New Google logo: what is behind the change

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Don’t Google it now, but the world’s largest search giant has a new — wait for it — logo.

The new font for the search giant’s name includes the same colours as the previous font. But serif font is so August, 2015 — the new font is a sans-serif variety. There is also a new compact version of the logo that shows just the letter ‘G’ in the company’s red, yellow, green and blue colours.

Google unveiled the changes in a blog post last night. On Google’s homepage, a hand appears to erase the old logo and write the new one with chalk.

Google’s logo makeover is part of a trend of Silicon Valley companies simplifying their logos. “The redesign follows the same pattern of removing extra curves or detailing that Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and other peers have taken over the past few years,” said Michu Benaim Steiner, a partner at In-House International, a design and communications firm.

The decision to use a serif or sans serif font typically has to do with choosing the attributes a company wants to emphasise, according to Richard Westendorf, executive creative director at brand consulting firm Landor Associates. “Sans serif traditionally is thought of as more modern or approachable. And serif conversely more traditional, credentialed and ‘serious,’” Mr. Westendorf said.

In this case, Google is transitioning from the serif fonts from its days as a start-up in the late ‘90s, to a sans serif font just as it’s breaking into a multi-company conglomerate. Previously it wanted to highlight its seriousness, now Google promotes its approachability.

The first clue that a redesigned logo was on the way came last month when Google unveiled the letter ‘G’ block logo for its new company Alphabet.

The company says its new logo reflects the fact that its users now interact with Google from many different gadgets, compared with when the company launched as a search engine that users reached from just one type of device — their PCs.

The new logo “shows you when the Google magic is working for you, even on the tiniest screen,” the company said in a statement. “New elements like a colourful Google mic help you identify and interact with Google whether you’re talking, tapping or typing.”

The changes were on display Tuesday at Google’s Mountain View, Calif. campus as workers replaced signs with the new logo.

Not everyone loved it. Some people panned it, including on Google’s official blog post. “A major redesign of an iconic logo often triggers mass rejection almost as a reflex. So it’s not surprising that the new Google logo might cause a similar strong reaction,” says Ms. Steiner.

Google’s logo has remained basically the same — a serif font, with tweaks to the colours and shading — from 1999 until yesterday. In September, 2013, the search giant tweaked the font of its logo to make it “flatter” without the effect of the letters popping out of the screen. In the late ’90s, Google added, and then removed, an exclamation point from its logo.

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