Last year one of the most popular logos changed significantly by introducing a controversial "'new logo and identity family 'designed to work across multiple devices.":

Google logo since September 1st 2015.

I remember that I was fascinated but outraged at the same time, like in 2013 when Google showed flattened lettering and the removed shadows:

Old Google logo from 2013

compared to the search engine company logo from 1999:

Google Logo from 1999

Now I wonder if the Google logo is a good example for significant changes and new trends in logo design history?

  • 3
    I find logo histories of brands that exist for a longer time period than google much more enlightening. Although google should also have enough logo design history to show the basic underlying principles of trends and developments.
    – zebu
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 17:38
  • @zebu I think that's a great answer if you expand it a bit :) Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 18:14
  • Note that it's not necessarily a great design in and of itself, though it does work great for Google. In other words, you could certainly claim its part of Google's overall design tends. But are more companies than normal using sans serif faces and primary colors for their logo? Hard to say.
    – DA01
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 23:57

2 Answers 2


Sounds a bit like a chicken and egg conundrum! Is Google following trends, or creating them? The most likely answer is: Both (Google is a Schrödinger chicken!).

I think the gist of it is the issue of brand identity and consistency vs change.

The concept of a brand is that it should remain unchanged over its life - to communicate the continuity of its identity. Identity provides longevity, but the paradox is that change is the only permanent thing in the world.

A brand that doesn't change with times will probably die, not only because the customers' taste, lifestyles and expectations change, but because so do the competition. So does technology. If a brand doesn't keep up, some other one certainly will.

What's important, though, is that the brand's message stays consistent for a fairly long period of time. Change shouldn't be change for the sake of it, but it should be an evolution of the brand identity.

A good pace (or balance between consistency and change) is key, and I think Google is a great example of it. They changed enough to keep up with (and possibly create) trends, but their identity remained consistent. So, yes, because their changes have a motive, one can safely assume the choices behind them were a response to what was happening in the world (technology-wise).

Some nice examples of brand evolution:

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  • 3
    Good post! An interesting thing is that logos are getting simpler contrary to the abilities of technology. Screens etc are getting better, images simpler. I think it is a good thing, but I also think there will be a move in the opposite direction at some point.
    – benteh
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 11:40
  • 3
    The evolution of the starbucks logo is actually a really good example of brand identity evolution. Omitting the brand name in the last iteration only works because it's so widely known.
    – zebu
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 11:44
  • 1
    @Benteh Oh, I'm convinced "complexity" will eventually come back (and I doubt I'll be ready to welcome drop shadows and gradients that easily then!). It has been happening in literature for centuries, a pendulum between overly-complicated prose and a simple, clean and naked form... just to later go back to verbosity!
    – Yisela
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 11:46
  • @zebu Great point! I wonder how the existence of corporations plays with that. Were there brands ditching their names before? There must have been... but not to the extent it happens now, I imagine...
    – Yisela
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 11:53
  • 1
    @Yisela: Sorry for my late replay :-/ This is an awesome post thank you very much. Google is a Schrödinger chicken, you made my day! :)
    – elegent
    Commented Feb 7, 2016 at 18:33

I guess they see the value in being easily recognised, and simplifying the original idea over time. Coca-Cola and many others before it have followed similar ideas, whether it's it is a good example I am not sure. The digital era that we are in now calls for a logo mark that is easily adaptable on all devices and minimal in file size, something Google are working hard towards with their new SEO rules to ensure that the web and onwards is clear and clutter free. It is of its time, and purposeful, and I suppose it could be considered a benchmark for design in the digital age.

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