Brand thoughts: Google the chameleon


By Kate Spiers

Isn’t it amazing that the Google logo can be changed, disguised, dressed up, pimped, adorned, unwritten and re-written, and still work?  That’s saying something.  I can’t think of another logo that can get away with that…

True brand elastic in visual terms – stretch it whichever way you like, change it and personalise it temporarily, but it will always spring back. But like a chameleon, it remains true to itself underneath all of that. I loved today’s offer on http://www.google.co.uk:

Why can it be this extraordinary chameleon in brand terms?  Is it because it’s so damn big and ubiquitous? After all, Google isn’t just a brand, it’s a world, a verb and even kind of a way of life…

What do you think?

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6 Responses to “Brand thoughts: Google the chameleon”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by We Love…, Jill Ruthenberg and Jill Ruthenberg, Kate Spiers. Kate Spiers said: Brand thoughts: Google the chameleon: http://wp.me/pN3pZ-hm […]

  2. I think a lot of it has to do with the frequency of seeing the brand. I am struggling to think of another logo that I see on such a frequent basis. By being so recognisable for this reason, being so dominant in search, and knowing that a massive number of people will keep coming back to their site because they need to, Google can inject some personality into its brand as they are positioned perfectly to do so. I love how Google keep their site interesting – long may it continue!

  3. I think this is what is called “fun with a purpose”. They have space in a field of white that is “Google” land. Within that space they can play around – and they do. But it is always “Google”. It is consistent on that level. So, they’ve taken what others typically think should never change, made it always change yet, at the same time made it their own in a meaningful way.

    • I agree with the above comments; Surely it is now part of their branding and personality to adapt their logo to a particularly relevant event – that will get searched a lot on that day anyway.

      The fact it is Google is one of the few websites where the logo sits dead centre and floating in white space allows itself to still be distinguished and stand out even when the graphic itself is changed.

  4. Similar thoughts on this article over at Imperica (http://www.imperica.com/in-conversation-with/more-conversations/flattgray-anthropomorphism)

    “That’s where the braver brands are starting to experiment – strands of the core, that allow you to tweak it. Before Google, no-one played with their logo. Every brand manager was a “Logo Dictator”: there must be lots of white space around the logo, and so on. What Google has shown is that it’s ridiculous. You can have fun with how you look to people. You can change your look.”

  5. I agree with Charlie that by now the changing and dressing up of their logo is part of their brand. Though if you remember back to the original designs, they tended to add more than mutate the standard six letters. For instance, adding candles on a the letters for a birthday. Then they played with fonts and finally did artsy things like the John Lennon’s birthday logo.

    But I would also say that their brand is also the actual name, “Google.” It’s an odd name that many of us hadn’t heard of, at least outside of an esoteric math class, before the search engine gained in popularity. Because of that, since it is so distinctive, as long as the letters are visible, it is still their brand. It is still Google.

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