Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Google’s Favicon: A Discussion On Brand Identity With Bill Gardner

January 20th, 2009 by

3213217270 06e68b8902 m Googles Favicon: A Discussion On Brand Identity With Bill Gardner  
Back in June 2008 ,Google redesigned its favicon – from its original uppercase ‘G’ to small ‘g’ after 8.5 years. At that time, Marissa Mayer, Google VP explained that the new favicon was responding to the need to better adapt to new platforms, especially to iPhone and additional mobile devices.

However we indicated that majority disliked the new favicon & Google might attempt to arrive at next set of favicon via crowd sourcing route. Last week Google redesigned its favicon – again , this time via much anticipated user driven way. The new favicon is reinterpretation of André Resende’s submission & uses all the colours from Google’s logo, while keeping the same lowercase “g” . Marissa Mayer describes the new favicon distinctive in shape, noticeable, colourful, timeless and scalable.

In order to get a feedback on Google’s branding exercise & on its new favicon , we invited Bill Gardner – principal of Gardner Design , creator of LogoLounge.com & author of highly popular LogoLounge trend series.

When asked on if he could observe any trend on Google’s recent series of identity makeover, Bill answers “I think if I see any trend here it is the shift towards everyone believing they [Google] are an expert and a player in whatever field is in play.”

He continues :

“ Google is the 2 ton gorilla on the internet. No one competes with them. They are there because of good thinking, and good timing, not because of good marketing. If you owned the franchise on oxygen, the human race would love you regardless of your design prowess. Google, I believe, has always ignored expert involvement with their identity.”

Bill presents us the history of Google logo & favicon :

” The primary Google letterform is wholly unremarkable and was primarily designed by Brazilian, Ruth Kedar an artist and instructor at Stanford. It is well letter spaced and the face Catull was a nice selection, but the limit of design effort on this is some dimensional shading and the colors that the founders had requested. If a Fortune 1000 company came out with a new logo and it was as naive and light weight as the Google logo, they’d never hear the end of it. What does work is the open airiness and single concentration of the Google home page.”

3205189357 27c8576a86 o Googles Favicon: A Discussion On Brand Identity With Bill Gardner

“With that as the set-up for the favicon, no one but designers are really taking notice. A favicon does the same labor as a logo which is why most favicons are simply company logos. When a logo is a wordmark or does not work, companies avoid doing a favicon altogether, or they create a bastard graphic to plug the hole. A potential trend is the adoption of these default favicons as a logo since they often have greater visibility than other elements in a corporations visual brand”.

The Logolounge founder comments on André’s submission :

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“His submission had a logical break out of the four color palette and used the

lower case “g” which has greater personality and more recognizable association with Google. It’s a pretty straight forward solution and the possibility that this basic solution already is in use and owned by someone else is high. Maybe the color breaks are different but I’ll bet that structure is already legally held by others.”

…and on Google’s new favicon :

3210074308 2b979ee0f6 o Googles Favicon: A Discussion On Brand Identity With Bill Gardner   “This modified solution is acceptable, but even it has unresolved issues.

While Andrés solution had a logical break for the 4 colors, the new solution does not. Thus the ambiguous color break between the red and the green. Is that break line curved or not and why or why not? What of the little middle dot on the left? Why doesn’t it align with the blue and yellow circles to create a comfortable left face to the favicon? I love working with negative space to complete a logo as much or more than other designers but this solution leaves you feeling awkward. All of this for me goes back to a feeling that Google still owns the franchise on oxygen and they believe they should know how to whip this solution internally and this is “good enough”.”

Bill sums it up:

“If this favicon does stick, I can assure you that someone somewhere will start to use it as a Google logo. It is only a matter of time. If they could just bring themselves to pry loose with enough money to hire someone that understands identity, to do it right. Too bad they once again, just settled for “good enough”. We will continue to look at their favicon like the Emperors New Clothes. Google prancing around in the buff because they are king.”

Do let us know your views on new Google favicon. And those who are eagerly waiting for LogoLounge 2009 Logo Trend Report it will be out in the early Spring and LogoLounge Book 5 will be released in June of 2009.

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5 Responses

  1. Timothy Post Says:

    The new favicon sucks.

    Not much more to say, except redesign it soon!

  2. Your Mother Says:

    Yes. Yes it does.

    Lowercase “g” – bad choice. Same colors as the windows logo? worse choice.

  3. William Lai Says:

    If I just leave off my design hat, I do prefer the color background over the blue “g” from a usability point of view. I can now scan the tab bar and see which tab is Google. Can it be done better though? Oh I’m sure.

  4. Eidetically Says:

    I like Andre’s submission with the solid blue on the left side. The g is more pronounced. Eidetically: of visual imagery of almost photographic accuracy.

  5. halicio Says:

    I actually like the google Favicon. The Color Break “turns windows on its side” and the lowercase “G” is much nicer than the Capital G. working within the small confines of a Favicon I think it is very attractive and recognizable.

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