Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Google Has a New Logo

I’m sure this is the first you’re hearing of this — I’m always breaking the news, aren’t I? — so it’s really important that I get this critique right. Google’s new logo is like taupe paint, Virgin Cola, or the “modern art” that hangs in the waiting room at a dentist’s office: it’s inoffensive to the point of being bland. It’s almost a generic redesign: take the existing logo and typeset it in a geometric sans-serif, dust your hands, and call it a day.

Google makes a pretty big deal about the font they’re using, too:

In tandem with developing the logotype, we created a custom, geometric sans-serif typeface to complement the logo in product lockups and supporting identity materials. We call it Product Sans. The typeface design takes cues from that same schoolbook letter-printing style, but adopts the neutral consistency we’ve all come to expect from a geometric sans serif.

The logotype is decidedly not custom – it looks an awful lot like Red Rooster’s Relish Pro, though the tail on the lowercase g is longer on Google’s version. The sans-serif they’ve come up with to brand each of their products looks more custom, but it’s also a bit of a Frankenfont: the uppercase M looks like it’s straight out of Univers, while the alternate lowercase a looks a lot like Proxima Nova’s very distinctive a. Some of the other letters — the p, the s, and the c, in particular — look quite a lot like Avenir. It’s not bad; it’s just not very pretty to my eye.

There are plenty of other components to Google’s new identity, too. I absolutely love the animated dots that Google has come up with to communicate ways of interacting with different features:

A full range of expressions were developed including listening, thinking, replying, incomprehension, and confirmation. While their movements might seem spontaneous, their motion is rooted in consistent paths and timing, with the dots moving along geometric arcs and following a standard set of snappy easing curves.

These dots are joyous. In a screenshot, they’re dull and lifeless, but the animation that Google’s designers have conjured makes them feel alive.

Keep your eyes peeled on Brand New, too; their review will be posted tomorrow morning.