Five days ago Google changed its logo. The change came shortly after the announcement that Google is now a part of a new holding company called Alphabet. Here’s what’s behind the design and why the change makes sense:
1. “Simplified, uncluttered, colorful, friendly”
The new logotype was simplified by moving from serif to sans-serif typeface. The look was created using a custom geometric typeface called “Product Sans”. According to Google’s designers, those easy to draw and see forms add more visual weight and help make the style more approachable.
Google’s logo has always been simple, colorful and friendly. The designers of the new logo have not abandoned these qualities but improved them. The colors at play are sequenced to help the eye move along the letterform. While the blue remains the same, the vibrancy of the green, yellow and red was adjusted to maintain saturation.
2. Serifs are best for print, sans-serifs for the Web
In typography, serifs are the small decorative lines on the letters, like the ones you see in the text you read at the moment. Serifs are easier to read in printed works. In contrast, sans-serif fonts don’t have those small features. Sans-serifs are typically used for emphasis, like the sub headings in this text. Because of their simple shape, they are also great for children learning to read.
What makes a big difference is that sans-serif fonts are better for the Web. While printed works have resolution of at least 1000 dots per inch, computer monitors’ resolution is much lower – up to 300 dots per inch. This makes sans-serif fonts the better choice for the Web. Here is a clever infographic created by UrbanFonts that explains the differences in further detail.
3. Unified, cross-platform compatible look
So far, google has struggled with unifying its brand because the logo appeared in different variations across the different applications. The new look aims to tie Google’s products together by using three simple elements: the Google logotype, dynamic four-color dots and a four-color “G” that matches the logo.
But the main reason for creating a new logo lies much deeper – serifs don’t scale well. Nowadays everyone uses different devices to browse the Web. Because of that, the logo needs to be scalable. The problem with the sherifs is that when they are scaled, they do not appear visually the same and create confusion.
4. Small size for Accessibility
Another important factor behind the design is that the sans-serif font is lightweight. The simpler shape contains less anchor points which results in decreased file size – 305 bytes now compared to ~14, 000 bytes before.
The old logo, with its intricate serifs and larger file size, required that we serve a text-based approximation of the logo for low bandwidth connections. The new logo’s reduced file size avoids this workaround and the consistency has tremendous impact when you consider our goal of making Google more accessible and useful to users around the world, including the next billion.
By using pixel-perfect scalable vector graphics as a base, Google generated thousands vector-based variants that are light in weight and are consistent in style and color across different devices.
5. Clever animation to reflect product interactivity
Last, but not least, the playful dynamic dots aim to reflect the interactivity of Google’s products. They are the moving version of the logo. The dots are used in transitional moments and indicate when Google is working for you.