Google announced a new logo today, and surprisingly it looks like more than the usual empty design exercise.
The logo itself does represent the most striking change in many years for Google, most of all in its plainness and the custom font’s lack of serifs, the little lines at the end of character strokes. As Google put it in a blog post delving into the details of the redesign, that’s a reflection of the need for logos to be readable on all manner of devices and screen sizes, and sans serif scales up and down better than serif fonts.
But while it’s arguably much more modern than the previous Google logo, the purpose goes far beyond a simpler look. In short, Google has redesigned the logo for the mobile era. Google has struggled along with other older Web companies such as Facebook and Yahoo to contend with the reality that people’s main device is now the smartphone, not the computer. But Google’s search advertising in particular has suffered from lower mobile ad prices.
So in a sense, the logo design was much more mission-critical than one might imagine it would be. One telling detail about how much mobile played into the design: One variant of the new logo takes only 305 bytes of data, compared with about 14,000 for the previous version, which had required a clumsy text-based approximation to be used on low-bandwidth connections. …
In a larger sense, the new logo is actually the first truly digital representation of the company: It’s no longer static but virtually alive to the services available behind it. That should set the stage for more seamless combinations of services in the future.