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Ruth Kedar On Designing the Google Logo  (View post)

TOMHTML [PersonRank 10]

Monday, January 14, 2008
6 years ago15,806 views

Great interview, thank you Phillip :)

Geoff Jones [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

Really interesting article, thank you. It is rare to find out what was going through a designers mind. My favourite part of the logo is the way the OO are slightly angled :-) Would be interesting to know what the design fee was! My guess is a lot more than the poor guy who designed the Virgin logo!

Bill Mac [PersonRank 9]

6 years ago #

<< My favourite part of the logo is the way the OO are slightly angled. >>

Wow, that is cool. Never really noticed it before. The small 'g' also follows this trait. (I think I was always aware of the angle on the 'e'.) I guess I look but I don't see.

Luca [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

the original logo is still avaible on google


google.com/google.jpg


and somewhere there is also the original xpm (damn.. i'm not able to find it now :-)) who was in the same root

OPEN GIGA [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

i like this post and great interview
thanks to share with us.

beussery [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Cool post & really great information!

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

> the original logo is still avaible on google

Some say this below was the original logo, though I'm not sure if it's true...


google.com/intl/en/logos/carlp ...

mdcgent [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

I think that's still an earlier version (the very first with the name Google?). Because if you look at backrub (backrub.c63.be/index_old.htm) you can see this logo in the 1997-1998 version, and the other is a logo from late 1998.

Thanks for the article, very interesting. And not only the o's are slightly angled, so is the 'e', all part of the Catull font as described in the article. :)

Raul Bermudez [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

She says that there were many design iterations, and that many directions were explored before they arrived at the final design. I would love to see the preliminary design ideas she present them with. Seeing what did not make the cut would give us a better appreciation of how she went about meeting their guidelines.

James Saville [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

You can angle as many letters as you want, it's still a totally rubbish logo.

beussery [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

[put at-character here]Philipp

I think it comes down to the definition of the words "logo" and "Trademark".

She designed Google's "Official Logo" & Registered US Trademark. It's description of Mark according to Trademark Registration: The mark consists of The first letter "G" is blue; the second letter "O" is red; the third letter "O" is yellow; the fourth letter "G" is blue; the fifth letter "L" is green; and the sixth letter "E" is red. The drawing is lined for the color(s) red, blue, green and yellow."
tarr.uspto.gov/servlet/tarr?re ...

I'm pretty sure, Sergey designed first logo for Google "DEMO" (c. Dec 10, 1997) seen at:
web.archive.org/web/1997121006 ...
and the first logo (as in not a trademark or "Official Logo") after Backrub according to Google
google.com/intl/en/customlogos ...

It's my understanding and also according to "The Google Story" that Google didn't have money to pay a designer at first. As a result Sergey made the "Demo" design using GIMP and also created the second Google "Alpha" logo (c Dec 1998) which includes an exclamation point like "Yahoo!"
web.archive.org/web/1998120602 ...

Then that Sergey created a third "Beta" version logo based on the "Alpha" version.
web.archive.org/web/1999012508 ...


google.com/intl/en/logos/googl ...



Also that, Larry and Sergey both created the first Google Doodle before going to Burning Man. Marissa Mayer has been quoted as saying the Burning Man design was an "out-of-office notification" in case Google went down and no one was there to fix it.


google.com/intl/en/logos/googl ...



I think the last design prior to the "Official design" is the one still seen on Sergey's homepage (G is green not blue as in Trademark).
- infolab.stanford.edu/~sergey/

Note, this logo on Sergey's hompage is googlesm.gif which is perhaps short for "Google Service Mark"?


infolab.stanford.edu/~sergey/g ...



Maybe Ms. Kedar could help clear up the confusion by letting us know if she designed any and/or all of the above?

Rudolf Schmidt [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

I've never liked the logo. It looks like something done in MS Word by a receptionist during her spare time.

John [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

This isn't a forum for critique. For those who want to express an opinion on the logo, please take it somewhere else.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Yes John, this is indeed a forum for Google-related critique, among other things, and those voicing their opinion (pro or con or in-between) are welcome here...

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Philipp's post says "reportedly using the Gimp software" but we can be certain about this.

The "Google Stickers Page"
web.archive.org/web/1999022404 ...
says "Here is our main logo full size, created using GIMP. If you want to hack on it, here is the XCF file."

I took them up on their offer, and hacked on the XCF file using GIMP. It's the one from 1998 that's on this page from backrub.stanford.edu:
web.archive.org/web/1998120602 ...

Notice how the "Google Stickers Page" and also the "Google Fan Logos" page both show a "version by Jesse Rios, which inspired the shadowing in our current logo" [i.e. the GIMP version]

So it looks like this is the timeline:

The backrub logo was used first, then a few experimental versions leading up to the first one that's recognisable as a version of today's logo. Then, after seeing the suggestion contributed by Jesse Rios, someone (probably Sergey) added the shadowing to make the 1998 version (to which an exclamation mark and then the word "BETA" were added in 1999).

Later in 1999, Ruth Kedar "refined" (not "designed") the logo. She dropped the exclamation mark, switched the typeface, changed the first G from green to blue, tweaked the shades of the colours and tweaked the shadowing, to produce a form of the logo that has stood the test of time.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Correction: I see that the switch from green to blue for the first "G" occurred before Ruth Kedar's refinements.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

> Later in 1999, Ruth Kedar "refined"
> (not "designed") the logo

I think using the word "designed", as I and Ruth did, is also valid though... like most designers, Ruth had to take into consideration previous work... of course, she did not design the first logo (unless you'd argue that the first versions weren't a "real design" :)).... so I agree you can also equally call it redesign, refinement and so on...

Eric Hausen [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

Thanks for the interview. Very interesting to hear that this was actually a contracted design, as it's pretty much universally despised in the design community and a huge blemish on Google's otherwise excellent sense of tasteful, minimalistic design. And for good reason. The typography, shading, colors – everything about it, really – is just horribly tacky. Ruth Kedar's other work is pretty decent, so how and why she created a logo that I've always assumed was the work of an aesthetically-challenged secretary discovering Photoshop filters for the first time boggles me.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

[put at-character here]Eric: it would be interesting to see a forum where other professional designers could post examples of "how they would have designed Google's logo".

Maybe her brief was that she had to use letters in different colours. If so, I reckon she did a rather good job of it.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

> as it's pretty much universally despised in
> the design community and a huge blemish
> on Google's otherwise excellent sense of
> tasteful, minimalistic design

While the logo and the homepage too may be despised in some communities I think it is a very successful design – if it makes Google look more amateurish, then that's a win for Google (as it makes the company look less like a Big Corporation Wanting All Your Data to Make Money).

beussery [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

As a fine artist and designer Officially Licensed by the CLC (200 colleges & universities, bowl games, conferences, The NCAA, Final Four and Heisman Trophy Award) I can tell you that most designs are based on some other design and that each design is unique. Phillipp is correct in that Ms. Kedar designed Google's Official Logo and Registered US Trademark. That said, it's not the first Google logo used by the company.

In terms of "branding" Google's logo is one of the most recognized because it's easy and fun. That said, there are a number of considerations to take into account when designing for the web. Unfortunately still today a lot of "web designers" still don't get it. At the time Google was poor, connections were slow, screens only displayed 256 colors and Larry insisted that only 24 words be on the page because speed of load was such an issue. Art without limits isn't practical in various media. Google's logo is a masterpiece of web design as well as branding and something Ms. Kedar should be very proud to have produced.

ILA [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

thanks for the information and great intrvw

regards

[Signature removed – Tony]

dejan [PersonRank 1]

6 years ago #

One of the ugliest and yet most recognizable logos in the world

Ed Burns [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

garbage...but ubiquitous

beussery [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Well, I guess it's true what they say. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

jock h pennywhistle [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

Any & all criticism towards the Google logo can be summed up thusly:

achewood.com/index.php?date=05 ...

Dwarg [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

I am a designer and I have to tell you every pretentious thing a designer says about the symbolism and motivation behind different designs is either: A) gibberish trying to justify the client's money being spent on them slapping stuff together until they find something that works, or B) masturbation.

"You see the red represents the blood of Christ's crucifixion while the white and gray remind us of Darwin's beard. Thus we create a juxtaposition of science and religion which enables our users eyes to find tranquility amongst turmoil. Also, the font is Gill Sans--because it rocks!"

Rob [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

If I ever use the word "serendipity" to describe a logo design, please shoot me.

I'm not all that impressed with Ruth Kedar's other work, either. Seriously, anyone that uses a drop shadow for use in an official mark has lost all credibility.

Lets not forget that Google didn't get to the position it's in now because of that logo.

[put at-character here]beussery:
If connection speed was the concern, why not go with a flat logo (i.e., one that isn't beveled with drop shadows)?

beussery [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

[put at-character here] Rob

ha... good question! :)

Even today I think the homepage is still something like 15k including the logo. When you consider Yahoo's homepage is over 50K without images, I guess the "Google Guys" decided they could splurge a little on shadows.

Honestly, I'm not sure why they decided to go with shadows and what not.

beussery [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

It seems that Roger Browne's link pretty much sums it up:

"Sherman, set the WayBack machine...
Finally, here are progressively older versions of our logo, dating back to the days before we were Google..."

web.archive.org/web/1999022404 ...

Guess we have confirmation??????

The first Google logo (not Trademark) was:


google.com/intl/en/logos/carlp ...



FYI, it's also the one on Larry's homepage:
web.archive.org/web/1999021010 ...

Missy [PersonRank 4]

6 years ago #

That is easily the most pretentious explanation for ANYTHING that I've ever seen. And I hang with wine and food snobs, so I see a lot of pretension!

Joseph [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

The logo is garbage. I don't care how successful the company is. The other samples of "design" in her portfolio are garbage too. They look like first year design student's work at best. Photoshop bevel effects? Yikes. Times New Roman? Double Yikes. If this were submitted to any real design professor, expert and professional, it would be disregarded as junk.

rykodisc [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

right place+right time+ignorant clients=only notable thing ina portfolio.

Tom webb [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

im doing a project on the design of google both webpage and its logo / identity,for my third year at university. does anyone know any good books or websites which go into greater detail into the strengths and weaknesses of googles graphic identity.any information would of great help. any thanks. Tom

Mambo [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

What are you focusing on, Tom? Are you concentrating on the branding/marketing side, or the user experience side of the design?

Maybe you can think of how Google approached simplicity in their homepage design.

Really dunno if this would be of any help, but I attempted to improve Google's UI a while back on this blog...

blogoscoped.com/archive/2006-1 ...

blogoscoped.com/archive/2007-0 ...

beussery [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Tom, "The Google Story" is the entire story of Google but it includes the type of information you want as far as decisions about design.
thegooglestory.com/

You might also check out:
[Up] blogoscoped.com/forum/120785.h ...
designobserver.com/archives/01 ...

beussery [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

& blogoscoped.com/forum/118926.h ...

Midgard [PersonRank 0]

6 years ago #

I translated this article into russian. You can read it here: mwoa.ru/comments/the_history_o ...

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Wired now has the iterations Ruth Kedar went through with the logo before deciding on the final version:

How Google Got Its Colorful Logo
wired.com/techbiz/startups/mul ...

Via: googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008 ...

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