Some have called Google’s new logo immature and uncharacteristic of the company. Others see imposing G-O-O-G-L-E refrigerator magnets. Still, others accept it with open arms.
But what’s not talked about could be more important: Google’s appeal to the younger market, where the seeds of brand loyalty are planted by clever corporate giants.
According to Google's blog post, the change reflects the company’s presence on multiple platforms. “Today’s update is a great reflection of all the ways Google works for you across Search, Maps, Gmail, Chrome and many others. We think we’ve taken the best of Google (simple, uncluttered, colorful, friendly), and recast it not just for the Google of today, but for the Google of the future.”
Google claims their original logo and aesthetic were designed for desktop browsers, but not elsewhere. To accompany this, Google will fall under the holding company and conglomerate Alphabet Inc.
Is the update only about being simple, uncluttered, colorful and friendly? While true on the surface, those reasons do not reveal enough.
As a search engine, Google has stayed above 60 percent of the market share for U.S. searches in 2014 and 2015. More importantly, it bides well with the younger demographics, especially the 18-29 range.
For the tech and web industry, the younger demographic in the U.S. is an ever more available resource for companies to target, influence and loyalize. As a result, Google makes money: the necessary ATP of the corporate mitochondria.
In 1997 less than 1 percent of children ages 3-5 used the internet at home, according to date from Child Trends. That climbed to 27.8 percent in 2011, and in 2013, 72 percent of children younger than eight have used a mobile device for media activity, which is up from 38 percent in 2011, according to a report by Common Sense Media.
There’s a neat experiment called the A/B test that can show the usefulness of the new logo. One test group is shown an option A and the other is shown an option B. The test subjects are analyzed on how they react to their option.
The entire A/B setup is only limited by imagination. With solid reasoning, good data and reproducibility, patterns can be discovered in the data. Those patterns might lay the foundation for demographic breakdowns and a later theory, which might influence certain people in a certain design room and, more importantly, the strategists above them.
My hypothesis is if an A/B test were given to a younger demographic there would be a landslide preference not just for the new logo, but for the new aesthetic in general. Serif loses to sans-serif. Meek loses to bold.
This is very useful for Google. Let’s say a 6 year old learns of dinosaurs. He figures out the mobile tablet himself, or his parent show him, then is thrilled to see species of dinosaurs on Google Images. Before long, he figures out how to watch dinosaur videos on YouTube. This moment is monumental for him and Google’s logo was involved in each step of that process. To him, the logo represents something meaningful, like a provider or parent.
Over time, a bond is forged, resulting in brand loyalty. And if Google meets its end of the deal in a way that is consistent, efficient and competitive in relevant environments, it might have earned a long-term customer.