Google have been doodling…

googleYes, yes I know it’s the design story de jour, but it’d be awful remiss of me to let the rebrand of one of the most influential companies in my generation’s lives go without commenting.

It’s not that I don’t like the new logo – I mean granted it’s not entirely dripping in inspiration, but I just don’t think it’s Google.

It’s a clunky typeface which I can’t help but feel isn’t kerned very well, and the heavier weight of the new typeface probably contributes more to that impression optically. It’s just too dense. Google of yesterday had an airy lightness to it, an openness which represented a key facet of Google’s corporate identity as a new moon-reach company of the future.

The new logo’s heaviness just lacks that transparent optimistic feather-light transparency. Instead replaced by something; I feel –has all the optimism of  a sullen teenager brooding in the corner frowning so deeply as to give the whole room the impression that the world could quite possibly end if you were to try and engage – and yet that isn’t the worst part!

That e – christ alive, it’s such an utterly clunking catastrophe – it totally misses the mark of being a nod to the previous incarnation; instead it just gives me the  impression that Google might have stalked Dell up a back alley only to rough it up and run away having stolen it’s corporate typeface for shits and giggles.

It’s not just that it’s a bad technically though, nor just that it no longer seems capable of symbolising the corporate culture, No. The hub of the matter, what has really upset the designer in me about this change, is Google’s total blindness to how influential it’s brand is.

Overnight in branding terms Google went from zero to ubiquitous, a brand on par with Coca-Cola, or Ford. A brand recognised by almost every human on the planet… With that level of ubiquity has to come the intelligence to understand the responsibility of being a good steward. You of course can argue that Coca-Cola and Ford have updated their logos – quite a lot in fact as younger companies – but the point was that they weren’t icons when they did that; and since then they’ve recognised the importance of key strands and features of their identities; of course they meddle, but fundamentally what you expect them to be is just what they are.

It’s easy to be glib, but as a man who grew up in the middle of the dot com boom from my perspective – in the context of my life – Google changed the fucking world – it’s brand is an icon of our age, and it just feels like this redesign has entirely failed to grasp the weight of it’s own identity and in doing so they’ve fundamentally failed to act as a steward of a global icon.

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