Google gets flattened

It seems like there’s been a flurry of logo redesigns lately and Google is the latest to throw its hat into the ring.

The new logo, currently only in Chrome on Android, has had its bevels and drop shadow removed to embrace the flat look.

It’s no secret that I personally don’t consider flat design a trend, so much as a rejection of the earlier trend for drop shadows, glass buttons and gradients. In that sense, it’s no wonder companies like Google are embracing a simpler, and perhaps more honest approach to design problems.

google_logo

The Verge claims that ‘a person familiar with Google’s branding’ has assured them that this logo will only be used where a bevel doesn’t display well. Whilst it’s certainly true that the new logo has yet to make its way onto the Google homepage, I would venture to suggest that a bevel doesn’t display well anywhere.

Will this change for Google herald a whole new era of dominance? No, but it’s the kind of small incremental update that means a brand doesn’t wake up one morning with a logo that looks 20 years out of date. As my grandmother would say, “a stitch in time saves nine”.

Update: rumors and counter-rumors have continued to circulate around this story. As we originally reported, The Verge believed the flat logo to be only for use when the 3D logo wouldn’t perform well. In the last 24 hours, more voices have claimed that is the case. So, have Google simply been testing the water? Was the flat logo uploaded by mistake? Or were Google trying to steal some of Yahoo!’s thunder? We’ll find out in the coming months.

Update 2: According to Google tech lead manager Eddie Kessler, the flat logo is indeed a full revision as we originally reported, and will be rolled out over the coming weeks across all of Google’s platforms.

Should Google embrace flat design by removing the bevel from its logo? Should brands be consistent with their use of logos? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

  • Mach

    Nice post, just went onto Google.com to see if I could find any more about this…took all of a change from 4 to 5 in the logo name to find this
    https://www.google.com/images/srpr/logo5w.png

  • Phil Middlemass

    I’d like to see Google roll this logo refresh out globally, you mention towards the latter part of your article about brands looking 20 years out of date overnight and Google’s logo on their current homepage certainly fits into that mould.

    I don’t think this new and unexpected from Google, just look back a few months at the launch of the refreshed Motorola brand and you can immediately see the design path Google had already taken.

    In fact, if you take a closer look at the Motorola branding there is a flat Google logo already there as part of the “a Google company” strap, albeit in grey.

  • Raul

    After Yahoo! disaster..

  • http://lightamatch.com/ lightamatch

    It’s about time!!! I’ve always hatted the cheap looking ‘plastic wrap’ filter effect on the old Google logo. I’m shocked it took this long.

  • Tim

    Too bad they didn’t change that terrible font choice while they were at it.

  • Fleshfeaster

    This is pretty pointless to me. It’s not the bevels that make the logo “not display well”, it’s the typeface. They’ve done it before and they can do it again!

  • codeinn

    I cannot see it in any of the google sites… :(

  • http://about.me/evanjacobs Evan Jacobs

    Simpler is better sometimes. I agree with the other commenters, the typeface sorely needs a revisit.

  • James Cooper

    Thank goodness bevels, drop shadows and their sickeningly decorative ilk are rapidly becoming persona non grata. Simpler is always better. All the best folk shave with Occam’s Razor.

  • Dave

    Interestingly its actually got a slight gradient to it so not quite flat colours ;)

  • Harvey Lanot

    It was just a matter of time, great move overall.