4 Creativity Lessons from the Google Logo Design History
Over the years, the Google logo has changed five times and undergone countless doodles. From the changes of other artists, we can learn how to better our own work. Going through the process from amateur to professional takes time, and just because you are not there yet doesn’t mean you can’t reach your goals if you keep trying. From its own humble beginnings to the giant it is now, it’s creators have forged a long, hard path to get to the logo seen today.
Revisions Are a Necessary Part of Creation
It’s okay to experiment. A lot. Page and Brin didn’t get to be global tycoons without trial and error. When it was first launched, Brin used GIMP software to create an official logo, using three-dimensional lettering. Then in 1998, it was changed to have a shadow behind it, and an exclamation point, this time with the classic color order still used to date. As it became more popular, the pair called upon Ruth Kedar, a designer at Stanford, who designed a few versions of possible logos.
While they went unused, they kept one of the fonts and continued to use their trademark color scheme. As the evolution of Google logo continued, it changed from 3D to flat, and then into an entirely new font with softer colors. Throughout all of this, the colors were the one thing that has stayed the same.
Everything Has Not-So-Pretty Beginnings
As Brad Jones of Digital Trends said, “The very first version of the Google logo was never going to win any design awards.” Indeed, the first design was pretty awful. While it was still in its experimental phase, creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin apparently slapped it together as a placeholder. Over the years, it has gradually transformed into its most recent incarnation. This is a strong reminder that, as Hemmingway put it, “The first draft of anything is sh*t.”
But these seemingly throwaway ideas can fuel us for a lifetime. The current Google logo retains an element from the first concept: each letter was a different color. Instead of completely trashing the logo, however, Page and Brin took that element and brought it into the more decent versions that are so well-loved today.
Love your project beginnings for what they can bring you in the future, even if you want to toss it.
Spontaneity Can be Great
No other search engine has the uniqueness of the Google Doodle. The doodles are special, cherished, and now an expected part of the famous search engine. And yet, the very first doodle was, indeed, a fun, spontaneous image of the Burning Man symbol behind the second O, notifying users that the two men would be leaving the website running unsupervised while they attended the event, according to Time. This went against the grain, which insisted a business logo always be consistent. And by doing so, it blossomed into a wonderful tradition, celebrating holidays, events, and celebrities birthdays and deaths.
Don’t be afraid to try something new just because everyone says you’re doing things wrong. It could be a disaster. You could hate it. But you always have the chance to go back and make changes.
Not Everyone Will Love Your Work
Some people will hate what you produce. Some people will say it to your face. Create it anyway. Facing people’s disapproval is a part of the creative process itself, because there will always be people like them in your life. Exposure to this will lead to growing a thicker skin and make it easier to put your nose to the grind once more after rejection and criticism. No one teaches this like Google.
When they rolled out their new logo in 2015, they faced a lot of backlash and criticism from people who were so used to their old branding. But they had a reason for wanting to change it–to make it look more modern and playful–and they stuck with it, likely knowing the criticism coming their way.
When you have a vision, don’t alter it to please other people. When you make changes, make them for yourself.
Google may be a global tycoon, but that doesn’t mean that they are perfect. Far from it, as the transformation of their logo demonstrates. From the first, throwaway design to the clean look it sports today, and every doodle in between, the great teacher has much to show us.