Google uses its 'g' for design

Google can be tight-lipped when it comes to talking about its technology so it is refreshing that it does more to undo its secretive ways when it comes to design.

Its users may have spotted that the small icon in their browser next to the URL – known as a favicon - has undergone a nip and tuck, it’s first in fact in over eight years.

The blue lower-case ‘g’ of ‘Google’ has emerged because the company wants its icons to scale better to new platforms like Apple’s iPhone and other mobile devices.

Google web designer Michael Lopez said Google has unveiled not just a new favicon, but also a whole new set of logo-based icons that hang together as a unified set.

Over 300 permutations were tried, some of which Google has released, in a “rigorous” design process that was “much harder than we thought at first.”

The process had to be creative because, as Lopez admitted, “we don’t really have a symbol that means Google,” making the Google logo and the letters within the main inspiration.

“We wanted something distinctive and noticeable,” he wrote in a blog post, co-authored by Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products & user experience.

“So we aimed toward transparency or semi-transparency, so the image would have a more distinctive noticeable shape than just a block.

“We wanted something that embraced the colorfulness of the logo, yet wouldn't date itself.”

From the permutations released, it's clear the 'block' design fails to clearly convey the Google brand, as does a single coloured 'G' even when a lower case 'o' is added.

In fact, observers say the latter approach comes close to resembling the ubiquitous ‘Go’ box seen at the side of any search tab, and forms the name of Web-based and offline companies.

However, there’s no guarantee that the current favicon will be Google’s definitive one, as the company is calling for other doodles which optimise its brand on mobile devices.

“By no means is the one you're seeing our favicon final; it was a first step to a more unified set of icons,” Lopez said.

“We really value feedback from users and want to hear your ideas that we may have missed. If you have your own notions about the Google favicon, please send them to use. We'll do our best to work them in, and maybe your idea will be the one that people see billions of times per day.”




12th June 2008

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