Last Updated on September 28, 2023
Google needs no introduction. This multinational technology giant has been in existence for less than three decades. However, the company has tremendously revolutionized the digital space over that short duration.
Google’s history dates back to September 4, 1998. The company was founded by Stanford University PhD students Larry Page and Sergey Brin. It’s headquartered in Mountain View, California.
Although popularly known for its eponymous search engine, Google deals in a wide range of internet-related products and services, including cloud computing, online advertising technologies, and artificial intelligence.
Some of its key offerings include the email service Google Mail (popularly known as Gmail), the web browser Google Chrome, the video-based social networking platform YouTube, the cloud computing service Google Drive, and the productivity services Google Docs and Google Sheets.
There are also the time management service Google Calendar, the mapping and navigation service Google Maps, the instant chat services Google Meet and Google Duo, and the language translation service Google Translate.
Besides achieving incredible commercial success, Google has also grown into one of the world’s most valuable brands. The company belongs in the Big Five – an exclusive club comprising American information technology giants. Other Big Five members include Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, and Apple.
But despite its success and brand value, Google has implemented relatively few changes on its logo since the company’s establishment. This post tracks down the evolution of Google’s logo as well as its symbolism.
Google Logo Appearance
Google is one of the few successful companies that don’t use a graphic image for their logos. Google’s logo is based purely on the company’s brand name.
The wordmark is executed in lowercase, except for the first letter “G.” Each letter in the word sports a distinctive color, which is probably the only design element that makes the logo outstanding.
Google uses five different colors on its logo. Four of these are used for the wordmark while the fifth one forms the background color where the wordmark appears in.
The two letter ‘gs’ are in a bright shade of blue while the first letter ‘o’ and the letter ‘e’ are in red. Both letters sport a bright red color, although the color used for the letter ‘e’ looks a little bit darker.
The second letter ‘o’ is in yellow while the letter ‘l’ is in green. Lastly, the entire emblem commonly appears in a white or transparent background.
However, while the five colors for Google’s wordmark never change, the background color may change occasionally depending on where the logo is executed. That’s especially true considering that most Google products are digital.
Google uses a font called Product Sans on its logo. It’s a contemporary geometric sans-serif typeface designed by Google on September 1, 2015, exclusively for its branding needs. The font was developed based on pre-existing typefaces, such as Futura and Tempo.
Note: this font is NOT under an open source license, unlike other Google fonts.
Google Logo Symbolism
Symbolism of the Wordmark
As we’ve already indicated, Google uses its brand name as the only recognizable element of its logo. The wordmark serves the crucial purpose of drawing attention to the company.
Where did the term “Google” originate from?
‘Google’ is a misspelling of “googol,” a Latin term that loosely translates to ’10 to the 100th power.’ In numerical form, that’s 1 followed by a hundred zeros.
The main idea behind choosing the name was that the Google search engine was designed to deliver on two major areas where other search engines failed – search speed and search volume. Apparently, the search engine could pull up thousands of search engine result pages (SERPs) within split seconds of running a search term.
Symbolism of the Colors
Blue is the color of peace, harmony, and serenity, while red stands for passion, ambition, and energy. Yellow connotes happiness, warmth, and youthfulness, while green is the color of nature, growth, and productivity.
It’s logical to imagine that Google had most of these qualities in mind while choosing the colors for its wordmark. But it’s also likely that the company simply chose the colors for their aesthetic appeal.
Google Logo History
When Google was founded, the company was originally known as BackRub. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin chose the name “BackRub” as the primary function of their search engine was to search through the internet’s backlinks.
As Google was originally called BackRub, it’s not surprising that the company’s first logo was based on the same name. The logo was quite simple and straightforward. It simply featured the image of the back of a hand, with the wordmark “BackRub” placed over the design.
The hand image was in grey while the brand name was in red. Both colors were relatively dull but still fairly legible. Google used this logo until September 1997.
1997 – 1998
Google conducted the first upgrade to its logo on September 15, 1997. Well, this was not really an upgrade but a total overhaul of its previous emblem.
After changing its name from BackRub to Google, the company decided to use a logo based on its new identity. The new logo featured the word “Google.” The logo used an array of colors, ranging from red to blue, green, and yellow. Each letter was outlined in shades of either red or white.
A short-lived logo emerged in 1998. The new emblem featured the same color scheme as the current logo. But the colors were a bit jumbled up.
The first letter “G” and the letter “l” were in green, while the first letter “o” and the letter “e” were in red. Yellow and blue were used for the second letter “o” and the second letter “g,” respectively. Google used this logo from September 28, 1998, to October 29, 1998.
1998 – 1999
Google introduced yet another logo on October 30, 1998. This logo differed from its previous iteration mainly on the color hues and the inclusion of an exclamation mark.
Both the letter ‘gs’ were now in blue, while a blue exclamation mark appeared at the end of the wordmark.
1999 – 2010
On May 31, 1999, Google unveiled yet another logo, this time without the exclamation mark. The new logo was based on the Catull typeface. It was used until August 31, 2010.
2010 – 2013
During this period, Google’s logo became cleaner, without the projected shadows that characterized its previous versions. The lettering was now flattened, making it more legible.
2013 – 2015
On September 19, 2013, Google released a 3-dimensional version of its logo. The new emblem was used until August 31, 2015.
2015 – Present
Google’s current logo was officially unveiled on September 1, 2015. It was mainly a subtle upgrade to the 2013-2015 iteration.
The Google logo has undergone several design changes. However, the emblem has largely maintained its wordmark-based design and color palette, except for the first logo version.