Google's new logos are bad

With the new logos for the "reinterpretation" of G Suite as Google Workspace, Google really smelled, replacing symbols that are familiar, recognizable and, if you will, iconic in Gmail with little rainbow blobs that are just now everyone's difficult to distinguish tabs. Companies always talk loud and long about their design language and choices. As an antidote, I thought I was just explaining why these new ones are bad and probably won't last.
First off, I should say that I understand Google's intention here to unify the visual language of the various apps in its suite. This can be important, especially with a company like Google, which is ditching apps, services, design languages, and other stuff like ballast from a sinking hot air balloon (a remarkably accurate comparison).
We have seen so many Google symbol languages ​​over the years that it is difficult to be interested in new ones. To paraphrase Sun Tzu, if you wait long enough by the river, the bodies of your favorite Google products will float by. Better not hang on.
But sometimes they do something so pointless that it's up to anyone who cares to throw the company's justification in the face and tell them they screwed up. The last time I cared enough about it was with Google Reader. Since I and a hundred million other people have to stare at these ugly new symbols all day until they retire, a little noise might speed up this timeline a little.
Damn it, Google
I'm sorry to be prosaic here, but I see it as a counterweight to the endless design stories that go with these almost invariably ill-advised redesigns. I'll limit the discussion of how these icons go wrong in three general ways: color, shape, and brand.
colour
Color is one of the first things you notice about something, and you can easily see color in your peripheral vision as well. So it is important to have a unique color in order to be able to type and design in a variety of ways. Why do you think companies are so crazy about all these different shades of blue?
This is why the icons on the most popular Google apps are so easy to distinguish. The red color of Gmail dates back a decade and more, and the blue color of Calendar is pretty old too. Meet's teal should probably have just stayed green, like the previous Hangouts, but it's at least a bit clear. Likewise, Keep (remember Keep?) And a handful of other smaller actors. More importantly, they are solid - with the exception of a few that were better for their colors, such as. B. Cards before the symbol was murdered.
There are two problems with the colors of the new icons. First, they don't actually have colors. They all have all the colors, which makes it harder to tell them apart at a glance right away. Remember, you will never see them as big as the picture above. More often than not they will be about this size:
Maybe even smaller. And never so close together. I don't know about you, but I can't tell them apart if I'm not looking at them directly. What exactly are you looking for? They are all every color and not even in the same order or direction - see how some are red, yellow, green, blue and one red, yellow, blue, green? Three (with Gmail) clockwise and two also counterclockwise. Sounds unimportant, but your eye picks up on such things, maybe just enough to make you more confused.
Maybe these would have been better if they'd all started with red in the top left or something and gone through. You don't randomize the order of colors in Google's main logo, do you? Ultimately, these little blobs only resemble toys or shredded candy wrappers. At best, it's plaid, and that's Slack territory.
At first I thought the little red triangular tabs were a nice visual indicator, but somehow they messed that up too. Each icon could have had the tab in a different corner, but Calendar and Drive both have them in the lower right corner. At least they're different types of triangles - but that's a giveaway from trigonometry.
You will also notice that the symbols have a kind of skewed weight. This is because different colors have different visual characteristics against a light background. Dark colors tend to appear against a white background rather than yellow or the tiny red, so the icons have a seemingly strong "L" aspect, left in Gmail and Calendar, lower left in Drive and Meet, lower right in Docs. However, in an inactive tab, the light color is more pronounced and these Ls appear to be on the other sides.
I suspect the design team spent a lot of time looking at these logos at a relatively large size rather than thinking too carefully about how they would look in actual use on the screen of a cheap Chromebook or Android phone. You can see that they all have very small features that are lost through aliasing when they are 20 pixels wide.
Shape
This is a good introduction to the shape problems, as the perceived shape of these symbols changes based on the background. The original symbols solved this problem by having a solid shape unique to them and by not actually having the background leaked. Even the camera-shaped "hole" in Meet is given a material and a shadow.
You have to be very careful with transparent parts of your design - positive and negative space and all that. If you put part of your logo in the background, you can choose the interface or theme that the user has chosen. Will these logos look good with a hole in the middle on a dark gray inactive tab? Or is the hole always filled with white so that it is positive on a dark background and negative on white? I'm not saying that there is a 100 percent correct answer, but whatever it is, Google didn't choose it.
However, the problem with these symbols is that their shapes are poor. They're all hollow and four of them are rectangular when you include Gmail's negative area (and we do - Google taught us to). The general shape of a container is very useful every now and then, but at first glance four out of five are basically just square O's. Would you like the capital O, the pointed O or one of the two square O's with slightly different color patterns? Who can tell from afar? They are only now like what they are supposed to do if you look carefully.
Now that I think about it, these shapes really scream Office and Bing, don't they? Not good!
While we're at it, the thin guy in the open area of ​​the calendar is pretty anemic compared to the big thick border, right? Maybe they should have bravely left.
Lastly, the overlapping colors create problems. For one thing, the Drive logo looks like a biohazard symbol. But it adds a lot of complexity that is difficult to keep track of on a small scale. The original Drive logo was of course three colors and a small drop shadow, so you would see that it was a Möbius strip that implied infinity, and not just a triangle (that's gone too - so why keep the triangle ?) - but around the colors set off each other: blue and yellow make green, two primary colors and their secondary colors.
The new ones all have three primary colors, one secondary and two tertiary colors (if you count darkness as a color). They don't help the forms exist in any relatable way. Do you "see through" them? That doesn't seem right. They kind of fold, but how? Are the ligaments from twisting? I do not believe that. The shapes are not things - they are just arrangements, suggestions of what they once were, a step too far away.
brand
Google is no stranger to throwing value in the trash. But you would think that sometimes they would realize when they are up to something good. The Gmail logo was a good thing. I have to say I preferred the old square one when they switched to the rounded icon a few years ago, but I've grown to do it. The natural "M" shape of the envelope is so well emphasized, and the red and white color is so instantly recognizable and legible - this type of logo will stick with you for a long, long time. Or not!
The problem here is that Gmail, which has essentially acted as its own, totally invincible brand for more than a decade (those are eons in technology, let alone technology logos), has been equated with other services that are not considered trustworthy or as widespread.
G Suite is now Google Workspace
Now, Gmail is just another rainbow shape in a sea of ​​very similar rainbow shapes telling the user that "This service is nothing special to us. This is not the service that has worked so well for you for so long. This is just one Finger on the hand of an internet giant. And now you can never see one without thinking about the other. "
The same goes for all the other little color wheels: you'll never forget that they're all part of the same device, that knows everything you're looking for, every site you visit, and now everything you do at work. Oh, you are very polite. But make no mistake, the homogeneous branding (despite all the color heterogeneity) is the prelude to a brand crisis in which you are no longer just a Gmail user, but are on Google all day every day.
"This is the moment when we move away from defining the structure and role of our offerings in terms of terms that were invented by someone else in a very different time," Google Vice President Javier Soltero told Fast Company.
The message is clear: out with the old ones - the things that built your trust; and with the new - the things that benefit from your trust.
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