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The Google Logo History: 10 Things You Didn't Know

Google is one of the most widely recognized companies in the world. It didn't take long before Google was one of the most popular search engines on the face of the Earth. It also has one of the most recognized logos in the world. What many people don't realize is that the logo has changed plenty of times over the years. If you want to learn more about the evolution of the Google logo, read on.

The Original Logo in 1997

1997 Google Logo

Google's beginning was on servers at Stanford University in 1997. It wasn't the best logo. The letters were red, green, yellow, blue, and brown. The original design developer is unknown. It is likely because nobody would want to take credit for this logo, as is really isn't very good. Luckily, it took only a year before the Google co-founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page realized that the logo was subpar, and the went back to the drawing board.

The 1998 Version

Google Logo in 1998

When there were many complaints regarding the original logo, it was decided that something had to be done. A Google's co-founder, Sergey Brin used the open source image editing suite GIMP to create a much better version. They even change the colors a bit, taking out the brown and just leaving green, red, yellow, blue, and green.

A Switch of Color and an Exclamation Point

The Google execs decided that they should do a little bit of juggling with the colors in 1999. After switching the colors around a bit, they decided to take a page from Yahoo's book. The yahoo logo had an exclamation point at the end (Yahoo!). Google decided to do the same thing. It didn't take too long before it was found to be useless and unoriginal and it was removed.

The Chinese Finger Trap

By 1999, Google was one of the most used search engines in the world. The company hired a designer named Ruth Kedar to create a logo to match the company's success. For her first attempt, she used Adobe Garamond. The logo was black and white but she didn't forget about the colors. She put Google's signature colors in between the two O's which was supposed to symbolize an infinite internet connection. According to Ruth, the heads of Google, Brin, and Page liked this logo because the colors in the middle resembled a Chinese finger trap.

Additional 1999 Concepts

The next concept proposed to Brin and Page was done in Catull, which is a serif typeface. In this design, Ruth tried to keep the idea of an infinite internet connection in the logo. She also added a detail that resembles a target. The target was supposed to meant to highlight Google's precision as one of the top search engines.

The next concept introduced in 1999 was thrown out quickly by Ruth. The two O's in the logo were broken up into the traditional Google colors and they interlocked. It was supposed to symbolize Google's reach all over the globe, however, Ruth decided that it looked too much like the Olympic symbol.

The next attempt was a bit closer to what we know today, however, this one was rejected by Brin and Page because they believed that it looked too busy. It was done in Catull font. One of the O's had a handle connected to it, making it look like a magnifying glass. It also contained crosshairs. While Brin and Page liked each concept, they didn't think that they worked well together.

Ruth went back to the drawing board and simplified her version of the logo she created beforehand. She kept just the magnifying glass and decided to put a smile inside the magnifying glass. This idea was also scrapped.

Ruth decided that what Page and Brin were looking for was simplicity. She went with the word Google in the traditional colors. She added some shading to add dimensions. This was as close to success as she had come thus far.

Ruth was told that this version just wasn't playful enough. She kept the logo basically the same, but she put one of the O's higher than the other.

The 1999 to 2010 Version

Finally, by 1999, Ruth had come up with a winner. This design remained Google's logo from 1999 until 2010. The font was changed to New Times Roman. According to Ruth, the texture and the shading of the letters are done so that it looks as though it lifts off the page using lightness and weight.

The 2010 to 2013 Version

It was decided in 2010 that the logo should be revamped a bit. Ruth decided to brighten the colors and use a more subtle shadowing. In 2013, the logo was replaced. There are still certain sites, however, where this logo is still used such as the Ghost of Google Past.

The Version We See Today

In 2013, the logo that we see today was created. The angles in the letters were softened, which make it easier to read on small screens. The shadowing was also removed, going with just a flat appearance.

The Google Doodles

Each time a person has logged onto Google since 1998, they can enjoy a Google Doodle. This is the little cartoons added to the logo. The very first Google Doodle was in honor of the Burning Man Festival. The first doodle was designed by Brin and Page to let users know they weren't in the office just in case the servers crashed. After that, the doodles were created by an outside contractor. Finally, they decided that they needed the same person creating the doodles daily, so they left it up to Dennis Hwang, who was an intern at the time. Since then, he has been responsible for the doodles.

The Best Google Doodles

Over the years, there have been thousands of Google Doodles. Some have been considered better than others. Below is a list of the top 10 Google Doodles of all time.

  • Robert Moog's 78th birthday
  • John Lennon's 70th birthday
  • Saul Bass' 93rd birthday
  • Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday
  • Pac-Man
  • Halloween 2012
  • Claude Debussy's 151st birthday
  • Charlie Chaplin's 122nd birthday
  • Les Paul's 96th birthday
  • Burning Man (The 1st Google Doodle)

Over the years, the Google logo has changed drastically. To this day, the logo gets small tweaks here and there, but nothing too drastic. Most people don't even realize the difference.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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