Interesting facts about the evolution of the Google Logo

Just Google it! That’s not just someone else talking to you, that’s the voice inside your head every time you need answers to anything from something as minor as the definition of a word to searching about Covid-19 symptoms or how to sleep better?

In a nutshell, the Google logo is now perpetually a part of our everyday lives and we take a look at it multiple times a day. Research indicates that an average person may see the Google logo about 30 times a day for varying reasons. If you’re middle aged or even someone who was born in the early 90’s you probably would have seen the stages of the Google logo evolution which is worth discussing. The history of this renowned logo is something that designers should pay close attention to and learn from, in their present and future projects.

Google and the Google logo: The timeline

1996: The beginning of Google

The journey of Google began in 1996. Ever heard about parents giving their child a second name? Ironically, Google wasn’t the first name assigned to the search engine by Lary Page and Sergey Brin. Surprised? Well, if you think that’s astonishing, think about a search engine by the name of BackRub! That’s exactly what the engine was first called, owing to its function of browsing the internet’s back links. Gives me a shiver!

Original Google Logo

1997: the name that changed the game

Finally the name Google, inspired from the Latin word Googol meaning 10 to the power 100, was coined by the partners which eventually led to the creation of the first Google logo.

History of Google logo

From here onwards began the journey of the Google logo design itself. Let’s be honest about this and avoid any flattery here: the first original Google logo would have been far from an inspiration to any designer, fresh or experienced nor would it be worth mentioning when speaking about exemplary logos or designing.

Google Logo Design

However, let’s cut Page and Brin some slack since the initial Google logo design was only a tentative one by the Google duo during the time when Google was still undergoing much changes and was still a work under progress at Stanford.  

1998: The evolution begins

Finally, without much delay another Google logo was designed by either of the two founders. The design you see below which provided the framework for the Google logo design today is mostly accredited to Brin who is said to have created it using a free image editor called GIMP!

History of Google Logo

Hope this caught your eye: The original Google Logo design had an exclamation mark at that time (well, there’s an exclamation mark of our own on this fun fact)! Rumor has it, this Google symbol was following the search engine which was in its prime at that time, Yahoo!

1999 to 2010: A friend’s helping hand

The original Google logo did not receive a round of applause (figuratively speaking), thus Page and Brin turned to a friend, Ruth Kedar for her services as a designer who by the way was also part of Stanford’s art faculty!

Kedar conceptualized the Google logo design, creating logos with diverse concepts. She fired the exclamation mark permanently, used images like a magnifying glass (as a Google symbol) to make the role of Google prominent as a search engine, which was justified in its era, considering that Google doesn’t really need to be on billboards and standees.

The following Google logo designs were Kedar’s originals:

  1. The Chinese Finger Trap: this, according to the designer herself was Page and Brin’s favorite amongst all the designs she created due to the design element that joins the two Os illustrating a Chinese finger trap.

    Google Symbol

  2. Right on target: the next of the Google logo generation was a design that portrayed the accuracy of Google as a search engine. Using the Catull typeface, she innovated an O to make it look like a target.
  3. Playing more with the Os: the designer didn’t stop creating more! She added contrasting colors to her new Google logo design, focusing on the Os and interloped them for a more energetic feel!

    Google Logo Evolution

  4. It’s a search engine: Kedar’s next attempt was to illustrate the purpose of Google through the Google logo design. Hence, this next version comprised a magnifying glass image, indicative of the fact that Google was a search engine. However, Page and Brin (very rightly so) were of the opinion that the design was a bit too much to take in.

    Google Logo Designs

  5. Going in the right direction: finally the Google logo design started to look a lot like the Google logo we drive inspiration from. Nevertheless as per trends the design had a more 3D effect as Kedar added some weight to the lines (pun intended) and opted for a more popping effect. Eventually, however Kedar refined her design and the magnifying glass was out of the picture! She also switched colors, swaying from her original Google logo design to exhibit that Google wasn’t your conventional search engine but had a lot more to offer.

    Google Logo Evolution

Presenting the approved Google Logo design which enjoyed its reign from 1999 to 2010!

2013: Google loses some weight

Just trying to add a fun element here. In 2013 the Google logo design was revised with a major change: the logo was flattened. No more popping effect or thick typography. The font was also made simpler as minimal design started trending but this was just the beginning of an inspirational change.

Original Google Logo - 2013

2015: The new and now!

The final stage of the Google Logo evolution began in the year 2015 when Google’s designers joined heads to craft a logo which could be a pioneer for logo trends in years to come.

Google Logo Design - 2015

Retaining the common Google logo colors (blue, red, orange, green and yellow), a new font was created called the Product Sans which gave a simpler yet more contemporary appeal to the logo. The simple font is primarily why the creative team at Google has so much scope to innovate the logo day after day according to Special days or tributes or just for fun!

Furthermore a Google symbol or responsive logo with the letter G was created as a variation to be used in mobile apps and other smaller devices.

Words of wisdom

The new version which you are so fond of today thus, did not come into being after a day or two of deliberation and scrolling references: it took two decades for the Google logo design to take the lead and raise the bar. The Google logo history gives us some food for thought: keep improving, keep learning and keep designing!

  • A Picture of Waqas D.

    Waqas D.

Waqas D. is the co-founder of the branding and website agency, FullStop™. He supercharges brands by crafting memorable logos, brand identities and engaging websites. Besides thousands of startups and medium-size businesses, FullStop has worked with likes of Microsoft & L’Oréal. View our portfolio or get in touch.

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