maybe with some professional focus, these stations can get a logo that’s a bit more attractive – something nicer to slap on the side of the station van. So in no particular order, here we go…
Here’s a fun little break from the daily grind for you…
I want to create some t-shirts for audio’connell Voice-Over Talent to give out this summer. Obviously they are promotional and I want to feature the branding. I don’t have a million dollars to promote the logo so I have to keep the design simple to basically introduce the new branding to the world.
The following designs are for a white t-shirt although I could also do black and red as well. I just would like to see if there is a consensus on which design is most popular. So PLEASE VOTE in the comments below! Please only pick ONE. Thanks!