People Familiar

Why did Google deny it had a new logo when it totally had a new logo?

September 19, 2013
Obsession
Design
September 19, 2013

GoogleLogo

Earlier this month, a reporter spotted a new version of Google’s logo buried in the code of the company’s Chrome browser. That, alas, qualified as news in the tech industry, especially because the new logo was two-dimensional, or flat, which is the hottest trend in web design right now.

So we called up Google on Sept. 9 to ask about it.

The person who answered our questions asked to be identified as “someone familiar with Google’s brand guidelines.” As it turns out, “familiar” was a bit of a stretch.

We were told that Google had used the flat version of its logo in print for years, which is true, but that Google had no plans to use the logo online—”not at all,” said someone familiar with Google’s brand guidelines. It would be inaccurate, we were told, to say that Google had a new logo.

That, we just learned, was not true: Google unveiled a redesign of its flagship search product today, and it is replacing the old beveled logo with that new flat one.

We called back up someone familiar with Google’s brand guidelines. Yes, the person confirmed, Google has a new logo.

“What I did not know at the time was that we would be rolling out that logo as part of a separate initiative,” someone familiar with Google’s brand guidelines said, recalling our earlier conversation. “The logo was a very small part of that launch, and I hadn’t heard about it.”

Essentially, Google is so big that often one foot doesn’t know what the other foot is doing. Thus, in a span of 10 days, the company’s logo went from new to old to new again.

Siraj Datoo contributed reporting.

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